Lemon button fern plants (Nephrolepis cordifolia “Duffii” or “Lemon Buttons”) are a small variety of Boston fern. Usually growing no larger than 1 foot (30 cm.) tall, these ferns are excellent additions to arranged outdoor container plantings, as well as great for use indoors as a houseplant. Requiring a shady location with filtered light, growing lemon button ferns outdoors in the ground will require a frost-free growing zone. However, once established, ferns which receive optimal growing conditions are known to multiply.

You will probably be pleased to know that your lemon button fern can tolerate indirect light, low light, medium light, and bright light! It’s one of the most adaptable plant varieties available. Having said this, some high-profile gardeners do not agree. Why is this? Well, as we mentioned earlier, they tend to thrive in woodland areas where shade is abundant. Thus, some plant lovers believe that only indirect light is suitable for these guys.

However, we’re here to tell you that this is not true. To test it, we attempted to grow a lemon button fern in just about every lighting situation you could imagine. Can you guess what happened? Yep, they all thrived. So, any type of light is good for this leafy friend of yours.

Lemon button ferns prefer warmer temperatures. You should try to aim for somewhere between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius). However, one could argue that the humidity level is much more important to these plants than the specific temperature.

If you have a wood stove, furnace or open fire in your house, your poor little lemon button fern might suffer. Why? These things wick the moisture out of the air, decreasing the humidity as it goes. Luckily, there are two great ways to increase the humidity level around your precious plant. 

Purchase a Humidifier

The number one way to create the perfect humidity for your lemon button fern is to use a humidifier. It doesn’t need to be placed right next to the plant but, allowing it to run nearby will ensure your plant is happy.

Pebble Trays

Alternatively, you will need to use pebble or gravel trays, or even a saucer.
Set your plant in a tray filled with pebbles or gravel (or a mix of the two). Then, pour water into the tray just below the top of the pebbles. You don’t want your plant to come into contact with the water since the potting mix will draw the water up and your plant will start to rot.
As time goes by, the water in the tray will vanish thanks to evaporation. When this happens, simply refill the trays. It’s that easy!

Whether you water it frequently or let it dry out every so often, your lemon button fern will perform for you. Bear in mind that some plant owners don’t agree with this since they believe all plants need a stringent routine.

These lovely little beauties can grow in any basic houseplant soil.

However, you may well want to provide the perfect environment for them.

In all reality, any pot will do! Whether it’s a hanging basket or a fancy stationary pot, your lemon button fern will love it. Of course, you should always make sure it has room to grow otherwise it won’t love life quite so much.

As far as drainage goes, they don’t mind either way. Be careful not to over saturate the roots though (if your pot doesn’t have drainage) since the roots are more likely to rot. A good trick is to put some stones, pebbles or rocks in the bottom so the water can’t pool around the roots.

Sometimes, people like to include these ferns in animal terrariums or vivariums.