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Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

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Hardy fern grow sheet
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Polystichum acrostichoides

Christmas fern

While not as showy as some others, this fern makes up for it with its neat habit, easy culture, and its lustrous, nearly evergreen leaves. Often used in Christmas floral arrangements because it is still attractive in December. It is a wonderful companion for spring blooming bulbs. Found in acidic to neutral soils on shaded slopes and well drained flats.

Polystichum acrostichoides LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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12-18 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Christmas fern Interesting Notes

The Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) is a very common eastern North American native, and is especially loved because it is evergreen even in severe winters.

This is an adaptable species that will grow in almost any situation – shady, rich or poor soil, rubble or compost etc. – but surprisingly, it does not thrive west of the Rockies.

Why "Christmas"? Because it remained green around the holiday season, it was once widely used as a Christmas decoration. Others say the term refers to the pinnae which supposedly looks like Santa’s boot… but we think that requires a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

The plant height varies from 1 to 2 feet, and will gradually colonize an area even in poor soil. Christmas Fern is a top choice for gardens in Zones 3 through 9. - Casa Flora

Polystichum acrostichoides Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow in part or full shade in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Water well on planting and regularly until established. Drought tolerant.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Green Infrastructure
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Tissue culture