The crocodile fern, also known as Microsorium musifolium ‘Crocydyllus,’ is a distinctive indoor plant with puckered and wrinkled leaves; it has a pattern on the leaves that resembles crocodile skin.
The lighter green segments of these leaves have dark green veins. Even though the crocodile fern has a strange texture that has been compared to the coat of a crocodile.
It can generally be found in Southeast Asia and select areas of Australia. The countries of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, are home to many of these plants, where they thrive in dappled shade.
Caring for a Crocodile Plant
Table of Contents
Perfect Climate for a Crocodile Plant
The Microsorum Musifolium is a tropical fern that is perfect for fern lovers because it is both beautiful and simple to cultivate. When grown outside, crocodile ferns are most frequently discovered in tropical rainforests.
However, according to the USDA plant hardiness zones, they can be grown anywhere between zones 10 and 11 and occasionally in zone 9 with the proper amount of care.
Crocodile ferns will develop a shallow root system and robust roots in an environment that provides adequate nutrition for the mother plant.
These plants require indirect sunlight and healthy roots if a nourished climate exists in an area. It is wise to avoid using too much fertilizer.
Crocodile Fern Care Tips
Crocodile plants do not require as much upkeep as some houseplants do, but they want your attention here and there.
These fern plants will not thrive in wet soil that does not have enough drainage, even though they require a constant water supply.
The single most important thing you can do to ensure that the plant continues to grow healthily is to water it on a regular schedule. Planting African violets in a soil mix rich in nutrients and good drainage is essential.
Growth of the Plant
At full size, crocodile fern grows between 2 and 5 feet in height and around the same width (61 cm to 1.5 m). It may appear that the huge green leaves just appeared out of nowhere.
Keeping the Crocodile Fern Plant Healthy
Maintain the plant’s vitality by watering it once the soil starts to show signs of drying out when you grow crocodile fern.
However, by keeping this tropical fern in a plant stand, you’ll only have to worry about watering it when it looks or feels dry.
Make sure you’re always using a pot with a drain! After filling the pot until water drips out of the opening, turn it upside down and let it drain for a while.
Crocodile ferns thrive in high humidity and bright light, making them ideal for the kitchen or bathroom. You can boost the humidity by setting the pot on a tray or plate covered in damp paper towels.
Growing the Plant
As a result of their susceptibility to a broader range of environmental factors, crocodile ferns demand a somewhat more level of care than other types of houseplants.
Despite this, if you put in the effort, these plants will thrive with very little additional work needed from you.
Crocodile Fern Care Guide
The crocodile fern, like most ferns, enjoys the presence of water in tropical rain forests surrounded with peat moss, and it does so most happily at room temperature.
Microsorum Musifolium can die from too much or too little water. Waterlogged soil is ideal for root rot to develop, as it provides a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fungus.
There should be some moisture in the soil, but it shouldn’t be drenched. Ensure your crocodile fern is put in a container with well-drained soil to avoid this problem.
By feeling the top 2 inches of soil with room temperature water, you can get a sense of whether your crocodile fern needs watering. Make sure it is not too watery; you don’t want soggy soil.
Crocodyllus Fern will start to dry up and require watering once the top inch or two of soil has dried. Fertilizer is helpful, but moderation is key. Provide what is necessary to keep the soil moist.
Unlike most other ferns, the crocodile fern does not do well in direct sunshine. In its natural environment, the crocodile fern also called the Crocodyllus Fern, need cool, shady spots among trees. In its native environment, its foliage is shaded by other plants, so relocating it to a sunny spot is not a good idea.
A bright window is ideal for crocodile plants since it mimics the light levels in their natural habitat, but direct sunlight should be avoided.
Its leaves are susceptible to wilting in the hot sun. Since crocodile ferns thrive in low-light conditions, trying out lighting setups is one approach to determine what works best for your plant.
The high humidity levels required by crocodile ferns result from their native habitat. There are various options for creating the ideal humid conditions this plant requires.
When misting, use water at or near room temperature. Misting your fern with cold water could cause stains and discoloration on the leaves.
Keep the soil moist by placing the potted alligator fern on a water-filled pebble tray.
A humidifier is something you should invest in. Using a cool-mist humidifier, the relative humidity in the room can be increased to 30–50%.
If your crocodile fern shows signs of underwatering, such as browning at the tips, you may need to increase the humidity in your home.
If the ends of your crocodile fern turn brown like this, you may want to check the soil’s moisture level and the humidity around the plant.
The best result in producing soil for crocodile ferns is one that drains quickly enough to prevent the plant’s roots from deteriorating in the liquid after it has been rinsed.
Adding perlite to pine bark to the potting mix will produce soil with excellent drainage.
If you can’t find a pre-mixed soil mix, you can create your very own well-draining potting mix by mixing in perlite and peat moss with the soil you currently have.
By aerating the soil and making it easier for water to drain away, you may protect your fern from having its roots suffocate in nutrient-rich soil.
Crocodile fern grows under a gentle fertilizer to prevent leaf burn. The rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and fertilize the plant less than usual if you are unsure about the fertilizer’s strength.
Crocodile ferns can produce their best growth if given the proper nutrients.
Propagation of crocodile ferns is possible but not essential. To successfully propagate your crocodile fern, you must use methods that are safe for the plant and won’t harm it in any manner.
Most crocodile ferns can be easily propagated by dividing their roots. The standard you establish with the first plant you produce using this method will be used for all subsequent crops.
There will always be some crocodile fern roots that fail to grow, so it’s best to wait until you can multiply some of them to increase your chances of success.
Common Pests Problems
There aren’t many harmful insects or diseases that can affect a crocodile fern. If you provide the plant with an excellent environment to thrive in, it won’t cause you much trouble.
Brown Leaf Tips
If you want to prevent the crispy brown tips of your crocodile fern, this is the most telling sign that it requires more humidity.
To keep the fern healthy, keep it away from direct heat or cold sources and from dry areas. For optimal plant health, maintain a relative humidity of 70 percent to slow the leaves wilting and the roots rotting. Placing it near a sunny window can help it perform better.
Root rot and other fungus problems caused by overwatering are severe threats to the crocodile fern. If the plant’s foliage turns yellow, mushy, and brown, it’s time to pull it out of its container and examine its roots.
Reproducing a plant’s natural environment requires removing any diseased or dead parts and repotting it in a soil mix that drains well and promotes air circulation.
Additional Tips for Crocodile Fern Care
The ideal crocodile fern is an exotic and rare complement to your home’s tropical décor. With its modest care needs, it’s an excellent option for amateur gardeners who want to try their hand at cultivating plants with crispy leaves.
With the right amount of care and tropical-friendly soil, the crocodile fern, a houseplant native to the tropics, may grow two feet tall and wide.
This plant is shade-loving. Therefore, it’s best to keep it in a dimly lit spot. Try suspending a basket of foliage from the roof of your patio to create visual interest.
Those excited about new plants are likely to embrace the idea. Browning the tips at the very end will ensure they maintain their crispiness.
To flourish, it needs an environment with high humidity and little drainage. Both the aboveground rhizome and the resulting divisions can be used to spread this fern.
Crocodile fern is resistant to most diseases and pests. The only things that can seriously harm it are scale, low humidity, and over-watering.
Our Final Thoughts
A healthy plant, full of moisture and freshness, is the result of careful tending. A beautiful crocodile fern could quickly become your favorite plant if you have a sunny window.
Care for your crocodile fern properly by providing enough water, planting it in well-draining soil, shielding it from bright sunlight, and maintaining an ideal humidity level.
Crocodile ferns require special care, but they will flourish if you give them what they need. Reduced airflow is a factor in the inability of many plants to retain moisture, but it is not the only one.