Lemon Button Fern
Ferns,  Plant Care,  Propagation

Lemon Button Fern

Welcome to our guide to the Lemon Button Fern, covering care and propagation, including water, soil, humidity and temperature needs…

Lemon Button Fern Care Summary

Light needs:Medium indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Keep the soil moist but not soggy
Fertilizer: A light application of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season.
Soil:A loose, well-drained potting mix.
Temperature:60-80°F (15-26°C).
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
Other names:Nephrolepis cordifolia “Duffii”, Sword fern, Erect sword fern, Little-leaved sword fern, and Fishbone fern.
Common issues:Overwatering, underwatering.


The Lemon Button Fern (a.ka. Nephrolepis cordifolia “Duffii”) is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant that is perfect for both indoor and outdoor spaces. It is a dwarf variety of the Boston fern and only grows to a maximum size of 12 inches tall. The fronds are small and round, and they range in color from bright green to yellow-green. The plant gets its name from the lemon scent it gives off during its active growth. The Lemon Button Fern is native to humid tropical regions of Asia, Australia, the West Indies, and Central America, so it thrives in warm, moist environments.

See also: Peacock Fern, Kangaroo Paw Fern, Macho Fern (Nephrolepis Biserrata), Pink Syngonium, Geogenanthus Ciliatus, Rhaphidophora Hayi Care.

Light Needs

It grows under tree canopies in its natural habitats, so it does not need direct sunlight to thrive. However, it will grow best in medium bright, indirect light.

How Often to Water Lemon Button Fern

Like most ferns, do not let your plant dry out completely. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. The best way to do this is to water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Be sure to empty any excess water from the saucer after watering so that the roots do not sit in the water.


It’s is a slow grower and does not feed heavily. A light application of liquid fertiliser every 2-3 months during the growing season is sufficient. Be sure to follow the directions on the fertiliser package so that you do not overfeed your plant.


Lemon Button Fern prefer a loose, well-drained potting mix. It is said that they can do well in any type of soil until the soil is well-draining. You can make your own by mixing equal parts peat moss, sand, and perlite.

When To Repot Lemon Button Fern

They do not need to be repotted frequently. You can wait to repot your plant until it becomes rootbound in its pot. When you do repot, be sure to use a pot that is only 1-2 inches larger than the current pot.


Lemon Button Ferns prefer high humidity, but they will tolerate lower humidity levels as well. If you live in a dry climate, you can increase the humidity around your plant by grouping it with other plants, running a humidifier, or setting the pot on a tray of pebbles and water.


Lemon Button Ferns should be kept between 60-80°F (15-26°C).

How To Propagate Lemon Button Fern

Lemon Button Ferns are typically propagated by division. You can do this by carefully removing the plant from its pot and gently separating the root ball into two or more sections. Each section should have several healthy roots and at least one frond. Plant the divisions in individual pots filled with fresh potting mix and water them thoroughly.

Other Names

Nephrolepis cordifolia “Duffii”, Sword fern, Erect sword fern, Little-leaved sword fern, and Fishbone fern.

FAQs and Common Problems

Overwatering or underwatering can both lead to problems for your Lemon Button Fern. If the leaves of your plant begin to turn brown and crispy, this is a sign that it needs more water. On the other hand, if the leaves are wilting and the pot feels light, this means that the plant is being overwatered.

Why are the leaves of my Lemon Button Fern turning yellow?

The leaves of your Lemon Button Fern may be turning yellow either due to too much sun or too much water.

Is Lemon Button Fern Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

No, it is not toxic to cats and dogs.

How fast does Lemon Button Fern grow?

Lemon Button Fern grows relatively slowly. There is not any noticeable growth, but as far as you are taking good care of it, it grows well.

Where To Buy

Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.

Other Articles You Might Like

There you have it, here ends our guide to this beautiful plant. You might also like our other articles:

Peacock Fern, Kangaroo Paw Fern, Macho Fern (Nephrolepis Biserrata), Pink Syngonium, Geogenanthus Ciliatus, Rhaphidophora Hayi Care.

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Lemon Button Fern
Image Source: Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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