Phymatosorus Species, Kangaroo Paw Fern

Phymatosorus pustulatus subsp. pustulatus

Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Phymatosorus (fy-ma-toh-SOR-us) (Info)
Species: pustulatus subsp. pustulatus
Synonym:Microsorium diversifolium
Synonym:Phymatosorus diversifolius


Tropicals and Tender Perennials



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Hayward, California

Oakland, California

Stockton, California

Denver, Colorado

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

North Palm Beach, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Summerfield, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Calhoun, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cincinnati, Ohio

Conway, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

La Vernia, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 8, 2016, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

My first try with this fern was in grew very slowly,then died in the first winter.
My second try was with a small porch plant in a pot...and its thrived.

Today,I moved it from the porch to a pot of Orchid sphag a bit off the ground in the backyard where I hope it will do well and climb over large driftwood. Update,next year.


On Oct 11, 2013, Frostsychic from Runaway Bay,
Jamaica wrote:

I bought one of these in a wire basket a few years ago because I just loved the look of the leaves... especially all the little 'seeds' that are on the leaf (like most ferns), really making it look like a paw! For the longest time I did not know the real name of the Kangaroo Paw Fern.

I find it incredibly easy to maintain & easy to propagate a new plant. Simply break off a piece of the hairy looking stem that the leaves grow out of & plant in a rich dirt... careful to keep it in full shade & moist until it 'catches'.

The hairy looking arms that it grows are so interesting! I originally set my wire basket on a 2ft. tall stump in the yard because the basket was in poor shape. Those hairy arms have now grown onto the stump & are reaching down to the groun... read more


On May 25, 2011, Hoyamatta from Ann Arbor, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've had this plant for around 6 months or so now and I love it. I wouldn't have bought it had it been placed on a low, flat surface, but it was hanging and when I looked up, it had all these creepy-crawly things hanging around the basket. It looked too cool not to buy! I figured it would die in a few months, but nooooooo!! It's performed beautifully. I hung it in a low-light area; it get's some indirect west window sun, but not all that much. Now the creeply-crawly things have little green shoots sprouting. It truely is a unique plant.


On Jan 5, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A great plant that tolerates near-total neglect and gives a super-tropical look with its glossy, exotic leaves and crazy roots. I got mine as a baby in '05 at a Winn-Dixie grocery store on a whim; it is now somewhat huge, almost too big to be hung from the ceiling, unfortunately. It is kept inside in the winter, and I switch it between inside and outside throughout the warm months (March - Nov.). To rejuvenate the whole plant, just cut off all or most of the leaves.


On Jul 26, 2010, killdawabbit from Christiana, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

This outrageously beautiful fern has grown so well for me. It just keeps going and going and going. I planted mine in a semi-epiphytic potting mix. I had it before I got online and had read nothing about its culture.


On Jul 13, 2009, rachwag wrote:

This plant will live happily indoors with humans. I have three and they live and grow best in front of a rather large, East-facing window. They enjoy being nestled around other plants to maintain humidity levels but do not enjoy misting as much as other ferns. Keep soil moist to prevent pests. Mine live in plastic pots with drain holes (or cache pots if you want it to hang). I fertilize my Kangaroo Paws year around with liquid organic fertilizer once a month, using approx. half the recommended amount for plant feeding.


On Jul 6, 2008, houstonlisa from Houston, TX wrote:

I first noticed this fern about 6 months ago at a garden store in The Woodlands. Purchased a nice 8" and very healthy one for about $20 Put it inside next to a regular table lamp and it thrived like crazy so bought another at a garden center and it also did great indoors next to a lamp that is on maybe 2-3 hours a day. The only other light it gets is diffused light about 15 feet from the living room windows. Found 2 huge hanging ones at a Home Improvement store on sale for only $10, so scarfed those up as well. Never fertilized (maybe should but it's doing so well without it!), just water really well about every 10 days. If outside, I'm sure it would need more water. I don't find this a messy plant at all, in fact, rarely get any dead leaves from this plant. This is by far one of ... read more


On Sep 5, 2007, greenthumb61 from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have one in a large wrought iron basket that seems to be thriving quite well. It's a very thirsty plant, and although the coco fiber liner of the basket lets it dry out quicker, I think it likes the increased air it receives to the roots. I was in Hawaii back in Feb and saw this plant growing like a weed on the rainy sides of the islands. So it seems to me, that if you give it the "Hawaiian" treatment, it should do just fine.


On Mar 30, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

So far I have planted two of these ferns without success. The last one was a seemingly healthy, good sized plant which I purchased from a local nursery and planted in early December 2006. Soon after planting the fronds blackened and it gradually withered away. No sign of them this spring.


On Jan 2, 2007, kcdenver from Denver, CO wrote:

I got it in a 4" pot, with few leaves, but sturdy. 8 years later, it has been incredibly tolerant, has completely inhabited a 10" wide, deep pot. In Colorado, it loves a patio with patchy shade, and is tough as nails during severe rain and temps. It drops leaves after being relocated, but always recovers, given big drinks and decent light--not good in full sun, but does recover from abuse, and does well in an apartment over winter.

It's a mildly messy plant, but fills a basket or plant stand quite handsomely--and smells great when washed/wet! leaves are large, deep green, and tendrils are thick, somewhat hairy looking.