Button Fern (Pellaea Rotundifolia) Species Profile & Care Guide

The Button Fern, Pellaea rotundifolia, is a charming and hardy houseplant. It features small, round, button-like leaves along its arching fronds. This fern is popular for its low maintenance requirements and ability to thrive indoors with minimal care.

Button Fern

What is the Species Profile of Button Fern?

The Button Fern is a type of fern with specific features. Its species profile includes:

  • Common Name: Button Fern
  • Scientific Name: Pellaea rotundifolia
  • Family: Pteridaceae
  • Origin/Native Region: New Zealand
  • Growth Habit: Compact, rounded leaves on arching fronds

What are the Ideal Growing Conditions of Button Fern?

Button Fern thrives under specific conditions. It likes bright, indirect light to mimic the dappled sunlight of its native habitat. The temperature should be mild, between 60-75°F (15-24°C), which is comfortable for most homes.

Button Fern prefers humidity, so a bathroom or kitchen can be a great spot. The soil needs to be well-draining, with materials like peat moss that hold moisture without getting soggy. By providing these conditions, you help your Button Fern grow well.

Light Requirements

Button ferns need bright, indirect light to grow well. This means they should be near a window, but not in the direct path of the sun’s rays, which can burn their leaves.

If the fern gets too much shade, it might grow slowly and have fewer leaves. So, the best spot for your button fern is one where it gets plenty of light, but the sun won’t hit it directly.

If you don’t have a lot of natural light, a grow light can also work. Just remember to keep it on for about 12 hours a day to mimic natural daylight.

Temperature Preferences

The Button Fern thrives in moderate temperatures. It likes a cool to warm environment and does best when the temperature is between 60°F and 75°F. Extreme cold or heat can harm the plant. To keep your Button Fern healthy, make sure it’s not near drafty windows or heaters.

During the winter, it’s important to protect the fern from cold drafts. Likewise, in the summer, keep it away from air conditioners that could make it too cold. Your Button Fern will grow well if you maintain a steady, comfortable temperature in its space.

Humidity Needs

The Button Fern thrives best in environments with high humidity. It loves moist air around its leaves. You can increase humidity by misting the plant or placing it on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Make sure the pot is not sitting directly in the water, though.

The humidity around the plant will help it grow lush and green. Keep the fern away from dry, drafty spots to ensure it stays happy. If the air in your home is very dry, especially during winter, a small room humidifier near the plant can be a big help. High humidity mimics the fern’s natural habitat and encourages healthy growth.

Soil and Potting

For your Button Fern to grow well, you need the right kind of soil and pot. The soil should drain water quickly. This kind of soil is called “well-draining.” The pot you choose should have holes in the bottom. These holes let extra water flow out. Without these holes, the soil might stay too wet, and that’s not good for the fern. If the soil is too wet, the roots can rot.

Give the fern a pot that is just big enough for its roots, so it doesn’t sit in too much wet soil. You can use a mix of potting soil and materials like perlite or bark to make the soil drain better. This mix helps the fern’s roots stay healthy.

What are the Watering Needs of Button Fern?

Button ferns need regular watering. Keep their soil moist, but not soggy. Water them when the top inch of soil feels dry. This might happen once every week or two. Don’t let them sit in water. Too much water can harm the roots.

The fern’s leaves will tell you if it’s thirsty; they’ll look limp. If you forget to water your fern, and the soil dries out completely, give it a thorough soaking. Make sure the water drains away. Remember, consistent moisture keeps your button fern happy.

What are the Fertilization Requirements of Button Fern?

Button Fern needs food like any living plant. This food comes in the form of fertilizer. You should fertilize your Button Fern once a month during the growing season, which is spring and summer. Use a balanced, liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half the strength recommended on the package.

Do not fertilize in fall and winter, because the fern is resting and does not need extra food. Too much fertilizer can hurt your fern’s roots and cause its leaves to turn yellow. Remember, just a little bit once a month when the plant is growing will help keep your Button Fern healthy and strong.

What is the Growth Habit of Button Fern?

The Button Fern grows in a particular way. It has a round, compact shape and produces many small, circular leaves. These leaves unfold on delicate stems, giving the plant its charming appearance.

The fern does not grow very tall. Instead, it spreads out, forming a lush, low cluster. Its growth is slow. You will not see it shoot up quickly like some other plants.

With care, the Button Fern becomes a graceful, green addition to your space. It fits nicely on shelves or in hanging baskets because of its size and shape.

What are the Benefits of Pruning Button Fern?

Pruning is like giving your Button Fern a haircut. It helps the plant look neater and grow better. When you remove dead or yellow leaves, the fern can use its energy to make new, healthy leaves.

Also, pruning lets air and light reach the center of the plant. This keeps your fern healthy and prevents disease. Remember, always use clean scissors or pruners to cut the leaves. This way, you protect your Button Fern from getting sick from dirty tools.

How do You Propagate Button Fern?

Propagating Button Fern means creating new plants from the one you already have. Here is how you do it:

  1. Choose a healthy Button Fern.
  2. Find a stem with multiple leaves on it.
  3. Cut below a leaf joint using clean scissors.
  4. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder.
  5. Plant the stem in moist, well-draining soil.
  6. Keep the soil slightly damp and the pot in bright, indirect light.
  7. Be patient; roots will form in a few weeks.

By following these steps, you can grow new Button Ferns to expand your collection or share with friends.

What are the Common Pests and Diseases of Button Fern?

Pests (types and symptoms)

Pests are unwanted insects or bugs that can harm the Button Fern. Different types swarm ferns, each with unique symptoms. Common pests include:

  • Aphids: These are small, and green or brown. They suck sap from leaves, causing them to curl and stunt growth.
  • Scale: These look like tiny bumps on stems and leaves. They also feed on sap, leading to yellowing leaves.
  • Spider mites: You’ll find fine webs on the plant. Their feeding makes leaves speckled and dry.
  • Mealybugs: Look for white, cottony patches on leaves and stems. They weaken the plant by drinking its juices.

When these pests attack, the fern might look wilted, lose color, or grow slowly. Look out for these signs to catch problems early.

Diseases (types and symptoms)

Diseases in Button Ferns are health issues caused by fungi or other problems. These diseases often show up as changes in the plant’s leaves. For example, if the fern has brown, dead spots or a white, powdery coating, it could mean the plant has a fungal infection.

Another sign is if the fern’s new growth looks weak or odd. It’s important to spot these symptoms early. By doing so, you can treat the plant quickly and keep the disease from spreading.

Remember, a healthy fern is less likely to get sick, so take good care of your Button Fern to prevent diseases.

What to Know about the Toxicity of Button Fern?

The Button Fern is known to be non-toxic. This means it is safe for people and pets, like cats and dogs. You do not have to worry if your pet chews on the plant leaves. It won’t harm them.

Always be cautious with any plant around pets. Some animals may still have mild reactions. These can include an upset stomach if they eat too much of any plant, even non-toxic ones.

If you have concerns about your pets and plants, it’s wise to talk with a vet.

What to Know about the Air Purification Capabilities of Button Fern?

Button ferns can clean the air in your home. Like many plants, they take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. However, button ferns also remove some toxins from the air.

These toxins come from things around the house like cleaning products and paint. While they help make the air healthier, they’re not as effective as some other plants.

Therefore, if you want a plant mostly for air cleaning, there are better choices. But button ferns do help a little and also look great. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking about adding a button fern to your space.

What are the Decorative Uses of Button Fern?

Button Fern adds green beauty to your space. Its round leaves look great in hanging baskets. You can place it on a high shelf, where its leaves can drape down.

In a bright bathroom, the humidity helps the fern thrive. Often, it’s set near a north-facing window for gentle light. Grouping it with other plants can raise moisture around the leaves. Just make sure it’s not too crowded.

Button Fern doesn’t need direct sunlight, so avoid placing it right by a south-facing window. It can be a pretty desk plant, where it gets enough light without harsh rays. Keep it away from heaters or air conditioners to avoid dry air.

Ferns   Updated: November 25, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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