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Grow the Fresh and Classic Lemon Button Fern

Ferns always add a feeling of calm to both outdoor and indoor spaces. The Lemon Button Fern is no exception with its unique, rounded leaves in cool green. Also known as the Little-Leaved Sword Fern, this is a dwarf variety of the popular Boston Fern. Along with the plant’s aesthetic benefits, the plant is also on NASA’s list of plants that help clean indoor air pollutants.

Grow the Fresh and Classic Lemon Button Fern
The Spruce

Lemon Button Fern Appearance

The Button Fern grows to a size of approximately 12 inches tall and wide. The fern features multiple fronds with small, round leaves growing out from the center stalks. The Lemon Button Fern gets its name from the faint, lemony fragrance it emits in the spring and summer. As with all ferns, it does not bloom but provides evergreen beauty year round.

Button Fern Sunlight Requirements

Provide bright, indirect sunlight whenever possible. Low lighting is also acceptable, as ferns do best with some shade when outdoors. High heat and direct sunlight will scorch the fronds and turn them brown, so avoid hours of full sun even when grown indoors.

Lemon Button Fern Care: Watering

Ferns prefer moisture so never let your Button fern’s soil dry out. Water at least once per week to maintain consistently moist soil. Increase the frequency for warmer, drier environments. Proper Lemon Button care suggests watering until the moisture runs through the pot’s drainage holes but do not let the soil become waterlogged. Dispose of collected water in the pot’s saucer to avoid having it reabsorbed, often leading to root rot.

Soil and Fertilizer Requirements

For optimal growth, provide a fast-draining, loamy soil. The Button fern will adapt to most well-draining soils, as long as they allow water to percolate through to the roots quickly. Drainage holes in your fern’s pot are essential to let excess water escape. Ferns, in general, are light feeders. Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength to feed your plant once every two to three weeks from spring to fall. 

Temperature and Humidity Levels

The Lemon Button fern thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity. Average household temperatures are often fine but low humidity must be supplemented. Avoid browning of the leaves due to a dry environment by using a humidifier in the room or using a pebble tray under the plant’s pot. Placing the fern in a bathroom or kitchen, where humidity is naturally higher, also works well.

Pruning Your Button Fern

Pruning Your Button Fern
White Flower Farm

Remove any dead fronds to keep the plant healthy. Fronds die off more often in the fall and winter. Use a pair of sharp and sterile shears to cut off the dying fronds at the base.


Division of the fern’s rhizomes is the quickest method of propagating the Button fern. Remove the fern from its pot by rocking the plant back and forth while gently pulling until the plant releases. Inspect the rhizomes and look for natural separations. Pull apart the roots, ensuring not to damage them. Repot each new plant in its own pot filled with the recommended soil. Water well to set the plant and settle the roots.

Common Pests and Diseases

Ferns are not susceptible to most pests. The most common issues with ferns are root rot and wilting or browning of the fronds. Incorrect watering is often the cause of these issues. Rot indicates overwatering and poorly draining soil. Browning or wilting is low water, low humidity, or overexposure to direct sunlight. 

The Lemon Button fern is a delicate and adorable houseplant. It works well with almost any type of decor and helps improve the indoor air you breathe by filtering pollutants. Add a touch of perennial greenery to your indoor space with this versatile plant.

Lemon Button Fern FAQ

What Climate Does the Lemon Button Fern Prefer for Outdoor Growth?

These plants do best in USDA zones 8a to 10b.

Is the Button Fern Toxic Considered Toxic to Pets?

No, the Button Fern is not toxic to your pets.

Should I Mist My Lemon Button Fern?

Regular misting of your fern will help increase the humidity around the plant but is not a substitution for a proper watering schedule.

What Pollutants Does the Button Fern Help Filter From the Air?

Gerbera Daisies help filter formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. 

Where is the Lemon Button Fern native to?

This plant is native to Asia.