Cyrtomium falcatum, known as Holly fern, Japanese holly fern and Fish tail fern is an easy to grow, stout, scaly evergreen fern. When mature, Holly fern displays stiff, glossy, dark green fronds with coarsely fringed margins on the leaves. These leaves closely resemble those of the holly shrub. Holly fern forms loose clumps of deep green leathery holly-like older leaves with light green new growth emitting from the center if the clump.
Exposure: Holly fern prefers partial shade (especially morning sun and afternoon shade), but can survive in full shade. This versatile plant can survive in USDA cold hardiness zones 6 through 10
Size: This evergreen clump-forming perennial produces foliage that is 18-24” tall and slowly spreads to typical widths of 2’ to 3’, occasionally wider over time
Plant type: Evergreen herbaceous shrubby perennial succulent
Planting time: Container grown plants from early spring through fall
Soil type: Moist but well drained soils are needed for vigorous holly fern plants. Holly fern prefers a rich soil high in organic matter. A pH between 4.0 and 7.0 is highly preferred but tolerates a wider range. Low humidity is tolerated once plants are established
Suggested uses: Holly fern works well as a specimen, border or a ground cover plant. In a bed or border, the lush, deep green foliage of Holly fern provides beautiful contrast and texture as a background for colorful annuals and perennials. Holly fern is seldom damaged by deer or rabbits and has some tolerance to salt. This low maintenance plant requires no pruning, however, fronds damaged by frost can be removed for a neater appearance