Macho Fern (Nephrolepis biserrata)

Macho Fern Plant Features

Macho fern comes by its name honestly. This big, brawny fern sports bright green fronds with bold, broad leaves and makes its relatives, Boston fern and Kimberly Queen fern, look little by comparison. Macho fern is ideal for large urns or planters where it has room to flex its graceful 3- to 4-foot-long fronds. It's ideal for decorating shaded or partly shaded front porches, patios, and other outdoor living areas. In the fall, you can bring your macho fern indoors and place it a bright spot out of direct sun to grow as a houseplant.

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Macho Fern Growing Instructions

Grow macho fern in a shaded or partially shaded (morning sun and afternoon shade) spot outdoors to keep it looking its best. While it's not a delicate plant, Macho fern looks its best when protected from strong, drying winds. Water enough to keep the potting mix moist, but not wet -- typically when the top inch or so of the mix dries. This may mean watering it every day during the hottest part of the summer.

Fertilize your macho fern every six months or so (at minimum) with a general-purpose fertilizer. If you want your macho fern to grow larger and faster, you can fertilize more frequently. Or you can add a little a timed-release fertilizer when you buy the plant to fertilize it all season long. Prune your macho fern to remove old, faded fronds. 

Indoors, you can grow macho fern in low, medium, or bright light. If you grow your macho fern in a particularly sunny spot indoors, it's best to protect it from the direct sun with a sheer curtain to diffuse the light. Water macho fern houseplants enough to keep the potting mix moist, but never wet or soggy. You can fertilize, if you wish, in spring and summer with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Follow the directions on the packaging to know how much fertilizer to use. Prune only to remove old fronds that turn brown. When grown indoors as a low-fuss houseplant, macho fern will help clean the air of harmful VOCs, toluene and xylene.

Get more tips for shopping for and growing macho ferns.

Macho fern is not intended for human or animal consumption.
  • Water


  • Light

    Indoors: Medium light

    Outside: Shade

  • Colors


  • Special Features

    Colorful foliage

    Purifies the air