Holly Fern

Cyrtomium falcatum

Holly Fern

Cyrtomium falcatum
Such a striking fern!
A beautiful and strong fern, as a house plant! This one has lovely split leaves, glossy like those of the holly. Hence, these ferns are also known as holly ferns. As a result they are tolerant of dry air, which is perfect for our living rooms. Originating in Japan and India, this fern makes a great house plant but can also handle a lot of cold. If you no longer want it indoors, try it out in the border and just see how long it will last. Not entirely hardy, but if you give it a layer of leaf litter or similar to get it through the coldest spells, it could last a good while.
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Holly Fern
Holly Fern
Latin name: Cyrtomium falcatum
Delivery type: Supplied as container plant
Guarantee: 6 months growth and flowering guarantee
Color: Green
Preferred location: Half shadow, Shadow
Green stayer: Yes
Leafs all year: Yes
Hardy plants: No
Self polinating: No
Edible: No
Naturalizing: No
Scented: Not Scented
Grafted: No
Cutting flowers: No
Growing Height: 45 - 55 cm

This fern is supplied in a standard nursery pot. Either pot it up (use humus rich potting compost) or just stand it in a pretty, larger planter. A saucer under the pot would also suffice and is practical even when in a planter, to save drain-off that can lie for a while. Only water again when this has been absorbed or it has evaporated. The saucer (or base of the planter) should be dry before watering again and the potting compost should always be moist.
Stand your Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Best indoor temperature is 20-25 °C. Will manage fine in a cooler environment but do realise you won't need to water it so much there.


Tropical Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is a real woodland's edge plant that doesn't like direct sunlight! Likes things fairly humid but will tolerate the air being a bit drier. However, do not allow the pot to dry out and water at least once a week, on the potting compost (definitely not on the foliage).
This fern will especially thrive if you feed it every three weeks with a house plant fertiliser for leafy plants.

Japanese Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) in the winter

This fern can be stood somewhere dryer and cooler in the winter dormant period. Perhaps near a window in an unheated bedroom. Then only water it when it feels dry. Start feeding and watering properly again in the spring.
You will see that this fern can handle quite some cold if you have planted it outdoors. Will stay green for a good while but even mild frost will have it lose all its foliage. Give the plant protection with a layer of leaf litter and you will soon see it return with new shoots in the spring and carry on as if nothing happened.


The Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is a tropical plant from the rainforests of Japan and India as well as Polynesia. The glossy foliage has split leaves on arched stems - a very decorative plant indeed.
Cyrtomium falcatum is classified under Dryopteridaceae.

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