Pteris cretica: A Complete Guide to the Silver Ribbon Fern

Pteris cretica is a beautiful evergreen fern that comes with sharp, uniquely shaped fronds and a range of striking colours.

Though “Cretica” comes from the Greek work for feather, the leaves remind me more of a trident. With each frond consisting of a forked set of leaves, with a larger central leaf and a coloured core running through each (Poseidon would be proud).

The ‘Albolineata’ variety is the most common variety, otherwise known as the “Silver Ribbon Fern” for its characteristic creamy white colouring. Native to several continents, the Cretan Brake Fern is a hardy species, and makes an easy addition to any terrarium environment.

Pteris Cretica Albolineata (Silver Ribbon Fern)

Where to Buy Pteris cretica

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

US – See on Etsy
UK – See on Etsy

Where to Buy Pteris cretica

Plant TypeFern
LightingMedium – high indirect light
Temperature65-75°F (18-24°C)
WateringRegular, even moisture
HumidityHigh humidity (60-90%)
Growth8-20 inches


The Cretan Brake Fern prefers bright, indirect or filtered light. As with other terrarium ferns, keep out of direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.


As a tropical fern, Pretris cretica likes consistent, even moisture in order to thrive. It has very little drought tolerance and will quickly suffer if planted in a dry substrate.


As seen by its widespread natural cultivation, Pteris cretica is capable of growing in a variety of soil conditions. It will grow well in any typical tropical substrate that provides adequate water retention and drainage.

Temperature & Humidity

Though Pteris cretica is a somewhat hardy plant and can tolerate lower temperatures, it will grow best in an environment with a high temperature and relative humidity.


Pteris cretica grows at a pretty average speed, taking several years to reach full maturity. New fronds develop from the base. Each stalk growing longer and taller over older leaves and giving the plant a sharp sense of volume.


To easily propagate Pteris cretica, simply divide a healthy plant at the rhizome. Allowing at least a few fronds on each rhizome section will give the new plants the best chance of thriving.

Varieties & Similar Plants

The Pteris genus contains a huge variety of tropical ferns (including Pteris ensiformis) though there’s only two common varieties of Pteris cretica. The ‘Albolineata’ described here and another called ‘Mayii’ which is a very similar save for a further forked terminal leaf.

Common Problems

The Cretan Brake Fern is very sensitive to water and must be kept moist at all times. Also, the leaf variegation of Pteris cretica ‘Albolineata’ may fade if exposed to excessive sunlight for long periods.