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Fishtail Fern

​​​​​​​​​Fishtail Fern

Microsorum punctatum

  • ​Common name: Fishtail fern
  • Scientific name: Microsorum punctatum
  • Family name: Polypodiaceae
  • Origin: South Asia and the Pacific
  • Height: 2 ft
  • Width: 2 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: USDA Zones 10 through 11
  • Light needs: Part shade
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers a loamy, fertile, well-drained soil. Soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.0. It can also grow epiphytically on trees or other surfaces.
  • Moisture: Soil should be kept consistently moist to keep this plant in its best condition. It grows best in a humid environment.
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: Mealybugs and scale insects.
  • Growing conditions: This plant should optimally be grown in a warm, humid environment with moist soil. This species is especially drought tolerant for ferns and can handle periods of drought and be grown in drier areas, although this may negatively affect its growth and health. It is also a facultative epiphyte, meaning that it can be grown on trees and other surfaces without soil, but it also grows well in the ground. It is also suitable as a houseplant because of its affinity for humidity and low maintenance requirements.
  • Characteristics: Leaves grow directly from the base of the plant. These leaves are long, glossy, and often slightly wavy along the edges. Near the ends, the leaves often branch out into smaller, divided segments, creating a fishtail-like appearance. The sori are brown and very small and appear evenly spaced on the backs of leaves.
  • Propagation: By spores or division.
  • Facts: The genus name “Microsorum” is derived from Greek and means “small sorus,” referring to the small size of the sori, or spore-containing structures, on plants of this genus.
  • Designer considerations: It makes a fantastic houseplant for humid rooms, where it is very low maintenance. Its eye-catching and complex foliage makes it a good specimen planting, or it can be planted as a group as a border or along a walkway. 


Ancient Garden