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Pellaea rotundifolia

Botanical Name — Pellaea rotundifolia

Common Name — Button fern

Plant Family — Pteridaceae


Pellaea rotundifolia are low-lying plants native to forests in New Zealand. Stems densely covered with small, button-like leaves give this plant its nickname. They are slightly hardier than other ferns, tolerating slightly drier conditions than Brittle Maidenhair ferns, for example. These plants will do well in moderate to high humidity and like to dry out a little before being watered.

Growth Requirements


  • Place your Button fern in a spot that receives bright, filtered light to full shade. These low-lying, forest-dwelling plants can tolerate a range of indirect light conditions but avoid full sun. 
  • A north or west-facing window or a brightly lit room is a great location. 

Temperature/ Humidity 

  • These plants do well in moderate humidity and warm conditions, between 60-80 ºF. In winter, when the air is particularly dry mist leaves or place near a humidifier to keep leaves lush and healthy. 
  • In seasonal climates, place the plant indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 60 ºF.


  • Allow soil to dry out slightly, but not entirely. Water gently every two to three days to keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy.


  • Keep this fern in a nutrient-rich potting mix that is well-draining and aerated, while still being moisture retentive. Coco coir and compost, up to 25% each, are excellent amendments.


  • Since these plants are ferns they do not flower, but rather reproduce by spores. 


  • Button ferns can benefit from light fertilization. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer diluted at half strength, once a month during the warmer months when the plant is actively growing. 


  • Button ferns are easily propagated by division. Using sharp shears or a garden spade, separate the plant into a few smaller clumps, making sure each piece has several roots attached.



  • While a healthy fern is not especially susceptible to pests, the high levels of humidity and moisture that these plants require to thrive can be inviting to bugs. Check your plant often to any infestations. 
  • Mealybugs, mites, and nematodes are some of the most common pests experienced by these plants. 

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • Not much maintenance is required to keep these plants happy. Even healthy ferns will shed their lower leaves as new growth occurs. Prune these away to keep the plant thriving and help keep pests and diseases at bay. 


  • Like many ferns, these plants are non-toxic to humans and pets.

Photo Credit

Stickpen - Wiki Commons

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