Scientific name: Microsorum diversifolium
Synonyms: Kangaroo Paw Fern
The Kangaroo Fern is a delightful looking specimen with deep green lobed foliage and a rhizomatic growth habit that will eventually climb out from its pot, making for a fantastic hanging basket specimen with an easy-care nature, and low watering requirements.
Endemic to Australia, these very special plants love bright filtered light and can withstand bouts of dryness with very few adverse effects. Due to this, they make for fabulous beginner plants and ideal for the less attentive plant parent.
- Sparse looking plant with small leaves: This is a sign that your houseplant is not receiving enough light. As much as Kangaroo ferns can tolerate small amounts of low light, if the light is low for prolonged periods you are more likely to have a plant that looks sparse and stretched out, instead of lush and full. Kangaroo Ferns prefers medium to bright filtered light to thrive.
- Crisp foliage or brown crisp patches: This can be caused by underwatering. Kangaroo ferns do not mind bouts of drying out, but prolonged dryness can cause crisp foliage. It is advised to keep your Kangaroo Fern slightly moist to allow it to thrive. If you find that your soil is moist but the plant is developing crisp leaf edges, it may mean that your air is slightly too dry, and your plant will benefit from occasional spritzing or being placed on a pebble tray.
- Pale foliage or drooping leaves: This is also a definitive sign of underwatering, especially if the leaves are pale and drooping, however, if underwatering has been ruled out, we suggest looking at the lighting situation. Pale leaves and even brown patches can be a sign that your plant is receiving direct sunlight, which causes your plant to look muted and dull. Kangaroo Ferns should be a deep glossy green. If the light is the issue, we suggest relocating your plant to a less direct light position.
- Yellowing leaves: There are a few factors that can cause yellowing foliage on your houseplant, often overwatering is cited as being the main culprit. However, if you find that leaves turn yellow infrequently, this is not a cause for concern as this is the natural lifecycle of most plants, though if yellowing happens on mass consider your watering regime. Kangaroo Ferns prefer moist soil but if the soil stays overly saturated this can cause root rot, resulting in yellowing foliage. If you discover your watering regime is fine, it may be that your plants may be under fertilised, feed with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer regularly, and you should see an improvement.
- Mushy black roots: This is another clear sign of overwatering and that rot has set in. At this point, we suggest repotting your plant and removing any rot that has set in with a sterile cutting implement. Once repotted mist the soil to slightly wet and adjust watering accordingly. It is best to check watering on average once a week in warmer months and once every two weeks in cooler months, avoid soggy saturated soil.
- Pests: Kangaroo Ferns can be susceptible to mealybug and fungus gnats if care is not taken to keep your plant in its optimal conditions, allowing stress to occur. This will lead to pest infestations causing excessive yellowing fronds and leaf drop. Mealybug, scale and spider mites are common indoor plant pests and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.
- Origin: Australia
- Height: Averaging 30cm in height and 1.2m in spread
- Light: Thrives in medium to bright filtered light.
- Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, can withstand occasional bouts of dryness but avoid prolonged periods of drying out.
- Humidity: Average room humidity is fine.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
- Soil: A well-draining, slightly moisture retentive organic potting mix is sufficient.
- Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once a month during Spring through Summer.
- Repotting: It is best to repot once the plant has become overcrowded in its container, this should usually be done in Spring. Choose a container that is up to 5cm larger than the plant’s previous planter. Remove any dead or damaged leaves and roots with a sterile cutting implement. Dust off the old soil and repot with a new fresh organic potting mix.
- Propagation: This can be achieved via division. When repotting separate your plant into a few healthy clumps by cutting through the rhizomatous roots with a sterile knife, ensuring each clump has several healthy fronds and rhizomes. Pot into your preferred organic potting medium and place in a bright, warm, filtered light position and once new growth has developed, your plant is established.
If in stock, shop for a Kangaroo Fern here