Can Java Fern Grow Out Of Water

Can Java Fern Grow Out of Water?

As an avid aquarium enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by aquatic plants and their ability to thrive in different environments. One plant that has caught my attention is the Java Fern. This unique plant, scientifically known as Microsorum pteropus, is popular among aquarists for its hardy nature and beautiful appearance. But can it actually grow out of water? Let’s dive into the details and find out!

Java Fern is native to Southeast Asia and is often found growing along riverbanks and on rocks submerged in water. In its natural habitat, this plant is known as an amphibious species, meaning it can adapt to both underwater and emersed conditions. This adaptability is what makes it an interesting choice for both aquariums and terrariums.

When it comes to growing Java Fern out of water, it is indeed possible, but it requires some special care. Unlike its fully aquatic form, the emersed version of Java Fern needs higher humidity levels and access to air. To achieve this, you can either partially submerge the plant’s roots in water or plant it in a well-draining substrate and provide regular misting to maintain humidity.

One of the key factors in successfully growing Java Fern out of water is lighting. While the plant can survive in low to moderate lighting conditions, it thrives under bright, indirect light. Placing it near a window or using artificial lighting with a spectrum suitable for plant growth will ensure optimal development.

Another important aspect to consider is the temperature. Java Fern can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but it prefers temperatures between 70-82°F (21-28°C) in its emersed form. Maintaining a stable temperature within this range will promote healthy growth and prevent stress to the plant.

When it comes to fertilization, Java Fern is a low-maintenance plant. It can derive nutrients from the water column in an aquarium or from the substrate in a terrarium. However, supplementing with a liquid fertilizer or root tabs containing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can support its growth and overall health.

Now, you might be wondering why anyone would want to grow Java Fern out of water instead of keeping it submerged in an aquarium. Well, there are several reasons! For one, emersed Java Fern develops broader, thicker leaves compared to its submerged form, making it a visually striking addition to any plant collection. Additionally, growing Java Fern out of water allows for easy propagation by dividing the rhizomes and planting them individually.

In conclusion, while Java Fern is primarily an aquatic plant, it can indeed grow out of water with the right conditions and care. Creating a suitable environment with adequate humidity, bright lighting, and a stable temperature will help this versatile plant thrive in an emersed setting. Whether you choose to keep it in an aquarium or showcase its unique beauty in a terrarium, Java Fern is a fascinating plant that is sure to captivate any plant lover or aquarium enthusiast.


Java Fern, a popular aquatic plant among aquarium enthusiasts, can also grow out of water in a well-maintained emersed environment. By providing the necessary conditions of higher humidity levels, bright lighting, and suitable temperatures, this plant can thrive and display its unique beauty. Whether you decide to keep it submerged in an aquarium or showcase it in a terrarium, Java Fern is a versatile and visually striking addition to any plant collection.