Native Evergreen Plants: Polystichum acrostichoides – Christmas fern

Jan 25, 2024 | Blog, Native Plant Spotlight

Native Evergreen Plants

Polystichum acrostichoides– Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern plant sign

Polystichum acrostichoides, Christmas fern is a semi-evergreen that is deer and shade tolerant. Occurs in both dry and moist wooded slopes, moist banks and ravines. Grows best in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Typically grows in a fountain-like clump to 2′ tall and features leathery, lance-shaped, evergreen fronds. Young fiddleheads, called crosiers, in spring are silvery and scaled. Evergreen fronds provide good winter interest for the landscape.

A good plant for massing on slopes (including dryish, rocky ones) to help combat soil erosion. Consider planting rhizome at an angle to help combat potential crown rot problems which can occur in poorly drained soils. Although rhizomatous, this fern will not spread or naturalize, however clumps will increase in size over time.

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Latin Name: Polystichum acrostichoides
Common Name: Christmas fern  
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
(Information from Missouri Botanical)
Christmas fern foliage

Christmas fern foliage

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