Cyrtomium falcatum (Holly Fern) Indoor Care, Propagation and Common Problems


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

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

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

Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum

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

Origin

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

Size

Japanese Holly Fern 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.

Toxicity

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is non-toxic to humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. The Japanese Holly Fern is safe to grow indoors.

Where to Buy

Holly Ferns are a great addition to any plant collection, check the out on Etsy.

Cyrtomium falcatum Care Indoors

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) blossoms in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and humidity and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.

Cyrtomium falcatum requires timely repotting as overcrowding can result in wilting and eventual death of the fern.

Pruning is necessary to keep it neat as well as reduce pests and diseases. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Holly Fern, Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium falcatum

Watering

For optimum growth of Holly Fern, keep the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Water the soil when the top 1-2 in. of soil feels dry to the touch.

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Light Requirements

Holly Fern grows best in medium to bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the fronds.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the fern receives light on all sides for even growth.

Japanese Holly Fern can also grow under grow lights where natural light is not adequate. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth between 15-240C is ideal for Holly Fern. Room temperatures that are comfortable for you are ideal fot this fern.

Japanese Holly Fern thrives under average room humidity. If the air is too dry especially where the room temperatures are high, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to increase humidity. Learn more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer

Feed Holly Fern with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing period for lush growth. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time.

Pruning

Remove dead and damaged fronds from Holly Fern to keep it neat and discourage pest and disease infestations. As it ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

Potting Soil

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.

Allpurpose potting mixes are ideal for this fern. Buy quality Potting Mix online from Amazon.

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 Fern can result in death of the plant.

Repot 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. Take a look at these beautiful Ceramic Pots with a Saucer available on Amazon.

You can also be divide a large plant into several sections during repotting and pot the sections individually.

Propagation

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

How to propagate Holly Fern by plant division

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

Pot these sections 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, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Holly Ferns are well established.

How to propagate Holly Ferns from spores

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

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

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

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

Thinly spread the 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

Cyrtomium falcatum Common Problems

Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) growing problems include yellowing, brown leaf tips, wilting leaves, leaf drop, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these growing problems and how to fix them.

Brown dots or lines on the underside of fronds

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 Ferns.

Brown shells scattered on fronds

Brown shells scattered on fronds of Holly Fern is an indication of a infestation by scales. Isolate the affected fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat it with a horticultural oil as per the manufacturer's recommendations.

Yellowing fronds, brown leaf tips and is no growth

The cause of yellowing fronds, brown tips and no new growth in Holly Fern is dry air. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity to raise humidity.

Yellowing leaves

Soggy soil is the cause of yellowing leaves in Holly Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

Wilting leaves

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

Excessive leaflet drop

Leaflets drop in Holly Fern is indicative of too dry soil. Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold season but do not leave it to dry out completely.

Pests

Common pests in Holly Fern are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected fern to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat it with a horticultural oil as per the manufacturer's recommendations.

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