How to Propagate Button Fern?

button ferns Cuttings propagation

Are you looking to add a touch of tropical elegance to your living space? Perhaps you’re a lover of lush, verdant plants that radiate life and calmness in equal measure?

If the answer to either of these questions is a resounding yes, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll be diving into the fascinating world of Button Fern propagation and how to infuse your home with this graceful plant.

This guide offers a detailed step-by-step process on how to propagate the Button Fern, a plant known for its unique, round leaves and easy adaptability to indoor conditions. Also, here is a detailed article on how to care for Button Fern

In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to multiply your Button Fern, bringing more vibrancy to your indoor garden.

Button Fern Propagation Basics

In this section, we’ll provide a summary of the key information related to Button Fern propagation. It’s important to note that Button Fern propagation can be done through a few different methods, each with its own time frame, difficulty level, and required materials.

Propagation MethodTime for PropagationWorking TimeTotal TimeDifficulty LevelMaterials Required
DivisionSpring/Summer30 minutesWeeksEasyMature Button Fern, sterile knife or shears, fresh potting soil, pots
Spore PropagationWhen Spores are Mature1 hourMonthsMediumMature Button Fern, paper, shallow container, seed-starting mix or peat moss, clear plastic cover
Water PropagationSpring/Summer30 minutesWeeks to MonthsMediumHealthy Button Fern stem, jar of water
Soil PropagationSpring/Summer30 minutesWeeks to MonthsEasy to MediumHealthy Button Fern stem, fresh potting soil, pot
Rhizome PropagationSpring/Summer1 hourWeeksMediumMature Button Fern, sharp, sterile knife, fresh potting soil, pots

Each of these methods has its own set of benefits and challenges, and the choice of method will depend largely on your specific circumstances and comfort level.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to choose the best method for you.

Propagation Methods

The Button Fern, scientifically known as Pellaea rotundifolia, can be propagated using a few different methods. Each method has its own unique process, set of required materials, and advantages or disadvantages. Let’s explore these methods in detail.


_button ferns Division propagation

Division is one of the simplest methods of propagating the Button Fern. It involves dividing the mature plant into smaller sections, each with its own roots and foliage.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Prepare the Materials: To start, gather all necessary materials. You will need a sharp, sterile knife or shears, fresh potting soil, a couple of pots, and a mature Button Fern plant ready for division. (screenshot)
  2. Remove the Parent Plant: Carefully remove the parent plant from its pot. Loosen the soil around the roots, taking care not to damage them.
  3. Divide the Plant: Identify the natural divisions in the plant’s root system. Using the sterile knife or shears, divide the plant into smaller sections, making sure each section has its own roots and leaves.
  4. Repot the Divisions: Plant each division into a new pot filled with fresh potting soil. Water it thoroughly and place it in a warm, well-lit area.
  5. Care for the Divisions: Provide consistent care, which includes watering when the top inch of soil is dry and providing bright, indirect light.

Spore Propagation

_button ferns spore propagation

Spore propagation is a unique method used by ferns. It involves collecting and growing the tiny spores that ferns produce instead of seeds.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Collect the Spores: When your Button Fern matures, it will produce clusters of spores on the undersides of the leaves. You’ll need to collect these spores – simply cut off a leaf that has ripe spores (they should be dark in color) and place it spore-side down on a piece of paper. (screenshot)
  2. Prepare the Soil: Fill a shallow container with sterilized seed-starting mix or peat moss. Make sure it’s moist but not waterlogged.
  3. Sow the Spores: Tap the paper to release the spores and sprinkle them onto the prepared soil. Don’t cover them – they need light to germinate.
  4. Create Humidity: Cover the container with clear plastic to create a humid environment, necessary for spore germination.
  5. Wait and Care: Keep the container in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and maintain high humidity. Be patient – germination can take several weeks, and it will be several months before they’re big enough to pot up.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Button Fern Propagation

Propagation is a rewarding process, but it’s not always a smooth journey. It’s not uncommon to encounter a few roadblocks along the way. Don’t worry, though! Even seasoned plant enthusiasts face challenges when propagating plants. Let’s discuss some common issues you might encounter while propagating your Button Fern and how you can solve them.

1. Slow or Non-Germination

If you’ve chosen the spore propagation method, you might find that your spores are taking a long time to germinate, or they might not germinate at all. This could be due to a few factors.

Solution: Ensure that you’re providing the right conditions for germination. This includes maintaining a high level of humidity, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged, and placing the container in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. Patience is key here, as germination can take several weeks.

2. Root Rot

This is a common issue faced by many plant growers, and it’s often a result of overwatering. If your Button Fern divisions are wilting or turning yellow, you might be dealing with root rot.

Solution: The key to preventing root rot is to ensure proper watering practices. Water your Button Fern only when the top inch of the soil is dry and make sure the pot has good drainage to prevent water from sitting at the bottom.

3. Pests

Pests such as aphids and spider mites can sometimes pose a problem for Button Ferns. These pests can cause discoloration, stunted growth, and general plant stress.

Solution: Regularly inspect your Button Fern for any signs of pests. If you find any, treat the plant with a mild insecticidal soap or a homemade solution of dish soap and water.

button ferns propagation 1

4. Slow Growth

If your Button Fern isn’t showing much growth after propagation, it might not be receiving the right care.

Solution: Make sure your plant is getting bright, indirect light and is kept in a warm environment. Fertilize it during the growing season and always ensure proper watering.

Tips to Propagate Your Button Fern the Right Way

Propagating a Button Fern can be a fun and rewarding journey, bringing more of these lively plants into your home. And while we’ve discussed a few problems you might encounter, armed with the right information, you’re already one step ahead. Let’s delve into some helpful tips to ensure your propagation efforts bear lush, green results.

Basic Level Tips

Let’s begin with some simple, yet effective, tips that can dramatically improve your success rate.

  • Understand Your Plant: This might seem obvious, but understanding your Button Fern is the first step to successful propagation. This includes knowing its growth patterns, water and light requirements, and when it’s ready for propagation.
  • Choose the Right Time: Timing is key. The best time to propagate your Button Fern is during its active growth period, which is typically in the spring and summer.
  • Use the Right Materials: Always use fresh, sterile potting soil and clean pots and tools. This helps prevent the spread of diseases that could harm your new plants.
  • Care After Propagation: After propagation, ensure your new plants receive the right care. This includes watering when the top inch of soil is dry, providing bright, indirect light, and keeping them in a warm environment.

Advanced Level Tips

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some advanced tips. These tips involve specific propagation methods and how to maximize success for each one.

Water Propagation

Water propagation is not the most common method for Button Ferns, but it can be successful with careful attention. This method involves placing the stem cuttings in a jar of water until they develop roots.

  1. Prepare Your Cutting: Cut a healthy stem from the parent Button Fern, making sure it has at least one leaf node. This is where the new roots will form.
  2. Place in Water: Put the stem cutting in a jar of water, ensuring the leaf node is submerged. Place the jar in a warm, bright spot, out of direct sunlight.
  3. Wait for Roots: Change the water regularly to prevent stagnation. It may take a few weeks for roots to appear.
  4. Transplant to Soil: Once the roots are a few inches long, you can transplant the cutting into a pot with fresh soil.

Soil Propagation

Soil propagation is a great option for Button Ferns. It involves planting the stem cuttings directly into soil.

  1. Prepare Your Cutting: As with water propagation, cut a healthy stem with at least one leaf node.
  2. Prepare Your Pot: Fill a pot with fresh, moist potting soil.
  3. Plant Your Cutting: Plant the stem cutting in the soil, ensuring the leaf node is covered. Water it thoroughly.
  4. Care for Your Cutting: Keep the soil moist (but not waterlogged) and place the pot in a warm, bright spot.

Propagation by Division

As discussed before, division is an effective method for propagating Button Ferns. It involves dividing a mature plant into smaller sections.

  1. Prepare for Division: Make sure your Button Fern is mature enough to handle division. This is usually when it has filled its pot with roots and appears crowded.
  2. Divide the Plant: Following the steps we discussed earlier, divide the plant into smaller sections, ensuring each has its own roots and leaves.
  3. Care for the Divisions: Plant each division in its own pot with fresh soil, and provide consistent care.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to propagate a Button Fern?

The best time to propagate a Button Fern is during its active growth period, typically in the spring or summer months. This is when the plant is most vigorous and likely to recover quickly from the propagation process.

How long does it take for a Button Fern cutting to root?

The time it takes for a Button Fern cutting to root can vary depending on the propagation method used. In general, division and soil propagation may show results in a few weeks, while water propagation and spore propagation may take several weeks to a few months.

Can I propagate a Button Fern in water?

While not the most common method, Button Ferns can be propagated in water. Cut a healthy stem with at least one leaf node and place it in a jar of water. Ensure the leaf node is submerged. Change the water regularly, and once roots appear, you can transplant the cutting into soil.

Why are the leaves on my propagated Button Fern turning yellow?

Yellow leaves can be a sign of overwatering or poor drainage, both of which can lead to root rot. Other possible causes include too much direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves, or a nutrient deficiency. Ensure your Button Fern is receiving the right care for its needs.

How do I know if my Button Fern is ready for division?

A Button Fern is typically ready for division when it has filled its pot with roots and appears crowded. You should see multiple natural divisions in the plant’s root system, each of which can be separated into a new plant.

Why are my Button Fern spores not germinating?

Spore germination can be a slow process, often taking several weeks. Ensure you’re providing the right conditions, including a high level of humidity, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged, and placing the container in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. Patience is key here.

About Christopher Evans

Hello, I'm Chris, the green-thumbed Founder of I'm passionate about bringing the beauty of nature indoors through houseplants and indoor gardening. Let's create healthier and more beautiful living spaces, one plant at a time!

View all posts by Christopher Evans →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *