Kangaroo Fern, Hound's Tongue Fern
The Kangaroo Fern (Microsorum pustulatum) is a uniquely shaped fern that’s fittingly native to Australia. Despite its origins, the name actually comes from its kangaroo paw shaped leaves. In its juvenile form, the fronds tend to vary in shape and size, but most pinnae grow to be rounded and broad like a fluffy Kangaroo toe. A stunning vivid green plant, the Kangaroo Fern has a characteristic glossy look and leathery texture.
With a maximum size of 50 inches, it’s more suited to a larger terrarium environment, but it’s easily trimmed if you’re prepared to maintain it in a smaller project. It’s naturally found as an epiphyte in its native environment, but you’d need a serious chunk of driftwood to attach a larger specimen.
At a Glance
Where to Buy Kangaroo Fern
See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links).
Terrarium Plant Guide
Microsorum pustulatum Care & Growth
The Kangaroo Fern is more tolerant to light than most other terrarium ferns, though it’s best to keep it out of direct sunlight. It’ll do best in bright, indirect sunlight.
For a tropical fern, Microsorum pustulatum is not all that demanding for water. It needs regular, even moisture, but will do just fine if left to dry a little between watering.
The Kangaroo Fern will grow best in a tropical substrate that retains moisture but also drains well. It’s naturally found in more arid conditions, and so will likely tolerate a more arid substrate mix with sand and/or clay.
Temperature & Humidity
Like their native Australian environment, Kangaroo Ferns like it hot and humid at all times. You’ll almost certainly need a closed terrarium to maintain these conditions.
The Kangaroo Fern grows large, broad leaves on long stalks. It has an irregular growth pattern, and can take a while to develop into its mature (kangaroo-like) form.
The Kangaroo Fern can be propagated by dividing its (very easily identifiable) green and brown hairy rhizomes. It can also be propagated by spores, and Microsorum pustulatum displays large and prominent spores on fertile fronds.
Varieties & Similar Plants
The Kangaroo Fern has a few notable varieties of the Microsorum genus and Microsorum diversifolium is the most commonly found for sale as a houseplant. The genus also produces other notable animal-themed ferns like the Crocodile Fern (Microsorum musifolium).
If the Kangaroo Fern develops dry, crispy fronds due to a lack of water or too much sunlight; it’s best to simply cut off the affected parts.