Christmas Fern

How to enjoy Christmas fern


Polystichum acrostichoides or Christmas fern are long leafy plants. They are known for remaining green all year round. They were used to make Christmas decorations, so the plant was named the Christmas fern. They are easy to recognize because of their constant bright green color and the leaves are small, long and assemble themselves around the vein frame.


Christmas fern can grow up to 3 feet long and are considered an evergreen type plant. Their natural habitat is in the deep woods and they are also a perennial. But many people use this plant in their gardens and to edge a lawn or fence row. When everything else in the garden is brown and long dead, these Christmas ferns stay green all year and brighten up any yard. So they are popular plants that are easy to grow and keep.


Ferns like to grow in moist shady areas.  They can handle plenty of sunshine but also need shade to keep the leaves bright and healthy. The best place to put ferns is right next to a spring, pond, or river. If you do not have any of these on your property it shouldn’t be a big problem. As long as you keep the soil heavily hydrated, the plants should remain healthy. You will soil want the soil to drain easily too. The root system in the soil can become damaged if puddles of water surround them. If you plant the ferns in a raised circle or long bed, the water will drain properly. If there is shade available on your land, try to place the ferns under it. For example, if you have trees or shrubbery you can place the ferns underneath them. This way they get a nice mix of shade and sun.


These ferns grow the best in airy loose soil. If your soil contains clay or rocks, you may want to fertilize the area before planting. It’s a good idea before planting anything, to purchase a soil tester at your local gardening store. This way if your soil is nutrient depleted, the test will tell you. Then you can purchase the best fertilizer to enhance the growing process. There are many types of these fertilizers available, made especially for these difficult types of soils.


Christmas ferns should be planted in large clusters. If you need to add zest to a certain bland area in your yard, plant the new ferns close together. This way you can remove any extra ferns plants but one thing you don’t want is scarce looking patchy ferns. You will want them to completely cover the ground. Eventually, over time these plants will spread to cover an entire area. Their leaves will continue to grow until the spring. At this time the old fronds of the Christmas fern will wither and die but new fronds will appear and take the olds one place.


When you plant Christmas ferns you not only can enjoy them year round but you can use them to cover an otherwise boring area. They do not require a lot of attention and there is no need to cut back or prune these plants. In the springtime the old fronds die and new ones appear, so you will never have to worry about them. There are virtually no insects or pest that hurt these ferns and certain types of moths even place their larva in their leaves and still there is no damage. You can also use Christmas fern to accompany flowers in or out of the garden. After you pick a few flowers add the ferns to the bouquet for a completed look.