The Kimberley Queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata) was originally found growing as an outdoor plant in Australia. Today it is a very popular indoor and outdoor plant throughout the world. There is something very elegant about a fern and now, with the cultivation of the Kimberley Queen fern , or Australian Sword Fern as it is commonly called, we can all have one growing in our homes or, in warm climates, outside. Unlike the Boston fern, Dallas fern, or Fluffy Ruffle fern, the Kimberley Queen fern is more compact, tidier, and is easier to care for.
Kimberly Queen Fern Description
Although a close relative of the Boston fern, both are members of the Nephrolepis family (Sword family), the Kimberly Queen fern has erect, narrow, and sword shaped fronds while the Boston fern has long, arching fronds. The Boston fern is a bit messy, often shedding small leaflets, while the Kimberly Queen fern rarely sheds leaves. Like all ferns, a Kimberley Queen fern does prefer and grows more quickly in high humidity but still does well in basic household humidity.
In warm, temperate climates, where the temperature stays above 60°F (15.5°C), the extremely adaptable Kimberley Queen fern can be grown outdoors in the shade or partial shade. When given enough space, these ferns can sometimes grow as large as 3ft high and 3ft wide. In cooler climates these plants need to be brought indoors for the winter.
As a houseplant, the Kimberley Queen fern grows much faster and needs less care than a Boston fern. The green, sword shaped fronds can be an attractive mixture of those growing straight upward and those gracefully arching over.
Quick Care Tips
Bright indirect light from a north or east-facing window
Brown dots on back of fronds are not pests or signs of disease. They are spores and can be used for propagation
Repot on spring when roots have filled the existing pot
High humidity is a plus
Keep soil barely moist and never allow it to totally dry out
Best temperature is 60°F-70F° (15.5°C-21.1°C)
A Kimberly Queen Fern likes medium to bright indirect light but too much bright light fades the leaves. If you’re careful not to over water or over fertilize, a Kimberly Queen fern almost takes care of itself. This durable plant grows well and looks beautiful hanging in a basket in front of a north facing window. Other added benefits of a Kimberly Queen fern are that it is an excellent “clean air plant” eliminating harmful chemicals from the air. It is a not a poisonous plant and is safe to have around children, dogs, cats, and other pets.
Amount of light a Kimberly Queen fern needs: This fern prefers bright, indirect light and grows well hanging in front of a window with a north or east exposure. If the light is too bright, the leaves of a Kimberly Queen fern may lose their vibrant green color.
How to water a Kimberly Queen fern: Allow the top 25%-35% of the soil to dry-out before watering your fern. The fronds may turn a pale green when the fern needs water. Crispy brown fronds, especially in the center of a Kimberly Queen fern, is a sign that the plant is being over-watered. Avoid using “hard” water, water that has a lot of salt in it or has passed through a water softener, or water high in fluorine or chlorine.
Feed a Kimberly Queen fern monthly with a balanced, liquid plant food when the plant is actively growing. Dilute the plant food to 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended strength; diluting the fertilizer helps prevent leaf tip burn.
The best temperature for a Kimberly Queen fern is 60°F-70F° (15.5°C-21.1°C). Keep all indoor plants away from fireplaces, heaters, and air conditioners.
All ferns, including a Kimberly Queen fern, prefer high humidity. If the leaf tips on your Kimberly Queen fern start to turn brown because of low humidity, try setting the plant on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the fern is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water. You can also place a small humidifier in the room near your Kimberly Queen fern.
Aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites are the main plant pests that may injure a Kimberly Queen fern. Commercial pesticides will damage the fronds so always use a mild, soapy water spray to prevent and treat pests.
A Kimberly Queen fern is fairly disease resistant.
A good soil for a Kimberly Queen fern is an indoor potting soil mixed with some peat moss to help it drain quickly.
When to repot a Kimberly Queen fern: Repot the fern to the next size pot, and nothing larger, when the roots of the plant have filled the container that it is in. Ferns grow best when a little root-bound; don’t be in a rush to move a fern to a larger pot. Do not fertilize a Kimberly Queen fern for several weeks after re-potting.
Prune a Kimberly Queen fern by removing dead leaves or entire brown fronds as soon as they appear.
The best way to propagate a Kimberly Queen fern is by plant division. Carefully pull the root ball of the plant in half or in quarters. Do not use a a knife or scissors to separate to root ball. Plant the new, smaller sections of the Kimberly Queen fern in small pots only an inch or two larger than the new root ball.
Clean Air Plant
A Kimberly Queen Fern is a clean air plant that removes formaldehyde from the air.
Poisonous Plant Info
Kimberly Queen ferns are non poisonous plants and are not toxic to cats, dogs, or small children.
The fronds of a Kimberly Queen Fern need plenty of space to spread out. If they touch a window or table they will turn brown and stop growing. Excessive fertilizer and low humidity can also burn the tips.
A Kimberly Queen is one of the few ferns that can live in the direct sun. However, it will be happier and easier to care for if placed in medium indirect light.
Although a Kimberly queen fern does not have the long draping fronds of a Boston fern, it is quite superior in every other way. It is easy to grow and hard to kill unless you over- water. The large to almost upright fronds rarely drop leaves.
A Kimberly Queen does very well outside whether in a pot or planted in your garden if the temperature is fairly moderate. It will stop growing if the temperature drops below 55°F (12.8°C) and totally die if the temperature drops below freezing.