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Crocodile Fern Plant: How to Care for Microsorum Indoors

Add some exotic ambiance and fresh oxygen to your home

Crocodile Ferns (Microsorum musifolium) are an incredible addition to any home or office. These plants are also known as alligator fern or Crocodyllus fern. They provide a lush green and fresh feeling while also adding life to your indoor space. 

The crocodile plant is one of the easiest plants there is. You can grow it in even the most neglected corner of your home without much effort or upkeep on your part. It’s difficult not to feel better about yourself when surrounded by these beautiful plants!

This blog post is here to help you ensure that your crocodile fern plants are happy and healthy for many years!

We will go over crocodile plant requirements such as light, soil, water, temperature, fertilizer, and how to propagate crocodiles by the root division.

We will also talk about potting and diseases to keep your crocodile plant flourishing!

If you’ve been thinking about adding a crocodile fern to your collection, don’t delay! Now is a perfect time.

Let’s get started with care tips!

Crocodile Fern Care

Crocodile Fern care is relatively simple, as long as you know what to do. However, it’s not difficult at all to care for this houseplant indoors. A few key points will help you keep your Crocodile Fern happy and healthy while it lives in your home.

Crocodile-Fern-Care
Photo by Cyrilcybernated

Soil – Grow a better fern with organic soil

Crocodylus ferns are well adapted to moist soil. They thrive in soils that have a neutral pH, with high water retention and good drainage properties. In other words, this plant does not do well when the soil is too wet or dry because it can become root-bound which will lead to poor growth and eventual death of the plant.

You can use peat moss to help keep the soil well-drained. If your potting mix isn’t well-draining enough for the Crocodile Fern, you can add perlite to the soil to allow it to drain better.

Light – No direct sunlight, no problem!

Crocodile Ferns are a type of plant that can be found in tropical and subtropical regions. They grow best in warm, humid environments with indirect sunlight.

Crocodile plants need about 16 hours of light per day, filtered through transparent curtains or an open window. Direct sun shouldn’t hit the Crocodiles for more than 20 minutes at a time because they can become bleached by the heat and lose their green coloration.  Also, this can cause a deficiency of chlorophyll and ultimately kill your plant over time.

Temperature for growing a healthy crocodile fern

They need high humidity levels to grow well, and they won’t survive if the environment is too hot or dry for a long time.

It is also important to note that these plants do not like being placed near sources of air conditioners such as radiators or heating vents, so you should make sure it’s safe before placing your plant.

Leaves can brown from a lack of humidity due to the air not having enough water in it. This causes plant cells not to get enough moisture, and therefore die and turn brown.

The best way to increase the humidity around your Crocodile Fern is to use a plant humidifier and mist the leaves with water from time to time. This will also help ward off any pests, such as spider mites.

Watering crocodile ferns: how, when and why?

Watering the Crocodile Fern is one of the most critical aspects of plant care. The amount you need to water your plant will depend on its location in your house, how much light it receives, and even what type of soil you have chosen for it.

For example, if you have used perlite as part of your potting mix, this plant needs to be watered less frequently than once.

The first step is to make sure that the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom. This prevents excess moisture from accumulating around your fern, leading to root rot and eventually killing it if not taken care of right away! If there isn’t a drainage hole, put some rocks or marbles in the bottom of the pot to help with this issue.

Tip: A moisture meter can be an excellent tool for understanding the water requirements and can tell you when it’s time to water your plant.

Feed with a liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks

Crocodile Ferns are not fussy about fertilizer and will grow in a wide variety of conditions. However, it is essential to provide them with the vital nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Crocodile Fern plants require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Therefore, an excellent water-soluble fertilizer that contains all three of these elements should be applied at a rate of 1/2 cup per gallon of water every 2-4 weeks during active growth periods. Specialty fertilizers containing iron can also be used monthly if needed.

If you notice the leaf tips and margins browning, it may be due to a lack of iron. Unfortunately, iron can also lead to the green coloration on Crocodile Fern as well. A monthly dose will help alleviate this problem.

It is crucial to fertilize your plant, but too much fertilizer can hurt it. It can cause burn marks on foliage.

Crocodile-Fern-Toxic
Photo by SmartPlantHome

Propagating Crocodile Ferns

Crocodile ferns are a popular houseplant, but they can be difficult to propagate. The best way is by root division, which means separating the rhizome into sections and planting them in rich potting soil or perlite with their roots exposed.

The following is a guide on how to propagate your crocodile fern plant:

  1. Pick up the rhizome with your fingers or a fork, trying not to break the roots. You can also break off pieces that have separated from the main plant.
  2. Place in potting soil mix containing perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss or coconut husk chips at about equal proportions, depending on which you prefer.
  3. Water thoroughly, so it’s moist but not wet.
  4. Put into indirect sunlight until new growth appears.
  5. Fertilize every two weeks using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength.

Potting and Repotting

Crocodile Ferns are slow growers and can take up to six years to reach maturity. This means they should be repotted less often than other houseplants.

Follow these steps to repot your Crocodile Fern:

  • Choose a pot that is no more than two sizes larger
  • Fill the new pot with soil up to an inch from the rim of your Crocodile Fern’s original container
  • Gently remove your plant from its old container. Be careful not to damage or break any roots as you do so. Remove excess dirt, if needed.
  • Place the plant in the center of your new pot, making sure it is not buried too deeply and that there are no air pockets around its roots. Next, fill soil up to an inch from the rim of your Crocodile Fern’s original container. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer if you like.
  • Water thoroughly, and place your Crocodile Fern in a sunny location.

Crocodile Diseases & Pests

As with all indoor plants, they’re susceptible to pest infestations and disease outbreaks. Below are some of the most common problems and how to solve them.

1) Scale insects: Scale insects suck sap from the plant’s leaves, which can make the leaves curl up or turn brown. To stop this problem, spray the affected areas with neem oil every two weeks until you see no more scale insects on your plants. If you have serious infestation issues, use horticultural oil in addition for control during the spring and summer months only when temperatures exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time for treatment is at night because these insects are nocturnal and will be less active during the day.

2) Mealybug: Mealybugs are minor, white bugs that secrete a waxy substance called honeydew. The sticky excretion can lead to sooty mold, unattractive, and blocking sunlight from reaching the plant’s leaves. To control mealybug infestations, wash them off with water or use an insecticidal soap spray if they’re not too numerous.

FAQs About Crocodile Fern

What is Crocodile Fern?

Crocodile Fern is a slow-growing, evergreen fern that is native to tropical regions. They can usually be found in the wild, growing on trees, rocks, and crevices in high-altitude rainforests. This fern has dark green veins along with its leaves with a yellow underside.
Crocodile Fern is common as houseplants, growing best indoors under indirect sunlight with cool to warm temperatures.

Are crocodile ferns easy to care for?

Crocodile Ferns are easy to care for, requiring moderate light and average watering requirements. They can be grown in various soil types but prefer rich, high-quality potting soils with good drainage.
No pests commonly attack crocodile fern indoors; however, they cannot tolerate cold drafts or dry air, leading to brown leaf tips.

Are crocodile ferns toxic?

Crocodile Ferns are not toxic to humans and animals. However, it is recommended for pets and children to avoid chewing on the leaves.

How often should you water a crocodile fern?

Crocodile Fern should be watered when the top layer of soil becomes dry. It is recommended to water enough so that moist beads form on the surface of the potting mix but not soaking wet.

Are crocodile ferns fast-growing?

Crocodile ferns are not fast-growing plants. Instead, they have slow growth rates and take a long time to mature in the home.

How big do crocodile ferns grow?

Crocodile ferns can grow up to 5 feet tall in their natural habitat. Indoors, they are more likely to reach 2-4 inches tall.

Do crocodile ferns need sunlight?

Crocodile ferns need a moderate amount of indirect light indoors. They thrive best in low-light areas with cool temperatures but cannot tolerate direct sunlight or cold drafts.

Theresa Lien
A professional writer who has specialized in houseplants and indoor gardening. She's had experience with outdoor landscaping too, having written about plants that grow well on balconies and patios as one of her previous articles for Wohomen.

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