For a great addition to your part-shade garden in Northeast Texas, try the holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum). How great is it? Consider this:

  • It has presence.
    This isn’t a dainty fern – its substantial fronds with glossy, holly-like texture make a mounded fountain with a mature size of 2-3 ft. high and 3-4 ft. wide.

  • It’s evergreen.
    This is one fern that won’t duck underground with the first frost, so it adds interest to your garden all year.

  • It’s easy care.
    Holly ferns don’t blink in our heat and even withstand some drought. (Many area “weekenders” have had them for years so you know they’re not pampered.) If a holly fern gets thirsty, it lays down its fronds, but with its next drink, it’s no worse for the wear.

  • It’s versatile.
    This fern works beautifully in mixed beds of hostas, impatiens, perennials, and other ferns; coupled with dogwoods and azaleas; and as a groundcover under trees or on slopes.

  • It won’t take over.
    The holly fern grows steadily but slowly; as long as you’ve planned for its ultimate size it won’t overwhelm its neighbors.

  • It’s available.
    Nurseries carry holly ferns in containers from 4″ to 1 gallon and up.

Judy Heinrich, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Groundcovers