Macho fern is also popular as Nephrolepis biserrate. It is the most widely grown outdoor garden decorative houseplant. Its airy foliage gives it a unique look that lightens the growing space. The bright color of the macho fern pleases every eyeball.

In this post, I will tell you everything about macho fern care, repotting, and propagation. It is very easy to grow and maintain this plant. But there are some tips that you need to keep in mind for a unique and healthy-looking Nephrolepis biserrate.

You will be glad to know that this fern plant can be easily grown in hanging baskets, self-watering planters, and large-size plant containers. This means you are free to grow it as you want.

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About the plant

Nephrolepis biserrate (macho fern) is native to Florida, USA. In its natural growing environment, it grows up to 6 feet tall.

But when you grow it indoors or in your garden in a container. This plant remains short near about 3 to 4 feet tall.

It needs consistently moist soil, and warm and shady conditions to thrive. If you cannot water your plant many times per week then this plant is not for you. You should go for succulents that need less water and less attention.

Below are the macho fern care and maintenance tips and tricks. Read carefully and grow this amazing plant indoors or in your outdoor garden.

Light needs

As I said earlier use large planters to grow it in your outdoor garden. Also, place the planter away from direct sunlight. Because your macho fern cannot tolerate harsh sun rays.

It is best to move the plant pot to the shade of the outdoor patio. You can also place it near the wall so that it can get protected from afternoon sun rays.

Morning light and evening light are not a problem for this plant. Only protect it from high intense sharp afternoon sun rays.

Indoors, find a place that is medium bright, and direct sunlight cannot reach there. Do not worry about the low light. Because it enjoys minimum light conditions.

Potting soil

Nephrolepis biserrate needs constantly moist soil. The potting soil you choose must contain some organic materials along with some non-organics.

Organic material holds the water well for a long time without making the soil soggy. Whereas non-organic materials make the soil fluffy and improve the airflow.

I prefer using homemade potting mixes for my plants. For macho fern care, I use a mix of regular potting soil +coco coir + peat moss, and perlite. These 4 ingredients are sufficient to make ideal soil for ferns like a macho.

If you do not have all the ingredients then you can use the soil made for tropical plants.

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Watering is the tricky part in growing and propagating macho fern. As I said earlier this plant needs constantly moist soil all the time. This means you need to water it many times a week.

In hot summer you have to water it daily even if you plant it inside your house.

But keep in mind that excessive use of water results in fungal growth in the root zone. Therefore, the best watering technique is to check the soil conditions first and then water your plants.

If the top layer of the soil is dry, it’s time to water your plant. Otherwise, let it absorb the water from the topsoil layer.

Use fresh chemical-free soft water that does not contain heavy minerals for watering it.


If your plant is in a growing phase, it needs more fertilizers. Use all-purpose liquid fertilizer to full fill its nutritional needs.

You should fertilize it once every 5 weeks in the summer and spring seasons.

On the other hand, mature Nephrolepis biserrate do not need fertilizer. But for the good health of the plant. Fertilize your mature plant once in 6 months.

Stop any kind of supplementation in winter. This will only harm the plant.

Temperature & Humidity

The ideal temperature for this plant is 50 to 80 degrees F. In USDA zones 9a to 10 b you can grow it for 365 days in your outdoor garden. Because the temperature and humidity in these regions are perfect for the plant.

In other zones move the plant indoors in the winter season because it is not frost-tolerant.

Indoors, find a room that is warm and humid. The general home humidity is sufficient for this plant. You don’t need to do anything if your home’s humidity level is above 40%.

But you should keep eye on the room temperature. For this purpose, you can install the temperature monitoring device and set an alarm. When the temperature of the room drops below the set value. The device triggers the alarm to inform you about the change.


Be prepared to repot your Nephrolepis biserrate once a year. Actually, the repotting is directly depending on the growth rate of the plant. If your plant grows slow then it needs repotting once in 2 years.

As long as the size of the pot is concerned. I found that repotting in one size-up pot is the best practice. I use terracotta pots for plants like a macho fern. The material of these pots is porous and allows the fresh air to circulate easily.

Also, it helps to avoid accidental overwatering. The only downside of terracotta is you need to water it more frequently on hot summer days.

Propagating Macho Fern

Rhizomes division is the quick Nephrolepis biserrate propagation method. Take the plant out of its pot. Remove the soil and separate the rhizomes and roots. You may need to use a sharp knife depending on the condition of the rhizomes.

Then plant each division in different plant pots. Place the pots in different locations in your garden and follow the regular care routine.

Spring is the best time to propagate macho fern. Because in the summer season your propagated plants achieve good health and growth.

Do not choose winters for propagation. Because winter propagated plant does not grow and die in a few days.

Common Pests Attacks

The good news is your fern plant is a pest-resistant plant. But the outdoor growing fern plants sometimes get infected by pests.

Therefore, keep eye on your outdoor growing plants. Mealybugs and scales are the two pests that can attack your plant.

If you found them on your plant, immediately take the cotton cloth and pour rubbing alcohol, and wipe the leaves. If it is hard for you then use insecticidal soap and rinse your plant.

I use neem oil spray on my all outdoor plant to protect them from pest infestations.


Macho fern is the best plant for the natural decoration of gardens or indoor spaces. Just take care of watering and temperature. Your plant will never face problems.

Outdoor growing Giant Sword fern needs more care than the indoor growing fern.

Good luck with this plant and make your garden and indoor spaces more beautiful and attractive with it. Use our contact page to ask more questions about this plant.


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