Holly Fern Plant Care

Hello to our Plantly friends. Today we have a special treat for you in caring for the Holly Fern. Yes, this is one spectacular plant that makes a statement on its own. One thing is for sure grown in rock gardens. It looks spectacular.

Still, even better when grown indoors, those dark green fronds make for a breathtaking display. So, my garden friends, let’s start caring for the Japanese Holly Fern to brighten your place. Yet, if you have not yet invested in one, read until the end.

What is Holly Fern Plant?

holly fern plant

You must agree to look at this evergreen fern. It looks gorgeous, and if grown near a forest, it is deer resistant. The cold-hardy plant known as Cyrtomium falcatum can grow up to 30-inches tall with a width of 48-inches.

The plant originates from Asia and has triangular leaflets with sawtooth edges with arching stems. Another fascinating thing is that this winter, hardy plant grows well in the South. There the plant is known as magnolias or live oaks.

Furthermore, it makes for a good ground cover and looks great in rock gardens. You can even grow them to fill up tiny patches in the landscaping. Or you can grow them in containers, and they grow well in the USDA zones six to ten.

You will also be glad to know that this is one well-mannered plant in landscaping. It has a moderate growth rate, and you need not divide them continuously. The old clumps formed can be divided into new plants if you want.

Japanese Holly Fern Care

Holly Fern Plant Care 

The Cyrtomium falcatum Holly Fern is a perennial plant that grows a light brown rhizome covered with fuzzy hairs.

On the underside of the leaflets, you notice the black or brown sori and produce spores that start greenish and turn a light brown.

The Holly Fern is more for ornamental display as it does not flower. Even caring for the Japanese Holly Fern is a breeze, as you will see here.

The Right Potting Mix

Your Holly Fern has an extensive root system and needs moist, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil to grow its best. Making the soil more fertile helps add some organic matter to the mix.

We recommend adding some mulch in winter to keep the roots protected when grown as an outdoor plant. But this is not such a big concern grown indoors.

The best time to repot your Cyrtomium falcatum is early spring when the growth begins. You can choose a larger pot and use a mixture of coarse peat moss with half-leaf mold.

Lighting Needs For The Dark Green Fronds

holly fern

When you grow your plant in woodland gardens, it prefers a shade garden. Hence, it helps grow your Holly Fern with other ferns that enjoy filtered bright light. It can tolerate full shade for a short time.

When growing in a container indoors, we recommend providing your plant with bright indirect sunlight but not too much direct sun as it can burn the fronds.

Watering Requirement to Prevent Root Rot

The Cyrtomium falcatum Holly Fern prefers dampened peat moss compared to other ferns. Thus, if you grow it outside, you can reduce watering with frequent rain. Also, please wait for the soil moisture to dry before watering as it can lead to root ball rot when overwatered.

If your Japanese Holly Fern grows indoors, it does not need a winter resting period. But if grown outdoors, it helps provide your plant with rich humus-rich soil with some mulch for overwintering.

We recommend keeping it in partial shade with moist soil in warm climates.

Feeding Your Japanese Holly Fern

liquid fertilizer

When your fern is still young, you can provide them with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. The best time to transplant your fern indoor plant is in spring. Once repotted and it starts to show new growth, you can use a diluted slow-release feed.

Or you can feed your plant with fish emulsion as well. But please try not to overfeed.

Grooming Your Japanese Holly Fern

Okay, caring for your Holly Fern is done without any fuss as it can tolerate gas fumes, dry air, and low light better than other ferns. The only thing it cannot handle is soggy soil and icy temperatures, as it can lead to winter-damaged fronds.

You will notice shedding during the harsh cold season, but it starts to thrive in the growing season when warmer. You only need to give it some grooming to remove the frayed or unsightly foliage.

Once you cut the fronds, they will regrow but take extra care not to snip into the crown.

Optimal Temperature and Humidity Need

The Japanese Holly Fern can thrive in typical room temperatures in the home well. But your plant will need higher humidity, and placing it in a bathroom is excellent. Or you can keep a pebble tray filled with water underneath it.

Still, remember that the roots should not touch the water leading to wet feet.

Propagating Holly Fern Plant

The fastest way to propagate Cyrtomium falcatum is using the division method in spring. First, water deeply the day before you remove it from the container. Next, you pull the rhizomes apart with one that has green fronds and divide them into three sections.

Replant the divided sections into a pot with drainage holes and fast-draining soil. To retain moisture, you can mist your plants until new growth appears. Once developed, you can transplant them into the garden or bigger pots.

Another technique is using the spores on the underside of the fronds. Once you see them ripen, you will notice them open up with a dust-like spore falling out. You can collect the spores by removing them from the leaves.

Then place it pore-side down on wax paper and leave it until the spores stick on the paper. Or you can put it in a plastic bag and give it a good shake. Next, prepare a small pot with damp peat moss and transfer the spores into the soil line.

Then close it with a plastic wrap or lid and keep it in bright indirect light until it sprouts new plants.

Holly Fern Varieties

As seen here, you can find some exceptional Holly Fern varieties in the fern species.

Rochford Japanese Holly Fern

Rochford Japanese Holly Fern

The fern has glossy green leaves that form a sickle-shaped leaflet and grows well in zones six to ten.

Ribbon Fern

ribbon fern

The plant type has variegated ribbon-like fronds and needs regular watering with high humidity. You can grow this fern in indirect light, and the size varies from one to another.

Tree Fern

tree fern

If you want to give stature to your garden, this fern, with its thin trunk topped with feather duster fronds, is a must-have. The crowns need misting as their aerial roots eventually form a trunk.

Holly Fern Diseases & Pests

The Cyrtomium falcatum can be troubled with fungal spots as it does enjoy moist soil. The easiest way to address the problem is with a fungicide. You can check your plant for scale bugs that look like yellow bumps on the leaves and stems.

You can wipe them down with some pesticides that do not contain any oil to get rid of them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

While the Cyrtomium falcatum is an outdoor plant, you can grow them inside containers. It makes for an eye-catching display to grow with your other tropical plan

Yes, the Japanese Holly Fern has poisonous parts to humans and pets. So, consuming the leaves can lead to vomiting and stomach pain.

When you divide your Holly Fern, we recommend planting them up to 24-inches apart as they can grow up to two feet tall and three feet wide.

Suppose you stayed long enough to read our article to the end and wondered where you could get this gorgeous plant. Then Plantly is glad to let you know that we have a selection of these ferns available for you to buy. The best part is that you need not leave your home’s comfort and can have it delivered to your door. 

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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