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Audubon® Christmas Fern
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Deck the halls with boughs of Christmas Fern! Or, better yet, leave the lush greenery in your garden to provide cheer throughout the year. Christmas Fern is a joyful Spirit that gets its name from the fact that its evergreen foliage is present at Christmastime. More imaginative people believe it gets its name from its L-shaped leaflets, which look like tiny green Christmas stockings. In any case, this is an enchanting plant to have in the garden at any time of year. Use it in natural woodland plantings and shady formal borders alike. Well behaved and easy to grow.
May Benefit & Attract: wrens, sparrows, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
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Christmas Fern brings fresh greenery to the forest floor all over the eastern United States, from Iowa to East Texas and east to Maine and Florida. It is a fairly common Fern, especially where the soil is rather alkaline. It likes well-drained—even rocky—soil, and is more tolerant of dry conditions than many other Ferns, once established. This is a small, compact species that doesn’t spread very quickly. In rural areas, the young fiddleheads may serve as forage for grouse and wild turkeys. Ground-nesting birds like ovenbirds and veeries may occasionally nest among Christmas Ferns.
Got deer? Ferns are usually a safe bet where deer are a problem. They provide needed greenery in the shady woodland garden spaces where deer may come looking for a meal, but deer tend to leave them alone. Christmas Fern is troubled by few pests of any kind and is relatively carefree.
How to Grow
Although Christmas Fern is one tough Spirit, treating it well will reap rewards. This means giving it a premium spot in the landscape where it will receive dappled sunlight or shade throughout the day. This Fern also appreciates rich, organic soil that holds some moisture but drains well and doesn’t stay soggy after a rain. Regular irrigation is important for lush growth, especially if plants are competing with tree roots for water. Christmas Fern goes dormant in the winter. Cut the spent fronds back in early spring, just before the new growth emerges.
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