Cyrtomium holly fern
The name offern describes the appearance of this robust fern very well. While the young leaves are light green, the mature leaves are a shiny dark green and irregularly coarsely dentate, rather like the leaves of the European holly tree (llex). They look leathery, are simply feathered and have green, strong stalks that are covered, particularly in the lower sections, with dense brown scales. Circular clusters of are distributed all over the feathers. They turn from creamy white to brown as they ripen.
• Out of the ten known species, Cyrtomium falcatum is the one most frequently found as an indoor plant. The variety "Rochfordianum" is also widely available. It has deeply dentate, slit, feathery leaves.
• Cyrtomium fortunel is very similar to Cyrtomium falcatum but not often available in the trade.
Origin: Terrestrial fern from the temperate to subtropical regions of eastern Asia, Polynesia, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Position: Semi-shady to bright, no direct sunlight. The plant loves cool, airy places. During the winter the room temperature should not rise above 15° C (59° F). A brief drop to 2° C (36° F) will not harm it, provided it has been hardened off. These plants are robust and resistant and will also cope with slightly warmer or very shady positions as well as with low humidity.
Care: Water plentifully during the summer, otherwise keep medium moist. This fern will forgive the occasional slight drying out of the compost. Give weak doses of fertilizer weekly from early spring to early autumn. These plants love mild rain showers or misting. Repot every one to two years in the spring.
Propagation: Fromor division.
Pests, diseases: Rare; scale insects or mealy bugs if the position is too warm and the air too dry.
My tip: An extremely undemanding fern with respect to position and care and, therefore, highly recommended for the beginner.