Crocodile Fern

A Beginner's Guide to Crocodile Fern Care | All you Need to Grow!

Crocodile Fern

Family: Polypodiaceae
Common Name: Crocodile Fern
Botanical Name: Microsorium musifolium

Here is a fern that you will want to stroke, but be gentle! The heavily textured leaves billow out from the center developing more pronounced rippling as they mature. This indoor plant does require more humidity and water than other less sensitive houseplants, but it is well worth the extra time and devotion. These air purifying ferns will transport you to a per-industrial time when air didn’t require any purification!

It is not necessary to repot your ferns anytime soon after you get them (unless they are root-bound). Since they are epiphytes, they do not have dense root systems so will not get root-bound quickly. The other reason you might consider changing the pot is to stabilize a large wobbly plant!

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Most people assume ferns thrive in the shadows, but these houseplants need some light, so don’t hide them in dark corners. Medium, indirect dappled light will bring out the best in them (picture them under a thick canopy of trees on a sunny day). Avoid direct sunlight.


Ferns need constant moisture, but don’t let them sit in standing water. Only certain types of wetland ferns can live in that environment. More importantly, do not neglect to water your fern. When that happens, you will find a dying fern surrounded by a ring of brown, crunchy leaves.


Ferns adapt easily to most household temperatures. They prefer to live in cooler temps but can withstand temperatures into the 90’s. They’ll just need more water and shade during a heatwave.


Humidity is a MUST in order to keep your fern strong and vigorous! If you think about the tropical rain forests where they naturally grow, it’s easy to see why. A humidifier will be the best solution to raise the humidity in your home during the cold months when the forced-air heat is cranking and dries out the air. Misting your plants is a temporary fix; if you’re able to mist multiple times daily that will help. If you can’t mist often, then place the ferns on a tray filled with pebbles and water so the evaporating water can reach the foliage.


Feed your ferns with a ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season. Do not feed during the winter or in the colder months.

Growth Rate

Crocodile Ferns are not fast growers, but with the right amount of light, humidity and water they are able to grow to around 3’ indoors. 

Pet Friend or Foe

These Indoor Ferns are Non-Toxic. Friend

Pro Tips

  1. Only fertilize your indoor plants after you’ve saturated the soil with water; this avoids burning the roots and foliage.
  2. Group ferns together to make caring for them easier.
  3. Leave your ferns in the grow pots or plant in nonporous pots as this helps keep their soil moist.
  4. Be careful to not over-water Crocodile Ferns as this will cause leaf spots (bacteria)

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