Japanese Holly Fern Care Instructions

Scientific Name: Cyrtomium falcatum
Common Names: Japanese Holly Fern, Eco-Korean Jade Holly Fern, Fishtail Fern

The Japanese Holly Fern, so named because of its sharply pointed, serrated leaves that resemble Holly plants, is one of the few plants that will thrive in the dim corners of your home. Many indoor plant collectors enjoy them because they make beautiful accent plants with their distinctively shaped foliage and glossy, deep green leaves.

Cyrtomium falcatum comes from eastern Asia, India, southern Africa, and Hawaii. It grows in cracks in coastal cliffs, along stream banks, on rocky slopes, and in other moist places. Due to its environment, this particular fern variety is well known for being more resilient than most fern varieties. It can live anywhere from deep shade to bright indirect light, but it likes medium to bright filtered light best. To keep this fern lush and green, it should be planted in well-draining soil with some moisture retention. As long as they are kept moist to the touch, Japanese Holly Ferns can add depth to a bland corner and thrive in your office or main living areas. They are also known for withstanding drier air, making them excellent houseplants.

Japanese Holly Fern Care Instructions

These adorable Holly ferns are perfect for beginners and small spaces because they are low, compact growers that do well in humid environments as container plants. They make excellent residents of the kitchen and bathroom. Nevertheless, if given the proper watering schedule, will tolerate most spaces. They’re also pretty fast-growing if kept in their preferred conditions.

Use this beauty as the ideal coffee table centerpiece or place it on a beautifully curated shelf for a pop of earthy colour. Pair it with an understated planter to let the foliage be the plant's focal point. 

Please note: Japanese Holly Ferns are non - toxic to pets or human

Japanese Holly Fern Care Instructions

Japanese Holly Fern Common Symptoms:

  • Yellowing foliage and wilting: This is a clear symptom of overwatering in your fern. The Holly ferns prefer evenly moist soil with good drainage and won't tolerate a potting medium that is excessively soggy. Before watering, check the moisture content of your potting soil, and make sure the top 2-4 cm of soil are completely dry before watering again.  For more details on identifying Over vs Underwatering, read this.
  • Wilted foliage and dry fronds: This is a sign that you're not watering your fern enough. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist and to water as soon has the potting soil is reaching dryness. Do not allow your fern to dry out, even though it can tolerate it. Long periods of dryness will lead to crisp leaves and wilt.
  • Leaves turning silver: If you see your Holly ferns' foliage beginning to turn silver, take the surrounding temperature into account. Heat stress, which can result from being placed on hot surfaces like brick or in direct sunlight-exposed ceramic planters, is what causes silvering foliage. Placement near a heater, fireplace, or radiator are some additional sources of heat. Relocate to a cooler space.
  • Crisp dry patches on leaves: These patches are caused by scorching from sunlight. Be sure not to expose your plant to direct sunlight, and keep away from the window sill, where the glass can act as a magnifying glass.
  • Wet brown patches on leaves: Wet brown and sometimes smelly patches are caused by bacterial or fungal growth. This usually occurs when moisture sits on the foliage for long periods of time. So avoid this, spritz your plant early in the morning to allow time for rapid evaporation, and provide good air circulation around the plant. Remove any infected leaves and discard in the bin to avoid spread. You can also treat the infection with a Fungicide such as Copper Soap.
  • Ferns' outer tips are turning brown: This is an indication that your plant may be suffering from over fertilization or being exposed to dry air. Ferns prefer a very weak dilution of feed and do not need regular feeding. If you are feeding on a weekly basis, rather reduce the frequency to a bi-weekly rotation. If feeding is not the cause, consider the humidity in the space you are in. The hotter the room the drier the air, thus raise humidity by placing your Fern on a pebble tray or relocating to a more humid location such as your bathroom.  
  • Pests: Japanese Holly ferns don't usually get pests, but if you don't take care of your plant and keep it in good shape, it may get stressed. Stress will lead to pest infestations, causing excessive leaf discolouration and leaf drop. Mealybugs are the most common indoor plant pest that will attack your Fern due to high humidity environments. If you don't treat them, they can weaken your plant quickly. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide such as Pyrol.

    Japanese Holly Fern Care Instructions

    • Origin: Eastern Asia, India, southern Africa, and Hawaii
    • Height: 45 - 60cm tall, can be restricted by pruning or kept in a small container, can reach a spread of 1.5m outdoors.
    • Light:  bright, filtered light. Will tolerate lower lighting conditions.
    • Water: Keep soil very evenly moist; avoid overly dry or overly soggy potting soil.
    • Humidity: preferably 50% or higher. To raise the humidity for your plant , place it on a pebble tray or choose a location that is naturally higher in humidity, such as a very bright bathroom or kitchen.
    • Temperature:  These Ferns like warm environments between 17 °C and 27 °C.
    • Soil: They prefer a well draining, moisture retentive potting mix for best results.
    • Fertilizer: Fertilize every two weeks to three weeks from Spring to Autumn with a quarter dilution of a balanced liquid fertilizer or use a fertilizer formulated for fern, following the package instructions.
    • Repotting:  Holly Fern grows most quickly in the summer, so it should be planted again in the spring. When repotting, make sure the plant's crown is just above the soil line to avoid rot. Use a pot with drainage holes that is 5 cm larger than the previous one to prevent the soil from becoming soggy. If you want to divide your fern after removing it from its container, this is a good time to do so.
    • Propagation: When you decide to repot this plant in the early spring, propagate it by tearing apart the mother plant. Its rhizome is concealed within a root ball, but it is easily capable of splitting into various parts. It is best to use the portion of the rhizome that has a few fronds that are dark green because those roots can usually grow feeding roots without much difficulty.

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