Button Fern Care: Growing The Pellaea Rotundifolia

The Button Fern – Pellaea Rotundifolia [Pe-LEE-uh Ro-tun-dih-FOH-lee-uh] is native to New Zealand with distinctive foliage that offers an excellent variety to typical ferns.

Even beginner gardeners can successfully grow Rotundifolia plants with a bit of caution during its initial settling stage.

Once this fern’s settled, it’s an easy-going plant requiring very little care compared to its delicate relatives.

button fern growing as a ground cover

The button fern makes an ideal house plant, especially for those who often neglect to water their plants.

This certainly doesn’t mean this fern doesn’t need watering.

It’s more of a fern which would wilt with overwatering than less watering.

Pellaea Button Fern Care

Size & Growth

Pellaea Rotundifolia’s a relatively tiny fern with fronds growing up to 10″ inches long.

These fronds are lined with dark, round, and larger green leaves shaped like buttons.

The branches grow quickly, but they still stay small. They have a gentle slight arch to them.

Flowering and Fragrance

This plant doesn’t flower.

Light & Temperature

This fern prefers bright indirect light, especially during the cold weather and subdued light during the summer season.

They have a high tolerance to the colder climate but dislike frost.

The ideal temperature for it is between 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C – 24° C).

However, the temperature shouldn’t be lower than 55° degrees Fahrenheit (13°C).

Watering and Feeding

Even though Pellaea Rotundifolia is a houseplant, it likes the soil dried out between the watering.

Avoid getting the soil soggy and limit misting and keep in mind it needs a different care schedule as compared to other plants.

This means getting the ideal water balance might become a little tricky initially.

Watering mostly depends on the kind of container, soil mix, drainage, season, as well as the humidity and temperature.

Just don’t over water the plant, this will give you a chance to experiment a bit to find the right water balance.

Feed this plant every two weeks during April and September with slightly diluted liquid fertilizer.

This will enhance new growth and result in healthy leaves.

Soil & Transplanting

Pellaea Rotundifolia likes a moderately moist, fertile yet well-drained soil and being placed in direct sun but also with partial shade or sun protection during the hot midday sun.

If growing this fern in a frost-prone area, protect the crown using dry winter mulch.

It requires a potting mix, peat-based with one part perlite and two parts peat.

A peat based mixture with organic material is the right choice.

Grooming and Maintenance

This fern’s evergreen and prefers to stay moist during winter, but not waterlogged.

Place it in a sunny position, but avoid full sun through a window if growing it as a houseplant.

If placed outside, make sure it’s protected in the midday sun.

If the fronds start turning yellow or begin wilting, it is an indication of the plants being overwatered.

This situation requires decreased watering and give the fronds some trimming.

How to Propagate Pellaea Rotundifolia

Pellaea Rotundifolia will propagate by sowing spores.

This can seem a bit tricky for a beginner indoor grower, but it isn’t impossible.

The majority of the ferns can easily be propagated through the process of division, but not with this fern.

Pellaea Rotundifolia also doesn’t require repotting too often because of its small roots.

Change the pot after two years for the mature species and every year for the young plant.

Typically, this fern doesn’t face any issue becoming root bound but can face a problem maintaining its stability in the pot because of its tiny roots.

If you start noticing the plant becoming unstable, move it to a bigger pot.

Rotundifolia Pest Or Disease Problems

Pellaea Rotundifolia’s usually a trouble-free plant, with no disease or pest problems.

However, it might start looking slightly unkempt after a few seasons pass.

Quickly deal with it by trimming out wilting and untidy leaves right back to the plant base.

Do this during the spring season, and soon new shoots will begin emerging.

Suggested Uses For Button Ferns

With the fern being small, it makes a useful and pleasant addition to a shady, humus-rich stumpery.

These ferns go rather well with the other ferns by bringing out the beauty in the overall setting.

They look great when used in along borders and beds, in an informal or cottage setting, in rocky areas, foliage only setting, and even as indoor hanging plants.

They’re also great as terrarium plants.