CHRISTMAS FERN

Polystichum acrostichoides

Christmas Fern, Polystichum acrostichoides got its name because it stays green right through the holiday season. It is a robust, leathery fern which has glossy, green fronds year-round. The fronds grow in clusters from a crownless rootstock and range from 1-2 ft. in length. Fertile fronds are taller. The once-divided fronds with pointed pinnae result in a medium to coarse texture. The silvery fiddleheads emerge in early spring. Use it as a ground cover or in borders. It adds winter interest to your yard.

Christmas fern is very easy to establish and grow 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.

It has been known to attract ruffed grouse. They have been used to treat fever, pneumonia, stomach problems as well as rheumatism, and even as a blood purifier. They are often made into medicinal tea and the young fronds can be eaten when cooked. Christmas ferns help prevent erosion.

SPECS: Genus: Polystichum ; Species: Acrostichoides; Plant Type: Fern; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Shade, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Wet, Medium Wet, Well Drained; Height: 2′ — 3′; Spread: 2′; Plant Spacing: 1′ — 2′; Bloom Time: June — August; Bloom Color: Evergreen; Advantages: Erosion control, Low maintenance, Medicinal uses; USDA Zone: 3 — 9; Attracts: Beneficial insects; Tolerant: Heat & humidity, Rocky soil, Shade; Plant Community: The fountain-like clump of leathery, lance-shaped evergreen fronds is a good companion plant for spring ephemerals and woodland wildflowers. It looks good with Phacelia bipinnatifida, Spigelia marilandica, Scutellaria incana, Heucheras and woodland phlox.;