Fern Lemon Button

A Beginner’s Guide to Fern Lemon Button Plant care | All you Need to Grow!

Family: Nephrolepidaceae
Common Name: Lemon Button
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii'

The always adorable Lemon Button fern is more than just cute as a “button”—it is also a pet-friendly indoor plant that requires relatively easy care. It’s also a bit more difficult to find than other fern varieties. Arched foliage packed with mini, circular leaflets are the signature details of this plant, and it adds charm and fun to any hanging basket or tabletop. This indoor plant is known to give off a slight lemony scent while growing! Get your nose in it!

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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, especially in the summer when the sun's rays are intense! The less light your ferns receive, the slower they will grow, and they may become leggy and thin. If you see this happening, immediately relocate your Lemon Button Fern to a brighter spot! Learn more about what light is right for your indoor plants!


Lemon Button 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. Try this little trick if you are unsure how often to water your ferns. Water frequently, but lightly. Instead of soaking your ferns once a week or whenever you water your plants. Give them a little bit every few days, or just enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
If the watering riddle still has you scratching your head, consider planting your ferns into self-watering planters, and don't forget to fill them in when they dry out!


The soil composition is critical when it comes to growing Lemon Button Ferns! Ferns need a soil medium that can retain moisture but drain excess water to avoid the root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soil containing moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend repotting your fern into a compost-rich soil mixture.


Lemon Button Ferns adapt quickly to most household temperatures. They prefer to live in cooler temps but can withstand temperatures into the 90's. They'll need more water and shade during a heatwave. When the temperatures are hot and stagnant, we recommend using a fan to provide good air circulation! Moving air helps keep pests and diseases, and fungus away!


Humidity is a must to keep your Lemon Button Fern strong and vigorous! If you think about the tropical rainforests 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. We do not recommend misting your ferns --or any plants -- as this can cause fungal diseases if the leaves are constantly wet. You would have to be misting all day for that to happen!. Misting does almost nothing to help raise the humidity for your plants, even though it feels therapeutic and relaxing to do! A stylish and practical way to increase the humidity in a small area is to place the ferns on a tray filled with pebbles and water so the evaporating moisture can reach the foliage. Learn how to increase humidity around your indoor plants!


Feed your ferns with a ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season. You can add organic compost, worm castings, or a slow-release fertilizer. Keep in mind that Lemon Button Ferns are sensitive to being over-fertilized, so always dilute any concentrated fertilizer before applying it! Do not feed during the winter or in the colder months.

Growth Rate

Lemon Button Ferns are moderate growers. Foliage clumps reach 18" in maturity.

Pet Friend or Foe

It's a non-toxic indoor plant. Friend!




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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 more manageable.
  3. Leave your ferns in the grow pots or plant in nonporous pots as this helps keep their soil moist.
  4. Indoor ferns can become root-bound which leads to stunted growth. Repot your ferns into a container that is 2" wider in diameter, using organic-rich soil when repotting them!
  5. A great time to divide your Lemon Button fern is when you are re-potting them. Take a sharp, sterilized knife, carefully slice the root ball in half, and plant each division into its new pots!
  6. Try placing a fern potted in a terra-cotta pot into a larger ceramic pot. Place moistened moss between the inner terra-cotta pot and the outer ceramic pot. The moistened moss will help slow the terra-cotta pot from wicking away the moisture from the fern's soil.

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