Kangaroo Paw Fern care doesn’t have to be complicated. The plant is one of the popular house plants that doesn’t disappoint. Many people are able to find success with this fern. The Kangaroo Paw fern is scientifically known as Microsorum Diversifolium. This post is a guide on the care for Kangaroo Paw Ferns.
The Kangaroo Paw fern is native to Australia and New Zealand. The plants only grow to about a foot tall and about 2-3 feet wide. The plant is an epiphytic evergreen.
Best Pots for Kangaroo Paw Ferns
Growing Kangaroo Paw Fern successfully begins with the kind of pots you choose. One of the most common pots to use is terra cotta. I like to use terra cotta for a lot of plants and especially for Monstera, philodendrons and other plants that like to dry out between watering sessions.
I recommend terra cotta so that you don’t have watering problems. You can also use ceramic pots. However, it needs to have a pretty decent-sized drainage hole at the bottom. You don’t want water sitting at the bottom of the pot. As an extra caution, I do recommend putting a layer of gravel or broken terracotta to elevate the roots from the potential of sitting in water. In case the drainage hole gets blocked for whatever reason, the plant’s roots will have an extra layer of protection.
Plastic nursery pots are also an option. The pots are a great option because they have lots of
drainage holes. Plastic pots are also good for large plants because when using ceramic pots, they can get heavy making it a challenge to lift and move them around. Nursery pots are not the most appealing in terms of looks, but you can always put them inside a basket or another bigger pot.
The Kangaroo Paw Ferns make beautiful hanging plants. They are very attractive and make beautiful hanging baskets. They can also be put on raised planters or on a table.
Watering kangaroo Paw Fern
The Kangaroo Paw Fern care also includes watering the plant regularly. Kangaroo Paw Fern doesn’t like being overwatered. The best time to water the plant is when the top 50% of the soil has dried out. You can test the level of moisture manually with your finger.
The best method of watering is providing the plant with a good soak. Water the plant until you see the water drip from the drainage holes at the bottom.
As I have stated in previous posts, I am anti-misting for all types of plants. Misting causes the leaves to remain wet for extended periods of time which can encourage fungal and bacterial infections. If you love to mist your plants at least do so in the morning so that the leaves have the whole day to dry.
Transplanting Kangaroo Paw Ferns
In general, you want to transplant the Kangaroo Paw ferns when the roots begin to get bound. Sometimes I like to wait a little bit longer, it’s not necessary to do it right away. If you don’t do it immediately, you stunt the growth of the plant and which can be a good thing if you’re limited in space. However, if you want your plant to get bigger transplant it into a pot that is one or two inches bigger in diameter.
Use a potting soil that’s porous and coarse. I like to use soil made up of 60% coco coir or peat moss, 20% perlite, pumice, or coarse sand, and 20% organic matter such as worm castings. If you don’t want to make your own soil mix, you can always use store-bought options. If you decide to use store soils, it’s advisable to make sure it’s free of water retentive gels.
The best time to transplant The Kangaroo Paw Fern is spring. This gives your plant a chance to re-establish its roots. It also gives it a whole growing season to grow new foliage and fill out the pot. It just makes for a healthier happier plant.
Fertilizing Kangaroo Paw Ferns
The temptation to fertilize the Kangaroo Paw Fern is real after you have transplanted the plant. However, hold off if you used some of the compost matter as recommended above. If you use a store-potting soil, the same argument still holds because most of the soils have some sort of fertilizer in them. Wait about three to six months before you consider fertilizing again.
Generally, fertilizing should be done once a month during spring and summer. If you made your own mixture, you can use a complete liquid fertilizer (equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) or you can use a fish emulsion. I also like to put in some chelated iron in it because it helps green up the plant.
If your plant is in becoming too big and the pot is too heavy, and you don’t want it becoming excessively big, you can just top-dress it. Put some organic compost or worm castings around the base of the plant and try to keep it away from the stems. Till it in a little bit into the soil and just water it in and that should be enough.
You can use a liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season because the organic compost will release to the roots slowly. You can use a foliar spray or a liquid complete fertilizer as well.
Kangaroo Paw fern should not be fertilized in the winter and fall. As a rule of thumb, ferns don’t require a lot of food, so whenever you’re in doubt it’s safe to not feed.
Temperature Requirements of Kangaroo Paw Fern
The Kangaroo Paw Fern doesn’t like to go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit because it’s just not going to grow. During winter, try and keep the plant above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal range during the growing season is between 70 and 75 and they will grow and start pushing out new growth. The warm temperatures in spring, summer, and fall will help the plant remain healthy.
The Kangaroo Paw Fern also loves humidity. If you don’t have good humidity in your home you can consider investing in a humidifier. The advantage is that the humidifier gives consistent humidity to your indoor air. That said, some people still find success using humidity trays.
The Kangaroo Paw fern still does well in normal household humidity.
Propagating Kangaroo Paw Ferns
The Kangaroo Paw Fern can be propagated successfully using different techniques. You can use rhizome division, spores, plantlets, and layering.
I personally like using the rhizome division method. Dig up the plant you want to propagate. It should be a mature plant that has already established rhizomes. Use a sharp sterile knife to divide the rhizomes.
Each new plant that you want to establish should have several rhizomes and fronds. Establish the new plants in their individual pots. Keep the soil moist and not wet or too dry. If the leaves are getting droopy, it’s an indication that the soil is too dry. Also, provide the new plants with low light.
Kangaroo Paw Fern Lighting Needs
Kangaroo Paw Fern care also involves providing the plant with sufficient light. In general, the high the amount of light the plants get, the healthier they will be. Also, the faster they’ll grow. Between low light on the higher spectrum to bright indirect light is where a Kangaroo Paw Fern wants to be. Avoid direct sunlight.
If you see the plant develop small leaves it’s an indication that it’s not getting enough light. Moving it to a bring spot will allow the plant to resume normal healthy growth.
If you want to establish the kangaroo Paw fern as an outdoor plant, its best to keep it in shade.
Kangaroo Paw Fern Pests and Diseases
What are the most common pests found on Kangaroo Paw Fern? I would say aphids, mealy bugs, and scales.
If you notice any of the pests, you can get rid of them easily. First, you can manually remove them. The pests can be noticed when you are cleaning the plant’s leaves. This is the best time to deal with them before a full-blown infestation occurs.
I use neem oil or dormant oil for controlling the spread of the pests. The two types of oil are effective.
If you have a big pest problem that means you haven’t been paying attention to your Kangaroo Paw Fern. In general, if you have a serious infestation on your plants and are okay using a houseplant systemic insecticide you might have to go that route. However, the Kangaroo Paw fern is very sensitive to insecticides.
It’s advisable to remove the pests manually and then use neem oil. You can wash the whole plant, in the shower or outside using a hose and then use a neem oil spray and spray dormant oil.
The oil suffocates them and the neem oil will kill them. It’s best to watch your plants so that you can notice the pests before they multiply too much.
Kangaroo Paw ferns are not susceptible to many diseases. In fact, you can grow the plant for years without seeing any infections. It’s important to note that in extremely humid conditions fungal and bacterial infections might occur.
Kangaroo Paw Ferns Pruning
Kangaroo Paw Ferns may require pruning from time to time. If you notice dead fronds, it’s advisable to cut them as soon as they appear. Use a sharp sterile knife to cut the fronds at the soil line.
Remember to clean the remaining leaves after a pruning exercise.
Sometimes you can notice brown edges or brown spots on Kangaroo Paw Fern leaves. They can be caused by a few different things.
One of the causes and the most common one is overwatering or underwatering. This can be noticed especially when you have the new leaves forming and then all of a sudden you see they start turning brown. It probably means you might have over-watered or under-watered it during that point in time when the leaf was developing.
The spots could also result from a nutrient deficiency or not enough light. It’s hard to exactly know why the spot occurred. There is no need to freak out though. If the leaf bothers you, you can just cut it off. If the spot is at the edge, you can just trim the leaf.
However, if you notice the brown section continuing to grow and expand in size, it’s probably a fungus. It’s critical to cut the entire leaf off and get rid of it. Dispose it completely out of the house and garden and don’t put it in the compost pile.
Kangaroo Paw Fern Toxic to Cats
The Kangaroo Paw Fern is not poisonous to cats. The plant doesn’t contain any known toxins that are poisonous to cats. It is one of the houseplants that are completely safe for felines. Check this post on other low maintenance houseplants.
Kangaroo Paw Fern Toxic to Dogs
The Kangaroo Paw Fern is not toxic to dogs. The indoor plant is one of the safe options for dog owners.
Kangaroo Paw Fern For Sale
Check the latest prices for the Kangaroo Paw Fern here from Bloomscape.
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