With leaves resembling the skin of a crocodile, these ferns can grow up to 1.5m tall in the tropics in the dappled shade of the trees or sometimes on their trunks.
Bright light best described by South, South East or South West facing window. Avoid direct sunlight.
Keep moist but not soggy from March - September. Reduce water during winter month, allow the soil to almost dry out.
Humidity and temperature
Mist once every two weeks with a fine mister using lukewarm water. Do not allow the temperature to drop below 18°C (65°F).
Feeding and repotting
Feed with a diluted liquid fertiliser once a month during spring. Crocodile ferns are slow growing and have a fairly shallow root system, so repotting will not be required frequently. Repot and propagate the plant by division in April.
Quick guide to common problems and how to deal with them.
If the leaves are yellowing and falling off slowly over time, this is not a reason to be alarmed. It is a natural cycle of the plant renewal; old leaves dying back to make room for new growth.
Leaves are turning pale green suddenly.
The fern is too hot. Move it out of direct sunlight and check the foliage for scorch marks. Check the soil isn't too dry and if it is, give it a good drink.
Scales or shell-like bumps on plant stems and the underside of leaves are visible. Sticky, sooty deposits on stems and leaves.
This is caused by the scale insect. If you catch the infestation early you can simply remove it with your fingernail and wash the stems with diluted washing up liquid in lukewarm water. Use 1tbsp washing up liquid to 4L of water.
Stunted growth, yellowing soft and limp leaves with a soggy centre.
A sign of over-watering. Some plants may present this with water-soaked spots or blisters known as oedema.
Take the plant out of its pot and place on a saucer to allow for air circulation and a chance for the plant to dry out. Take this opportunity to investigate any damage to the roots. Healthy roots are turgid and white. If the stems near the soil are soggy and are showing the signs of rot; the damage has gone quite far.
Crispy, brown leaf tips.
A sign of low humidity. Mist the plant with a fine mister using lukewarm warm water.