Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’

A hardy little fern that grows well indoors Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’ is commonly called the Lemon Button Fern or simply Duffii Fern. It is a dwarf variety of the species Nephrolepis cordifolia.

Nephrolepis cordifolia 'Duffii' - Lemon Button Fern
Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’ – Lemon Button Fern

The foliage is a mid green with a slight arching habit and in filtered or indirect light it is an easy care plant.

This is plant that comes from the tropical regions of Australia and nearby areas in Asia. It does like moisture and humidity, however it is a tough little fern and can cope with less than ideal conditions. And yes it makes a great ‘easy care’ indoor plant’.

How to Grow the Lemon Button Fern

One of the easier forms to grow indoors, give Nephrolepis cordifolia the right amount of light and moisture and you should have no problems.


This is fern that naturally grows in humus rich moist soils, good drainage is important, however if you water appropriately any good potting soil for indoor plants should be suitable.


As this is a plant that grows naturally in part or dappled shade this is what it needs indoors. Keep it away from direct sun, yet give it good indirect light.


The frequency of watering will depend on soil and growing conditions. Indoors start with watering twice a week, monitoring the soil to make sure it never really dries out however if=s never wet and soggy.

Make sure the pot is not sitting in water as this can cause fungal problems in the root system.

Watering Related Problems

  • Brown dried fronds indicate lack of water or very low humidity.
  • Drooping or wilting leaves can indicate over watering.


This is debatable, indoors, if kept away from heating and air conditioning ducts it should not require regular misting. In some homes, where the air is particularly dry some extra humidity through misting will be beneficial. Mist first thing in the morning and then early afternoon if required.


This is plant from tropical climates so temperatures shouldn’t fall below 55f (13c) for long periods.Ideally 65c 18f – 75c 24f


The fertilizer in most potting soils will last this little fern for 12 months. After this either use a slow release fertiliser once a year, or a liquid fertilizer designed for indoor plant every 3 – 4 months.

Pruning Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’

You will only need to prune away old dead foliage or damaged foliage as it appears.


Usually by division in early spring. This is a fern that sends out runners from the base, these can be trimmed off and planted. 

Related Ferns

Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Summary Information
  • Botanical Name Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Duffii’
  • Common Names : Lemon Button Fern, Button Sword Fern, Duffii Fern, Erect Sword Fern, Little-leaved Sword Fern, and Fishbone
  • Family : Nephrolepidaceae
  • Position : Filtered light
  • Soil : Humus rich moist and free draining
  • Height : To around 12 inches
  • Growth Rate : Slow
  • Spread : To around 12 inches
  • Foliage
  • Flowers : N/A
  • Toxicity : Regarded as non-toxic to cats and dogs.