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How Deep Does Fishbone Plant Need to Be Planted?

Updated: November 7, 2022

Fishbone plant, also known as Nephrolepis cordifolia or sword fern, is a popular houseplant known for its lush green foliage and air-purifying qualities. If you’re a beginner gardener, you might be wondering how deep the fishbone plant needs to be planted. In this article, we’ll explore the ideal planting depth for fishbone plants and some tips on how to care for them.

Ideal Planting Depth for Fishbone Plant

When it comes to planting fishbone plant, the general rule of thumb is to plant it at the same depth it was growing in its original container. Most fishbone plants are sold in 4-inch or 6-inch pots, so you’ll want to match the depth when transferring it to a larger pot.

Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent water from pooling around the roots. Fill the pot with well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter, such as peat moss or compost.

Gently remove the fishbone plant from its original container and loosen any tangled or compacted roots. Place it in the new pot and fill with soil until the crown of the plant (where the roots meet the stems) is level with the soil surface. Water thoroughly to help settle the soil and remove any air pockets.

Tips for Caring for Fishbone Plant

Now that you know how deep to plant your fishbone plant, it’s time to learn how to care for it properly. Here are some tips:

Light Requirements

Fishbone plants prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as this can scorch their delicate leaves.

Watering Needs

Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and yellow. Water your fishbone plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.


Fishbone plants thrive in humid environments, so consider placing a tray of water near the plant or using a humidifier. Alternatively, you can mist the leaves regularly to increase humidity.


Feed your fishbone plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce fertilization in the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.


Remove any yellow or brown leaves as they appear to keep the plant looking neat and tidy. You can also trim back any overgrown fronds to promote new growth.


Can fishbone plant be grown outdoors?

Yes, fishbone plant can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 9-11. They prefer partial shade and well-draining soil.

How often should I repot my fishbone plant?

Fishbone plants generally need to be repotted every 1-2 years, or when they outgrow their current container.

Why are the leaves on my fishbone plant turning yellow?

Yellow leaves on a fishbone plant can be caused by overwatering, underwatering, or lack of humidity. Make sure you’re watering the plant properly and providing enough humidity.

Can I propagate my fishbone plant?

Yes, fishbone plants can be propagated by dividing the root ball or by planting spores found on the underside of mature fronds.

In conclusion, planting your fishbone plant at the right depth is crucial for its growth and health. Remember to keep it watered, fertilized, and provide enough humidity to keep it thriving. With proper care, your fishbone plant will add a touch of lush greenery to your home for years to come.