University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Christmas Fern

January 2013

Christmas Fern
Polystichum acrostichoides
Christmas ferns stay glossy and evergreen when most ferns have shriveled and gone dormant. The new spring fronds grow stiffly upright until hard frost or heavy snow pushes them over, and even then remain effective in the landscape. With their creeping rhizomes, use Christmas fern as a slow spreading groundcover or for a clump about 1-2 feet tall. These Maryland natives mingle well with bulbs and ferns in woodlands, on streambanks, or in perennial borders. They like moist, acidic, humusy forest soils, so work organic matter into their planting bed. They can endure dry soils in shade and tolerate sun as long as soil is moist. Divide clumps in spring or fall. Deer leave them alone.

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