Christmas Fern grows wild throughout many forested areas

Christmas Fern grows wild throughout many forested areas

The Christmas Fern

Polystichum acrostichoides is better known to gardeners as the Christmas Fern. This greenery thrives best in soil with good drainage. It produces a lovely deep green base for partially and fully shaded landscapes. The fern gained its name because it has a dark green color reminiscent of evergreen trees and because the fronds of some of the plants remain green throughout the winter. The Christmas Fern grows wild throughout many forested areas in North America. The Christmas fern can reach heights of two feet or more, and the fronds can grow five inches wide.

Young fronds appear in spring as tightly curled fiddleheads. Christmas tree ferns can be either sterile or fertile. The plants multiply with spores rather than seeds, so it is unnecessary to plant multiple plants to increase their spread.

Christmas ferns with sterile fronds remain green throughout the winter but grow most from June through August. The plants provide ground cover in the winter and add a hint of color in otherwise snow-covered areas. Songbirds often collect the frilly hairs that grow on the underside of the fronds in their nests. Sterile plants do not reproduce but continue to increase in size each year. The clumps of fern are dividable in the spring, allowing gardeners to expand their range or prevent the plants from growing larger than desired.

The fertile ferns produce spores for reproduction

The spores from the plants will drift in the wind. After releasing spores, the fronds darken and are acceptable for mulching with other garden materials. The plant will return in the spring to repeat the process.

The Christmas fern works well as a ground cover in sloped yards and areas with plenty of shade

The plant thrives in gardens on its own, and you can combine it with trees, flowers, or vegetables. The fern also adapts well to rocky soil and may help homeowners who experience soil erosion. The Christmas fern can flourish in zones 3-9. It is an easy plant to manage and will provide an exceptional visual impact for a small investment. The plants ship quickly nationwide for spring plantings, mid-season additions, and more.

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