Macho Fern Care Infographic

Being one of the largest plants, Macho fern of the Nephrolepidaceae family lists itself as one of the plant species with giant foliage as it can grow to a height of 29 feet and above. If you can provide optimal growth conditions, Macho fern in the landscape can grow up to 4 feet long.

A place outside will be perfect for the Macho fern as it will have sufficient space to grow up to its maximum potential, but indoor spaces are ideal for adding gorgeous beauty to the house.

In this guide, we will be sharing important tips and tricks to make your Macho fern of the Nephrolepis genus the best it can be!

Macho Fern Care

WaterWater Requirements

Macho fern perennial asks for a balanced watering regime. Excessive watering or leaving it too dry will harm it in different ways. The plant will flourish if the soil is kept moist and not overwatered.

Watering Macho Fern PlantAmerica

The question that arises in an enthusiast’s mind is how and when to water the plant. Well, for beginners, that’s a simple one. Water the plant just enough to make the soil moist and not soggy once the upper layer of the soil gets dehydrated

To start with, water the plant in short amounts between small intervals. Usually, we water our house plants heavily once the soil dries, but it can not be the same for Macho ferns because we can not let the soil run dry or heavily water it to the extent that it becomes soggy.

You can use highly organic soil for your plant if you think you will not be able to meet its water demand and are afraid that you might water it heavily or leave it too dry. 

LightLight Requirements

The Macho fern plant does not require excessive sunlight, and sunlight for more than six hours may harm its growth. Protecting Macho fern from direct sunlight is essential as it can burn the plant’s foliage. The plant mostly prefers morning sunlight and afternoon sunlight.

When planting a Macho fern plant in your house, make sure the area you use for planting or where you place the pot is well-shaded by a wall or under a tree.

Alternatively, you can use a linear plantation if you have more plants. Not only does the plant look beautiful when planted alternatively to a linear tree plantation, but it also protects the plant from sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.

These plants can not stay out in the open as excessive direct sunlight can kill their beauty, but that does not mean the plant adapts well to darkness.

Placing your plant for too long in the dark can also be harmful to its growth, so when planting it indoors, make sure you place your plant next to the north or east-facing window where it can get sufficient indirect sunlight.

SoilSoil Requirements

The Macho fern will flourish in well-drained, sandy, or loamy soil. How can you make your own garden soil loamy or sandy? Well, for a start, remember to water your soil regularly.

Soil for Macho Fern PlantAmerica

The plant will not like being left without water for a long time, so make sure that your soil is rich in organic matter and slightly on the acidic side (pH 6-6.5) as the plant loves it

This plant does not mind the soil type much; in nature, enthusiasts have spotted the plant in different locations and atmospheric conditions, from ponds and swamps to rock crevices. Therefore, it can grow anywhere.

However, we should make sure that the soil is not water-logged. If the soil is not well-drained, the plant’s health will start to worsen as soil aeration and drainage are a must for the healthy growth of the plant.  

You have to make sure that the soil is well-drained and well-aerated, but if you think that your soil is heavy and not suitable for this plant, you can lighten your soil by adding a combination of organic compost, perlite, and coco peat

You can use the recommended house plant potting mix if you decide to grow it in a pot and not in your garden. To adjust the combination of soil to your fern’s liking, ramp up the organic content to improve fertility, soil drainage, and water retention.

TemperatureTemperature Requirements 

Macho ferns are tropical forest plants, and the temperature that suits them well is neither too cold nor too warm.

The ideal temperature for Macho fern is between 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant will not survive and will most likely die if the temperature drops below the freezing point or if it’s too warm and rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a region where the temperature usually drops below the freezing point, Macho fern cannot survive without your help. You can keep it in a protected greenhouse environment or overwinter it indoors.

The same goes for living in tropical regions where the temperature exceeds the 95 degrees Fahrenheit benchmark. You will have to take some major steps to protect the plant.

You can bring the plant indoors if it’s outside and in a pot, or place it somewhere in a windy area. 

HumidityHumidity Requirements 

The optimum humidity level is crucial for the Macho fern plant to flourish. Just like other tropical plants that love humid conditions, Macho fern also desires high humidity to grow lush green and healthy foliage. The desirable humidity for Macho fern is above 70 percent.

Macho Fern Humidity Requirements PlantAmerica

You can grow Macho ferns in your bathrooms to give them a good taste of humidity. Here’s an idea: if your bathroom receives adequate sunlight from the window, you can also fill your bathroom with Macho ferns. This way, the plant will receive its ideal humidity, and you will get its serene vibes. 

In winter, humidity levels are too low, and planting your Macho fern indoors can cause it to suffer. To adjust the humidity level, you can use a pebble tray filled with water.

Also, using a humidifier is a better option if you have other plants that require a high level of humidity as well.

Furthermore, to fix humidity, you can also cover your Macho fern, but if the water stays on the foliage for too long and not enough light is received by the plant, it will lead to fungus-related problems.

FertilizingFertilizing Requirements 

You can fertilize your Macho fern plant, but it can do equally well without fertilizers. There is already organic matter present in the soil, and if you think you need to add fertilizer, once in a while will be enough.

Remember, when fertilizing your plant, try not to over-fertilize it as over-fertilizing can harm your plant in the most severe manner. To avoid the risk of over-fertilizing, water your plant before adding fertilizer, which will also help prevent root-tip burn.

Grooming 1Pruning

Macho ferns are quick growers, and mature plants can grow up to six feet wide and four feet in height. Before you know it, they will be outgrowing their allotted space.

Pruning Macho Fern PlantAmerica

Pruning might not be a necessary step for your healthy Macho plant, but you can always pick up a pair of shears or scissors if you need space for more plants and this Macho fern of yours is taking a bit too much of your precious space.

You can prune it around the edges to give it a round shape, which will make some room for other plants and also give a neater look to your Macho. 

However, if the plant is suffering from dead fronds that can cause damage through spreading, then you must detach it. You can cut down the diseased part to prevent your plant from lacking further growth and nourishment.


Here is an effective method of propagating this plant. Macho ferns do not produce seeds, so to cultivate them, you will have to use the division method.

To do that, you can separate new roots from the original ball root. This is easier said than done, as it is a complicated process, but with a little patience and gentleness you’ll be able to pull it off.

– The Division Method

If you have planted your plant in a pot and now it is not as spacious as before because of the new stems that are coming out, you can take out the root ball and carefully separate the new roots from the side of the root ball.

Division Method of Propagation PlantAmerica

You can either dispose of them or plant them in another pot with house plant potting mix. Note that it is essential where you place your new plants.

A place with insufficient sunlight will prevent your plant from flourishing and may harm it, so make sure the environment that you choose for your plant is well protected from direct sunlight and is not in a dark corner of your house.

To help the new younger plants grow, you need to prevent the plant from drying out. You can do this by covering the repotted clumps with a transparent plastic bag as it also gives similar conditions to a greenhouse. 

Although, when using this method, there is just one drawback. The baby ferns that result may not be as healthy as the parent plant in terms of foliage.

Nevertheless, there is no need for you to be concerned. The new offspring will take time to adapt to the environment, and when they mature and expand, you would hardly spot any difference. 


If you are a busy person or have other hobbies besides gardening, caring for Macho fern will not be a problem. Macho fern does not require too much of a landscaper’s attention, but if it’s not under the right conditions, it can suffer from certain diseases and common pests, such as mealybugs.

– Leaf Tip Burn

The burning of leaf tips is a common disease in most plants. Many factors such as excessive direct sunlight, low humidity levels, or even overwatering can lead to this torment of the plant. It causes the leaf tips of the Macho fern to dry out and curl upwards

Leaf Tip Burn PlantAmerica

The only way to avoid this is to find out the real cause of the problem and take care of it. And once again, the plant will grow healthy and start to flourish under the perfect conditions.

– Nematodes

Another problem your Macho fern might face is underground pests known as Nematodes. They usually attack the plant from underground and cause damage to the plant’s roots, and if not taken care of, they will eventually weaken the health of the plant. 

Although it is never easy to remove these pests from under the ground, you have to prevent your plant from being attacked by this pest. You must remove any soil mulches and dead plant matter from the soil to stop them from harming the plant.

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