Kangaroo Paw Fern

A Kangaroo Paw fern (Microsorum diversifolium), native to Australia and some parts of New Zealand, is a type of epiphytic evergreen with firm, leathery, shiny green, oddly- shaped fronds that vary in size. This is a short fern that grows to be about a foot tall, but its fronds can spread outwards 2-3 feet or more. A Kangaroo Paw fern does not need much fertilizer and likes to be warm. This is a unique looking, easy care fern that is very attractive in a hanging basket or set on a table in a pretty pot.

Plant Care


Medium to bright indirect light. Keep in the shade outside.


Water a kangaroo paw fern when the top 50% of the soil has dried out. When watering, give the plant enough water so that it drains out the bottom drip holes. I don’t recommend misting this or any other houseplant because keeping the leaves wet encourages bacterial and fungus infections.


Fertilize once a month in the spring and summer with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. You can also use an organic fish emulsion. Kangaroo paw ferns should never be fertilized in the fall and winter. Ferns do not require much plant food so when in doubt, don’t feed.


These ferns like warm temperatures 70°-75°F (21.1°-23.9°C) in the spring, summer, and fall, but prefer cooler temperatures 60°-65°F (15.6°-18.3°C) and brighter light in the winter.


High humidity is best, but a kangaroo paw fern still does well in lower household humidity.


Scale, aphids, mealy bugs. Ferns are very sensitive to insecticides, so try to use warm, soapy water or the Green Solution (recipe in Glossary).


Not many diseases affect kangaroo paw ferns. In very humid conditions, bacterial or fungal infections may occur.


Use a porous coarse soil that drains well.

Pot Size

Repot in the spring if the roots have filled the existing pot.


Remove dead fronds as soon as they appear; cut the dead fronds off at the soil line. Clean the leaves with a damp cloth.


Kangaroo paw ferns can be propagated using many techniques: spores, rhizome division, layering, and plantlets. Fern propagation should be done in the spring before the plant starts to actively produce new growth.

Poisonous Plant Info

These are non-poisonous houseplants.


What Are the Things That People Call “Feet” on Rabbit’s Foot and Kangaroo Paw Ferns?

The “feet” on Rabbit’s Foot and Kangaroo Ferns are really rhizomes that grow across the top of the soil surface and sometimes even grow over part of the pot.

My Kangaroo Paw Fern Has Brown Bumps on the Underside of the Leaves. Is This a Pest or Something Else?

If the bumps are raised with a hard exterior and you can scrape them off, it is scalescale is a plant insect that you can read about in the Glossary of the website. If the bumps are flat and part of the leaf they are spores which are used for propagation.

My Ferns Are Looking Pale and Sad. What Should I Do to Help Them Look Better?

The tired, pale appearance of indoor ferns can usually be improved by putting them outside in a shady protected location once the weather gets warm. Water with rain water if possible and let them enjoy the fresh air.