Cyrtomium fortunei
Common Name: Japanese holly fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: Eastern Asia
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Rabbit


Grow in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Too much sun may bleach out the pale yellowish-green color of the pinnae. Good soil drainage is essential to protect roots from rotting in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cyrtomium fortunei, commonly called holly fern, has fronds that resemble holly branches. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. It is an evergreen fern that typically grows 12-24” tall and features stiff, upright, dull green fronds (to 2 1/2' long), each with 12-26 pairs of stiff, leathery pinnae. Plants have escaped gardens and naturalized in certain areas of the southern and northwestern United States.

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

Specific epithet honors Robert Fortune (1812-1880) Scottish horticulturist and collector in China.


Susceptible to root rot, fungal spots and scale.


Woodland areas and shaded areas of borders or rock gardens.