Indian Holly Fern, Simplicior Holly Fern, Shield Fern, East Indian Holly Fern

Arachniodes simplicior

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Arachniodes (a-rak-nee-OH-dees) (Info)
Species: simplicior (sim-PLIK-ee-or) (Info)
Additional cultivar information:(aka Variegata)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:






Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Montgomery, Alabama

Sylmar, California

Niceville, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Marietta, Georgia

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Cordova, Tennessee

Dallas, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Sweeny, Texas

Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 31, 2011, blgibbs from Garland, TX wrote:

Had three ferns planted and they all burned up this summer. They were getting 4-6 hours direct sun. Too much.. OK.. purchased East Indian Holly Fern locally. The placard states part sun "4-6 hours of sun". Info on this site disagrees with that. So whats a person supposed to do?????


On Feb 20, 2008, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I think this is my favorite fern - the colors are so beautiful. Mine gets a little brown on the tips over winter, but otherwise does fine. It is on a covered porch in mostly shade.


On Aug 17, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Another one of my favourite ferns. Moderately slow growing, but worth the effort !

Does well here in zone 9b. Fairly common in nurseries.


On Aug 17, 2006, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

very, very slow grower, but not demanding. very striking in the garden. mine is planted inground, mostly shade.


On Jun 11, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I have been growing one of these for several years. My garden is on an exposed mountainside at the cold end of zone 5 bordering on zone 4. My variegated holly fern is in a ten inch terra cotta pot and comes inside for the winter, to a log cabin that is heated only on weekends and frequently gets down to 40F. It grew lavishly for the first few years--purchased from Naylor Creek. A typical frond is two feet long and eight inches wide at the widest part. However, this year I put it outdoors in mid-May, thinking that it is hardy to zone 7 or so and would tolerate some light frost. It got nipped by one frost and 25F night, and is now looking pretty sickly. Most fronds are at least half brown. It will probaby recover, but, for now, all stems are very brittle and easily broken. I do not recommen... read more


On Nov 12, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nice looking fern for temperate gardens... not really sure on how much cold it will take but no known problems in So California. Supposedly it is best to be careful about overwatering in winter (dormant then). Native of China and Japan. Has a nice, prominent bright yellow stripe down middle of glossy, limegreen leaves.


On Sep 28, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
A very, very slow growing fern, the East Indian Holly Fern (native to Japan and China) is distinguished by its deep rich green fronds which have a mid-rib of yellow or pale gray-green. The shiny fronds are broadly triangular in shape, up to 18" in length, divided into three to four pinnae with sharply pointed pinnules and are harsh to the touch. This fern almost looks artificial with a plasticity appearance and usually is 18" by 18". It prefers a moist, rich, well drained soil and light shade; although it will tolerate full shade, it grows even more slowly. It is an evergreen fern in warmer climates and is hardy to zone 7 with some reports stating it is hardy to zone 6. However, I would protect it in this zone. Planted for about a year and a half (were in quart cont... read more