How To Make Your Plants Happy: Lemon Button Fern Care Guide

Drawing of lemon lime dracaena


This fern can survive in anything from low to bright, indirect light. It is one of the most versatile ferns to adapt anywhere in your home. Avoid harsh, direct sun.


Water the plant regularly to ensure the soil is always slightly moist. Water about every 1-3 days during summer and once a week during cooler months. If the soil dries out a bit your plant will be able to adapt but don't let the soil get overly dry.


As a tropical plant, the ideal temperatures is 60ºF - 70ºF and it prefers warmer climates. The plant is much more picky over humidity than temperature so make sure your plant is in a humid environment. Mist the leaves in the mornings and get a humidifier if necessary to ensure this plant has enough moisture in the air.


The lemon button is a small fern that will only ever grow to about 1' tall. Feed this plant once a month in spring and summer with a half diluted fertilizer. It is a slow grower so avoid any fertilizing in fall and winter.


Repotting of your fern can be done when the roots and leaves begin to take over the entire pot. Repot with a new plant that is only 1" larger than the current size and fill it with rich, well-draining soil.


The easiest way to propagate this plant is through division. Done in early spring, gently remove your plant from its pot. Divide the plant into sections, ensuring all sections have roots and fronds. Repot into a well-draining soil and continue care routine.


The Staghorn Fern requires both watering and misting. Water every 1-2 weeks, once a week in warmer months and every 2 weeks in cooler months. Keep the plant evenly moist but not soaking, allow the top of the soil to dry between waterings. Mist the plant daily, especially in summer, focusing on the under-sides of the leaves. More humidity means less watering and more light or heat means more watering.       

Lemon button fern leaf

About the Lemon Button Fern

Botanical Name: Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii' 

Nicknames: Lemon Button Fern, Fishbone Fern, Button Sword Fern, Erect Sword Fern, Little-leaved Sword Fern

The Lemon Button Fern is an easy to care for fern. It is a smaller Southern sword fern, only reaching heights of about 1' tall. The long, green and golden foliage has tiny button shaped leaves attached to every frond. It can tolerate a good amount of neglect and will still be happy as a houseplant. During the growing season, the plant can actually give off a slight lemony scent. It is a natural air humidifier and helps to purify the air around you. It is non-toxic and safe to be around your pets.

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