Growing and Caring for Kangaroo Paw Ferns

Introduction to Kangaroo Paw Ferns

Kangaroo Paw Ferns, scientifically known as Microsorum diversifolium, are lush, evergreen plants native to Australia. With their unique foliage that resembles kangaroo paws, they have become a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardens. These ferns are appreciated for their ease of care and their ability to thrive in a variety of conditions, making them ideal for both beginner and expert gardeners.

Optimal Growing Conditions for Kangaroo Paw Ferns

To ensure the healthy growth of Kangaroo Paw Ferns, it is essential to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible. They prefer indirect, filtered light and thrive in environments that are warm and fairly humid. Direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can scorch the leaves and cause them to lose their vibrant green color. A northern or east-facing window is often the perfect spot for indoor ferns.

Soil Requirements

Kangaroo Paw Ferns do best in a well-draining potting mix. A good mixture often contains ingredients like peat, perlite, and pine bark, which facilitate both aeration and moisture retention. A pot with ample drainage holes is recommended to prevent water logging, which can lead to root rot and other issues.

Temperature and Humidity

The comfortable temperature range for Kangaroo Paw Ferns is between 60-75°F (15-24°C). If temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), the ferns may suffer damage. In terms of humidity, these plants appreciate a higher level of moisture in the air. Regular misting or placing the pot on a pebble tray partially filled with water can help maintain the humidity level around the plant.

Watering and Feeding Kangaroo Paw Ferns

Watering your Kangaroo Paw Fern correctly is the key to its health. The soil should be kept evenly moist, but not waterlogged. It is generally best to water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. During the winter months, when plant growth naturally slows, reduce the frequency of watering.


Fertilization can help keep your Kangaroo Paw Fern lush and vibrant. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Feeding should be done sparingly, about once a month during the growing season, and not at all during winter when the plant’s growth is dormant.

Pruning and Maintenance

Pruning is an integral part of caring for Kangaroo Paw Ferns. This not only helps maintain their shape but also encourages new growth. Remove any yellow or dead fronds near the base to promote a tidy appearance and healthier plant. Always use clean, sharp tools to prevent damage and disease.

Pest and Disease Management

While generally resilient, Kangaroo Paw Ferns can be susceptible to pests like scale, mealybugs, and spider mites. Regular inspection and wiping the leaves with a damp cloth can prevent pest infestations. If pests are present, treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Additionally, avoid overwatering to prevent fungal diseases.

Propagating Kangaroo Paw Ferns

Propagation of Kangaroo Paw Ferns is usually done through spore cultivation or division. Division is the simpler method for most gardeners; carefully separate a healthy plant into smaller sections, ensuring each section has a part of the root system. Plant the divisions into their pots, and care for them as you would a mature fern.


Caring for Kangaroo Paw Ferns can be a delightful experience for any plant lover. These charming ferns don’t demand much, yet they offer an abundance of lush foliage and bring a touch of Australia’s natural beauty into your space. With the right conditions and a bit of attention, you can enjoy the benefits of these easy-going and rewarding houseplants.

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