How to Propagate Christmas Fern: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Propagate Christmas Fern: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you looking to expand your collection of Christmas ferns in your garden or indoor space? Propagating Christmas ferns is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to create new plants from existing ones. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of propagating Christmas ferns successfully. Whether you are a beginner or experienced gardener, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to propagate Christmas ferns with ease.

Understanding Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern, also known as Polystichum acrostichoides, is a popular evergreen fern that is native to North America. It gets its name from the fact that it stays green throughout the holiday season, making it a festive addition to any garden or landscape.

Description of Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern is characterized by its dark green, leathery fronds that grow in a distinctive triangular shape. The fronds can reach up to 2 feet in length and are divided into smaller leaflets, giving the plant a delicate and intricate appearance. This fern is a low-maintenance plant that adds a touch of elegance to shady areas in the garden.

Benefits of Growing Christmas Fern

There are several benefits to growing Christmas Fern in your garden. Not only does it provide year-round greenery, but it also helps to improve air quality by removing pollutants from the atmosphere. Additionally, Christmas Fern is a great choice for landscaping projects as it is deer-resistant and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern thrives in shaded areas with moist, well-draining soil. It is best planted in partial to full shade, although it can tolerate some sun if given enough moisture. This fern is a versatile plant that can adapt to various growing conditions, making it a popular choice for gardens across North America.

Methods of Propagation

There are several methods you can use to propagate Christmas Fern, including division, spores, and propagation through rhizomes.


Dividing Christmas Fern is a simple and effective way to propagate this plant. To do this, carefully dig up the fern and separate the clumps into smaller sections. Each section should have a few fronds and a portion of the root system. Replant these divisions in a suitable location with well-draining soil and keep them consistently moist until they establish.


Propagating Christmas Fern from spores is a more time-consuming method but can be rewarding for experienced gardeners. To collect spores, wait until the fronds have matured and developed sori (clusters of spore-producing structures). Carefully remove a frond with mature sori and place it in a paper bag to allow the spores to dry and release. Sprinkle the spores onto a mixture of peat moss and sand, keep the soil moist, and provide adequate light to encourage germination.

Propagation through Rhizomes

Christmas Fern can also be propagated through rhizomes, which are underground stems that produce roots and shoots. To propagate through rhizomes, carefully dig up a portion of the rhizome and replant it in a new location with suitable soil conditions. Make sure to water the newly planted rhizome regularly to promote growth and establishment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Propagate Christmas Fern

Step 1: Choosing the Parent Plant

Before you start propagating Christmas fern, it’s important to choose a healthy and mature parent plant. Look for a plant that has vibrant green fronds and is free from any signs of disease or pests. This will ensure that the offspring produced through propagation will also be strong and healthy.

Step 2: Preparing the Plant

Once you have selected the parent plant, it’s time to prepare it for propagation. Start by gently removing the plant from its container or the ground, being careful not to damage the roots. Shake off any excess soil and trim any dead or damaged fronds from the plant.

Step 3: Propagation Method

There are several methods you can use to propagate Christmas fern, including division, spore propagation, and rhizome propagation. Division involves separating the plant into smaller sections, each with its own roots, while spore propagation involves collecting and planting spores produced by the plant. Rhizome propagation involves cutting a section of the rhizome and planting it in a new location.

Choose the propagation method that works best for you and follow the specific steps for that method to successfully propagate your Christmas fern. With proper care and attention, you can easily multiply your fern collection and enjoy the beauty of these plants in multiple locations.