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Common Name:

Holly Fern

Scientific Name:

Cyrtomium falcatum

Family Name:



Holly Ferns represent one of the most durable species of ferns available for Texas landscapes. The fond segments resemble a holly leaf, hence the common name. Makes a very effective shade groundcover or accent plant.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, groundcover



Flower Color:

No flowers, sori are borne on backs of the fronds

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:



1 ft to 2 ft, rarely 3 ft


1 ft to 3 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

One of the more tolerant ferns to wind, high pH soils, foliar and soil salts, and sun compared to other ferns, but still best in high quality well drained soils in a moist shady location.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.