Macho Fern Info – Tips For Growing A Macho Fern

macho fern
macho fern
(Image credit: joloei)

If you want a big, burly fern with stout foliage, try growing a Macho fern. What is a Macho fern? These robust plants form a large clump of fronds and thrive in shade to partial shade. They even do well in containers and hanging baskets. The Nephrolepis biserrata Macho fern is a tropical, evergreen plant suitable for USDA zones 9 to 10 but can be grown as an indoor plant and moved out in summer. Here is further Macho fern info to get you growing the plant at its best.

What is a Macho Fern?

Ferns provide elegant greenery with a classic, airy form. The Macho fern (Nephrolepis biserrata) is one of the best examples of these plants. Best of all, Macho fern care is easy, breezy, and can grow either as a houseplant or an outdoor specimen in warmer regions.

Macho ferns can be found growing wild in Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The plant may be epiphytic but is usually found near swamps and wet sites. The big ferns can grow 4 feet (1 m.) tall with fronds that swing out up to 6 feet (2 m.) wide. The stems have fine reddish hairs and the fronds are composed of numerous, gently toothed leaflets.

Also known as the broad sword fern, this fern doesn’t form tubers like some species. In Florida, Macho fern is protected and has experienced population loss due to human intervention. Make sure you get one from a reputable dealer and do not harvest the plant from the wild.

Tips on Growing a Macho Fern

The most important piece of Macho fern info recommends filtered light. In full sun situations, the fronds will burn and the plant will lose vigor. It is perfect on a covered porch or in shade near the patio.

Indoor plants should be grown away from southern and western windows. Choose a site where the morning sun comes in for best results.

Ensure the soil is light, airy, and well-draining. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.5 is preferred.

Container grown plants need a large pot and should be repotted to one size up every one to two years. If you wish to propagate the plant, simply cut out a clump of rhizome and pot it up.

Macho Fern Care

Fertilize container bound plants in spring or use a time release fertilizer. A good 20-20-20 ratio diluted by half provides adequate nutrients. New plants should receive food every six weeks, but established plants only need feeding once per year.

Macho ferns need to be kept moist but not soggy. Water the soil when it is dry to the touch. Provide extra humidity by placing container grown plants on a pebble filled saucer with water or by misting.

Macho ferns don't need a lot of pruning. Remove dead fronds as they occur. Bring plants indoors if any frost threatens. This is an easy plant to grow that requires little maintenance to remain beautiful.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.