How to Grow Care Tips for a Fishtail Fern

Can you tell me what this plant is? I am growing it indoors so I do believe it is a houseplant. But is doesn’t look so good right now.

Thank you.

Hi Connie,

Your plant is called a Fishtail Fern (Microsorum Punctatum Grandiceps).  It is a relative of the Kangaroo Paw Fern. The juice extracted from the fronds (leaves) of the Fishtail Fern is used for medicinal purposes. The picture below is how a healthy Fishtail Fern should look.

Here are some care tips to help you grow a Fishtail Fern.

Light: bright, indirect light, but no direct sun

Water: Always keep the soil moist but never soggy. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot so excess water can drain out. Never allow the plant to sit in water.

Plant Food: Feed your fern every two weeks when it is actively growing with a balanced, liquid, fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. diluted to 1/3-1/4 the recommended strength.

Soil: Use a lightweight, fast draining soil that still retain moisture.

Pot: Repot in the spring only if the roots have filled the existing pot