How to Grow and Care for your Lemon Button Fern

By: Matt Slaymaker
January 31, 2022
How to Grow and Care for your Lemon Button Fern
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What is a Lemon Button Fern?

Delicate, elegant, and frilly, Lemon Button Ferns are an amazing way to add a green touch to a space. Growing only about a foot high, these ferns are a great filler for a small space and look great accenting a collection of plants! The smaller, very finely textured leaves contrast beautifully with larger leafed tropical plants. Like other ferns, this plant requires a bit of understanding to take care of, but once you learn the ropes, you can easily help this plant thrive! 


Lemon Button Ferns got their name from the lemony scent that the leaves release when they are brushed against or crushed. This plant is native to pantropical regions of Asia, Australia, the West Indies, Florida, Central America, and South America - loving warmer, humid climates.

Toxicity Level

Your Lemon Button Fern is non-toxic for pets, cats, and dogs! As with any plant, however, eating too much of it may lead to stomach upset. Since ferns have enticing, feathery fronds, many cats love to bat and bite at them. Keep them out of reach from curious critters to prevent damage to your plant, Lemon Button Ferns and cats can mean shredded fronds if you aren't careful!


Care Level

Ferns are always a little fussy, but once you figure out what they need and get on a schedule, Lemon Button Fern care is easier than the average fern though! Make sure that this plant gets enough light (but not enough to burn the delicate leaves), stays consistently moist but not soggy, and sits in a room with some humidity. Keep reading for tips on how to accomplish all of these things, and you will be able to keep your Lemon Button Fern happy without too much hassle!

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Great for People:

  • Who love a variety of textures in their plant collection
  • Who nurture their plants like children
  • Who have pets
  • Who have a plant collection and want variety
  • Who don’t mind spritzing their plants occasionally


Great for Spaces Like:

  • Partial shade patios
  • Spaces with medium, indirect light
  • Higher humidity rooms, like bathrooms
  • Next to a grouping of plants
  • A shelf top 

Lemon Button Fern

How to Care for a Lemon Button Fern

Light preference

Lemon Button Ferns do best with medium to bright indirect sunlight when living indoors. Outside, your fern will do best in full shade, but remember they don’t handle the cold well! A warm shaded patio is a great place for the plants, but bring them in before it gets too chilly. If you notice brown spots on the leaves of your plants, they may be getting burnt from too much sun. 


Like many other ferns, the Lemon Button Fern likes to stay a bit wet. When you notice the top of the soil getting too dry, water thoroughly until water runs freely through the hole in the bottom of the pot. Let it drain before putting it back on their saucer or tray. If you notice water pooling in the saucer, make sure to empty it to prevent rotting and over-hydration. Ferns also like a bit of humidity. To accomplish this, spritz them occasionally, put them next to a small humidifier, or put them on a pebble tray filled with water.


Ideal Temps

Your Lemon Button Fern will do best in 60°F to 70°F temperatures. They really dislike cold drafts, so keeping them away from chillier areas is vital to keeping them happy and healthy! Doors to the outside, cold windows, and AC vents are all common places where air drafts can harm your plants that are more sensitive to temperature.

Plant Food/Fertilizer

Feed your Lemon Button Fern monthly with a half-strength, balanced liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. Make sure you avoid feeding them when they are stressed, such as overwatered, underwatered, or infested with bugs or a disease. Slow down fertilizing in the winter so that the plant can rest. Try to make sure the fertilizer doesn’t sit on any of the plant’s leaves apply directly to the soil.

Repotting Frequency

When you get your new Lemon Button Fern, avoid repotting them as they get used to the new space for 6-12 months. You can always repot them sooner if you start seeing the roots poke through the pot’s drainage hole or surfacing above the soil. Your Lemon Button Fern should be repotted about every two years in the spring, using a 2 inch bigger pot so that the roots can spread. Place some screen at the bottom of the pot to secure the soil and allow it to drain. For best results, use a potting mix that has been amended with 25% compost to help with fertility. Follow our guide when repotting for extra help!



Lemon Button Ferns can be propagated through division. Try to do this in the spring, hydrating the plant the night before. Take the plant out of the container, and divide the clump by cutting through where needed with a sterilized knife. Repot your new decisions in a peat-based soil amended with a rooting hormone. For these divisions to be successful, make sure they have several leaves with plenty of roots still attached. Make sure to put them in a container 2 inches bigger than the root ball and set them in medium to bright, indirect light. Place a clear plastic bag over them, and spritz the inside with water to mimic a greenhouse effect. Keep this up for about 6-8 weeks.


To clean dust and debris from your fern, place them in a bath or shower, and use a watering can to gently shower them with filtered water or rainwater. Doing this will mimic how rain cleans them in their natural habitat. During this time, trim off browning, yellowing, or discolored leaves. To do this, use sterilized scissors or a knife to cut the stem back to the base.

Lemon Button Fern Care


Common Issues of the Lemon Button Fern

Over or underwatering your Lemon Button Fern is the most common cause of issues. If you are underwatering your plant or there isn’t enough humidity, the fronds may become brown and crispy. If your leaves are turning yellow or wilting, you may be overwatering your plant (or it may be getting too much sun!) Pay attention to your plant and what it is saying to you, and try to adapt to find precisely what they need!


Pests are a common issue with plants. To try to prevent an infestation, make sure to carefully look at your plants when you water them, including the surface of the soil and underneath the leaves. Some of the most common menaces you may spot are spider mitesscale, or mealybugs. If you suspect you may have a pest problem, isolate that plant as soon as possible to prevent spreading.

Complimentary Plants with your Lemon Button Fern:

A beautiful, colorful plant that is accented well by the Lemon Button Fern, the Red Anthurium or Flamingo Flowers are a great pairing! They have the same preferences as your Lemon Button for humidity, light, and water, meaning that your schedules can easily sync up to keep both of these plants happy! Additionally, the dark, shiny, tropical look of this plant is complemented perfectly by the Lemon Button Fern! 


The Split Leaf Philodendron (Monstera) is another excellent tropical pick that has similar requirements to the Lemon Button Fern. It thrives in high humidity and medium levels of light, and its huge leaves will perfectly complement your delicate Lemon Button Fern! 


For more information on caring for your new indoor plant, check out our comprehensive care guide here.