Polystichum acrostichoïdes – A medium-sized, coarse fern with deep evergreen, highly polished fronds, fertile fronds are taller and sterile fronds shorter and broader. The fronds grow in clusters from a crownless rootstock and range from 1-2 ft. in length. The once-divided fronds with pointed pinnae result in a medium to coarse texture.
The silvery fiddleheads emerge in early spring.
Tolerates dry soil. Dense shade, drought, rabbits and has no serious diseases.
Christmas fern is very easy to establish and grows where conditions are right. It requires cool, moist, well-drained soil in shade. In the right spot, it can be a good, evergreen border or accent plant. Though often used as a groundcover, it is a clumping fern, not forming a continuous, undifferentiated carpet the way some ferns do.
Its evergreen fronds provide four seasons of interest.
The foliage begins to show wear around the end of January but is renewed in early spring just as the rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) appears. This makes a great combination. The beauty of anemone is fleeting as the plant goes dormant after setting seed, but the Christmas fern will dependably fill the space until next spring. Both plants grow well in shallow, rocky soils or in good, rich garden soil, and they are often found growing together in nature.
Plant en masse on banks to control erosion.
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