All About Button Fern Care
Button Ferns are gorgeous ferns originating from New Zealand. These unusual houseplants get their name from the round shape of their leaves. The dark green leaves grow from a brown stem and have a velvety texture with a slight sheen. The foliage of button ferns is so perfect that it often appears to be fake. As ferns go, these are comparatively easy to care for and do well in many home environments.
Not only are these ferns a statement plant, they are also non-toxic and Pet Safe. Your dog or cat may have a little tummy upset if they ingest ferns but it is due to a digestive system lacking the ability to digest plants, not poison. AKA your kitty is not a cow with four stomachs made for breaking down plant material. So… the plant might come back up if you know what I mean.
How To Care for Button Ferns
Pellaea Rotundifolia is a little more tolerant than other fern species and thus easier to care for in a home environment. The two biggest factors are moisture and humidity.
As opposed to most ferns, Button Ferns actually prefer for their soil to slightly dry out between waterings. You might get a pass on a few missed waterings but your plant will start suffering if it gets too dry. You also don’t want soggy, soaking-wet soil.
These do best in a kitchen or bathroom where the humidity is naturally higher. Often when the leaves start to brown, people will think the plant needs more water but it is actually low humidity causing the browning. Check out our humidity guide for ways to increase humidity.
You can pot them up an inch or two once the roots start growing out of the bottom of the pot. Remember that these plants are slow growing and won’t need potting up very often. Because they won’t need fresh soil as often as fast-growing plants, be sure to fertilize during the growing season so they don’t lack nutrients.
Read on to learn more about caring for Button Ferns ……
USDA Zone 9-12. Button Ferns are more tolerant of cold than other houseplants. Always protect from frost.
Button Ferns prefer to dry out slightly between waterings. It’s best to water when the top 1 inch of soil is dry.
These are slow growing but eventually, get to 18 inches wide!
They prefer bright, filtered light. Think of plants growing on the forest floor or sitting under an oak tree. They get really bright light but no direct rays. Direct light can cause sunburn.
Use a rich potting mix that drains well. Add perlite and coconut coir to improve moisture retention and drainage.
They are native to New Zealand and like 40% or higher humidity levels.
Button Fern is non-toxic and safe for children and pets. Find more pet-safe plants here.
Fertilize every three months during the growing season with Green Grub Insect Frass. You can either make a compost tea to water with every time or sprinkle a layer of fertilizer on top of the soil. If using synthetic, use an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer with a balanced ratio.
Propagate by offsets. Read on for propagation instructions.
How to Propagate Button Ferns
Ferns naturally propagate by spores and offsets. It’s impractical to try spore propagations in a home environment so we will focus on the division of offsets.
1. Once your plant is large enough and producing offsets you can divide it. This is easily done while repotting your plant. When you have the rootball out of the pot, use a sharp knife to cut individual offsets away from the main plant. Make sure to get enough roots to support the new offset.
2. Likewise you can also loosen the rootball with your fingers and gently separate the offset from the main plant.
3. Plant your new offset into a rooting medium, keep moist and wait for the plant to establish.
4. Once your offset is established and growing well. Repot into a pot that is 1 inch larger than the rootball and enjoy your new plant!
Get your very own Button Fern here.