How to grow and care for Cyrtomium falcatum (Holly Fern) Indoors

Some links in this post may be affiliate links

Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum

Botanical name: Cyrtomium falcatum
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Common names: Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern

Cyrtomium falcatum Description

Cyrtomium falcatum commonly called Holly-fern or Japanese Holly Fern bears toothed, sharp-tipped, holly-like leaves which tolerates lower light and saline conditions than most indoor ferns.

Each Holly Fern leaflet may be flat, wavy or slightly toothed along the edges and it bears a large light brown rhizome.

The Holly Fern leaves are about 1.6 ft long and are made up of 6-10 pairs of shiny bright green leaflets.

The Holly Fern is easily propagated by spores or by division of the undeground rhizome.

Cyrtomium falcatum Size

Cyrtomium falcatum is a large fern which grows to a height of 2 ft with a spread of about 3 ft. The leaves are about 1.6 ft long.

Cyrtomium falcatum Origin

Cyrtomium falcatum is native to eastern Asia where it grows from crevices in coastal cliffs, stream banks, rocky slopes and other moist areas.

Buy beautiful and healthy Holly Ferns (Cyrtomium falcatum) from Etsy.

Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum

Photo Credit: Little Prince Plants

Cyrtomium falcatum Care Indoors

Cyrtomium falcatum Light Requirements

Japanese Holly Fern thrives in light shade to deep shade. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the fronds.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth of your Holly Fern. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Cyrtomium falcatum

For optimum growth of Holly Fern, keep the soil evenly moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out.

Reduce watering for your Japanese Holly Fern during cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot for your Holly Fern has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.


Temperature for Cyrtomium falcatum

Average warmth between 15-240C is ideal for your Holly Fern. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Cyrtomium falcatum

Japanese Holly Fern thrives under average room humidity. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Holly Fern. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Cyrtomium falcatum

Feed Holly Fern with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Holly Fern during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Prune Cyrtomium falcatum

Remove dead and damaged fronds from Holly Fern to keep it neat and tidy.

As your Holly Fern ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain your plant looking neat and tidy.

Cyrtomium falcatum Repotting

Repot Japanese Holly Fern every 2-3 years at the beginning of the growing season to provide adequate room for the growth of the rhizome.

One sign of an overcrowded Holly Fern is wilting leaves. Failure to repot an overcrowded Holly Fern can result in death of the plant.

Repot Holly Fern into a pot that is 1 size larger and one that has drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

You can also be divide your Holly Fern into several sections during repotting and pot the sections individually.

Soil for Cyrtomium falcatum

The best soil for Holly Fern should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Holly Fern.

Buy quality Potting Mix for your Holly Fern from Etsy.

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) Propagation

Holly Fern propagation can be done by division at the beginning of the growing season by plant division or by germinating the spores.

How to propagate Cyrtomium falcatum by plant division

Carefully take out the fern from its pot and divide the rhizome into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots.

Pot these sections of your Holly Fern into individual pots while ensuring that you do not bury the rhizomes too deep but maintain the soil level that were at.

Place the pots in a warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Holly Fern are well established.

How to propagate Cyrtomium falcatum from Spores

Spores are brown dots on the underside of the fronds. When the ripen, the cases ope and tiny dust-like spores fall out.

Cut the Holly Fern frond and place it on a piece of paper with spores side down.

Allow time for the Holly Fern spores to fall out of the cases onto the piece of paper.

The Holly Fern spores can also be obtained by shaking the frond occasionally.

Thinly spread the Holly Fern spores on moist soil and cover the set up with clear polythene to maintain humidity and warmth.

Place the set up in a brightly lit area. The spores should sprout in 1-2 months.

Allow the new Holly Ferns to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) Problems Indoors

Why are there brown dots or lines on the underside of fronds of my Holly Fern?

These are spores which can be used for propagation of new Holly Ferns. They indicate that the frond is mature and healthy.

In their natural environment, these spores drop to the soil and grow into new Holly Ferns.

Why are there brown shells scattered on fronds of my Holly Fern?

Brown shells scattered on fronds of Holly Fern is an indication of a infestation by Scales.

Isolate the affected Holly Fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Why are the fronds of my Holly Fern yellowing, have brown leaf tips and there is no growth?

The cause of yellowing fronds, brown tips and no new growth in your Holly Fern is dry air.

Raise humidity for your Holly Fern by more frequent misting of the rhizomes to keep them moist.

Why are the leaves of my Holly Fern yellowing?

Soggy soil is the reason for yellowing leaves in your Holly Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

Why are the leaves of my Holly Fern wilting?

Wilting leaves in Holly Fern is an indication of overcrowding in the current pot. Repot your Holly Fern into a larger pot or divide it up for more ferns.

Why is there excessive leaf drop in my Holly Fern?

Leaflets drop in Holly Fern is indicative of too dry soil.

Maintain the soil slightly moist for your Holly Fern and do not leave to dry out completely for an extended period of time.

Holly Fern pests

Holly Fern pests; Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected Holly Fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Is Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) toxic?

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is non-toxic to humans and pets. The Holly Fern is safe to grow indoors.

You liked it? Share on social media.

On the Blog

You liked it? Share on social media.