The Crocodile Fern, sometimes known as an alligator fern, a crocodylus fern or a crocodile plant, is a fern native to Australia with a slightly unusual texture. The fern gets its name from the scale like appearance of its leaves which also makes it an appealing houseplant for fern lovers.
Crocodile Fern Care
A Crocodile Fern can be sensitive to certain things in its environment but if you follow the tips below you shouldn’t have too many problems with this fern as they’re a relatively easy plant to take care of.
Crocodile Fern Lighting Requirements
Just like most ferns the Crocodile Fern is used to living under the canopy and therefore doesn’t receive too much natural light in its natural environment. It does grow in countries where sunlight is bright but is often protected from direct sunlight by the foliage of other plants.
Therefore you want to place it in a bright spot but make sure that your fern is not in direct line of the sun as it can scorch and damage the foliage of the plant. A Crocodile Fern will also do quite well in lower lighting conditions. You can move your plant around until you find the perfect spot.
A Crocodile Fern is a plant that likes to drink. Like most ferns, this one prefers moist soil and regular waterings.
However, make sure that you don’t over water your plant. The soil needs to be moist but you don’t want it sodden or your plant will be sitting in water and this can increase the chances of root rot. To ensure this doesn’t happen make sure you have a well draining pot with loose soil to allow the plant to drain properly.
A good rule for when to water it is to touch the top two inches of soil and when they start to dry out its time to give your plant a drink.
Also when you water your plant, do not water directly onto the Crocodile Fern but instead into the soil surrounding the plant. If you water directly onto the plant this can encourage water to sit in the centre of the plant and can promote rot.
Crocodile Fern Humidity Needs
As a Crocodile Fern is a plant that originally comes from the tropics, it will need a humid environment in order to thrive. You can achieve this by placing your plant on top of pebble trays that you fill with water, misting your plants regularly or investing in a humidifier.
Signs that your plant isn’t getting enough humidity include crispy brown tips that appear on the foliage. This can also be a sign of under watering so make sure you check your humidity levels and the soil moisture to check the cause.
The best type of soil for the best Crocodile Fern care is a loose well draining soil. This way you can ensure that your soil is moist throughout when you water it but that your roots won’t be sitting in water and running the risk of rot. Adding peat moss and perlite can loosen your soil up to allow the water to run right through it and prevent your roots from sitting in wet soil.
When fertilising your plant be careful you don’t use a fertiliser that is too strong as it can damage the plant and cause marks on the foliage that look like burns.
Dilute your fertiliser mix more than you normally would for other plants and don’t over fertilise. If you notice the symptoms of too much fertiliser than you may want to take it out and water your plant to help remove it from the soil. If you fertilise sparingly with a weak solution then you should see growth from this method.
Propagating Your Crocodile Fern
The easiest way to propagate your Crocodile Fern is to do so by root division. This is the method that will give you the most success with less chance of your propagation not working.
So to summarise in order for your Crocodile Fern to thrive it requires:
- Infrequent fertilising
- Loose well draining soil
- Indirect light
If you want to keep learning about Crocodile Ferns and other types of Ferns then why not take a look at The Plant Lover’s Guide To Ferns on Amazon.
The Plant Lover’s Guide To Ferns provides profiles and information on 134 different plants and will take you through all the necessary care tips for these amazing plants.
We would also recommend the Levoit humidifier to help provide enough moisture for your ferns. It has an incredibly large capacity so you don’t have to change the humidifier too often, it produces both cool and warm mist and it automatically detects moisture levels in the air and then adjusts its mist output accordingly.
Crocodile Fern FAQ
Now that you’ve read the Crocodile Fern care guide, take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions to learn more about this beautiful plant.
How Do You Propagate A Crocodile Fern?
You can propagate your Crocodile Fern through root division. When you propagate this way be sure to separate the roots with care as too much root damage can kill your existing plant or cause your new plant not to take.
Then place the new section in soil, water thoroughly (though make sure your plant can drain) and set your plant on its way.
Not all sections will take so you’re better off waiting until you are able to separate several sections of your plant for the best chances of a successful propagation.
How High Will A Crocodile Fern Grow?
Under the right conditions a Crocodile Fern can grow to be five feet tall but you will usually find your plant sitting anywhere from 2 feet up to the 5 feet. Your plant should grow in width at a similar rate to its height.
Are Crocodile Ferns Easy To Cultivate?
Although they can be sensitive plants, this fern is usually relatively easy to cultivate and you shouldn’t have too many issues with it.
Where Can I Find A Crocodile Fern?
Crocodile Ferns are only recently becoming a popular house plant option so you may not be able to find them in your local garden centres or nurseries. If this is the case then don’t worry, you should be able to order your fern online, just be aware of how it is shipped because if you receive it bare roots, the plant will need to be potted immediately for best chances of survival.
Why Is A Crocodile Fern Named After A Crocodile.
This plant gets its name from the very distinct markings on its leaves that resemble the scales of a crocodile, because of this you will sometimes hear it referred to as a crocodile plant or an alligator fern.