Cyrtomium falcatum
Common Name: Japanese holly fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-10. Grow in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Good soil drainage is essential to protect roots from rotting in winter. Crowns may be mulched with straw in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cyrtomium falcatum, commonly called Japanese holly fern, is native to eastern Asia, India, southern Africa and Hawaii. The fronds of this fern resemble holly branches. This is an evergreen fern (deciduous in St. Louis) that typically grows in a dense, vase-shaped clump to 2’ tall. Arching, glossy, dark green fronds (1-2.5’ long) are noted for their thick, leathery pinnae, which are falcate (sickle-shaped) as the species name suggests. Spores are easily carried by wind, and species plants have escaped gardens and naturalized in certain areas of the southeastern U.S.

Genus name comes from the Greek kyrtos meaning arched in reference to the fern habit.

Specific epithet means sickle-shaped.


Susceptible to root rot, fungal spots and scale.


Woodland areas and shaded areas of borders or rock gardens. Border for tree or shrub areas. May be grown as a houseplant.