Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bear's Paw Fern
Phlebodium aureum 'Mandaianum'

Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Phlebodium (flee-BOH-dee-um) (Info)
Species: aureum (AW-re-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Mandaianum

Synonym:Polypodium aureum

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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5 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive j_moore On Oct 13, 2014, j_moore from Centreville, MD wrote:

I've happily been able to raise this from spores. Grew them on potting soil pressed on top of a brick semisubmerged in rainwater. Fronds (longest is 8" x 1.25") are growing in bright light; they're still on the brick but starting to make "paws." Am wondering the best medium to "plant" them on. The mother plant has fronds 3' x 12" and is in a pot of soil w/ lots of paws. Suggestions, please. Thanks.

Neutral earthwisegypsy On Jun 4, 2013, earthwisegypsy from Lawrence, KS wrote:

Can anyone help me? I love this plant, but all the new leaves are long and skinny and not filling out. What am I doing wrong? It is in a 6" pot. I have it in a south facing room where the windows are shaded by trees. I water it every other day or so. Has anyone else had this problem?

Positive colluvial On Jan 1, 2013, colluvial from Burlington, VT wrote:

This plant has done well for me. I grow it, year-round, as a house plant in a south-facing window. The plant, in a 12-inch clay pot, currently has twenty, 4-foot long fronds and has covered the soil with furry rhizomes. It's a vigorous grower in the spring and summer, regularly sending up fronds. Just before the active growth in the spring, last year's leaves begin to yellow, die, and eventually detach cleanly at the base. Winter humidity is 40-50% in the room it's in. I never spray it and it does fine. When I started watering with rainwater instead of tap water, I noticed improved vigor and have figured that's because it's an epiphyte in its native habitat and probably doesn't like the mineral load from our slightly alkaline tap water.

Positive SierraTigerLily On Sep 7, 2009, SierraTigerLily from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

The 'blue star' cultivar grows well in partial shade. The furry roots quickly swell in pots, so be sure to give plenty of room. Too much sun and they loose their glaucous color.

Neutral BayAreaTropics On Apr 6, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

They wont grow in the SF bay area as our summers are too cool. They will survive winters by going dormant..but make almost no growth the next summer...losing by attrition. As greenhouse plants they are great,with blue fronds,fast growth. Indoors,they do poorly..not enough light,dry air make them look shabby.
EDIT 2013: Whats interesting is that the SPECIES plant- no ruffled fronds IS HARDY in the bay area...still blue and attractive. THAT'S the one you want to look for if growing outdoors is what you want here.

Positive mrao77 On Apr 6, 2009, mrao77 from Plano, TX wrote:

Beautiful fern, fuzzy rhizome grows out of the pot and looks beautiful if used in a large hanging basket. The only problem I have run into is with scale insects..very difficult to get rid of due to all that fuzz. Make sure to keep it away from any infested plant. Otherwise a very happy plant!

Positive ashaffer On Jun 26, 2008, ashaffer from Mount Carmel, PA wrote:

I have had MUCH success with this plant. It likes a low to medium light, and moist-dry potting mix. This is a GREAT fern that looks nice amid other ferns.

Neutral MotherNature4 On Dec 31, 2007, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The blue-green fronds of this Bear's Paw Fern have crispate and lobed fronds. Excellent for hanging baskets, it develops large, hairy rhizomes. When very young, it is a candidate for terrariums.

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 30, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

So far I have planted three of these ferns without success. Two small ones came from a mail order nursery, and a larger one from a local big box store. Planted in mid-December 2006, all three withered away.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hayward, California
Long Beach, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Plano, Texas

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