Pteris cretica

Common Name: cretan brake 
Type: Fern
Family: Pteridaceae
Native Range: Old World tropics and subtropics
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Rabbit


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 9-12. In St. Louis, grow indoors in a warm, humid environment in bright indirect light to shade. Avoid direct sun. Likes high humidity, and appreciates a humidified room or being set on a tray of wet pebbles. Use a sandy, soil-based potting mix with some added limestone chips. Clay pots help keep roots cool. Water regularly during the growing season, but slightly reduce watering from fall to late winter. Roots must never be allowed to dry out. Fronds may be cut back to the base to rejuvenate plant.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pteris cretica, commonly called Cretan brake fern, ribbon fern or table fern, is a slow-growing evergreen fern that typically rises to 18-24” tall and as wide. It is native to Europe, Asia and Africa. The fronds are pale green and arching, each with 1-5 pairs of simple or forked pinnae.

Genus name comes from the Greek pteris meaning "fern", in reference to the feathery fronds.

Specific epithet means Crete.


Watch for aphids, mealybugs and scale. Rust and leaf spots may occur. Try not to touch the fronds because they tend to bruise rather easily.


Houseplant for shady areas.