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Variegated Cretan Brake Fern

Pteris cretica var. albolineata

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Variegated Cretan Brake Fern (Pteris cretica var. albolineata) at Vandermeer Nursery

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern foliage

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern (Pteris cretica var. albolineata) at Vandermeer Nursery

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  20 inches

Spread:  20 inches

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Other Names:  Silver Ribbon Fern, Bird's Foot Fern, Albolineata


Interesting, arching mound of bi-colored green, lanceolate fronds with creamy white centers; a great garden groundcover or container plant

Ornamental Features

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern is primarily valued in the garden for its cascading habit of growth. Its serrated narrow compound leaves emerge chartreuse in spring, turning dark green in colour with pointy white spines the rest of the year.

Landscape Attributes

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern is an herbaceous annual with a shapely form and gracefully arching foliage. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting
  • Hanging Baskets

Planting & Growing

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern will grow to be about 20 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 inches. Although it's not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Variegated Cretan Brake Fern is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. It can be used either as 'filler' or as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, depending on the height and form of the other plants used in the container planting. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Massing  Garden  Groundcover  Container  Basket 
Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features

** Plants listed may not be in stock at all times. **

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Our inventory varies seasonally and we cannot guarantee that every plant will be in stock at all times. To confirm if we have the plant that you're looking for, please call (905) 427-2525 or e-mail  us at
Remember, this library does not include our entire selection. Visit us year-round to check out varieties that may not be listed here!