Giant fern Lophosoria quadripinnata

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
diamondleaf fern


The plant known commonly as the giant chain fern possesses a distinctive and impressive look characterized by its large, spreading fronds. These fronds are divided, resembling broad, slightly drooping leaves with a deep green shade that can bring a lush appearance to any area where they grow. As the name suggests, they have a chain-like pattern due to the arrangement of the leaflets, which are further subdivided into smaller segments, lending a feathery texture to the fronds. The stems, holding the fronds, are sturdy and may also catch the eye with their reddish or brownish scales that provide a striking contrast against the greenery. The overall aspect of the giant chain fern is one of grandeur and beauty, making it a dramatic addition to gardens and natural landscapes alike.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Giant Chain Fern, Tailed Tree Fern, Broad Beech Fern, Cuatro Filos

    • Common names

      Alsophila cuadripinnata, Cyathea quadripinnata, Hemitelia quadripinnata, Lophosoria quadripinnata.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Lophosoria quadripinnata, commonly known as the giant chain fern, is not widely recognized as a toxic plant to humans. There is no substantial evidence or well-documented cases of poisoning from ingesting or coming into contact with this fern. However, as with many plants, it is still advisable to avoid ingestion and to exercise caution, as individual allergic reactions or sensitivities cannot be completely ruled out. If a person suspects poisoning from any plant, they should seek medical attention.

    • To pets

      The giant chain fern is not typically known to be toxic to pets. There are no specific symptoms of poisoning associated with this plant, as it is not generally recognized as a poisonous species to animals. Nevertheless, it's important to monitor pets and prevent them from eating plants, as they might have individual reactions or the plants could lead to gastrointestinal upset due to the non-digestible nature of some plant material. If a pet owner suspects their animal is suffering from an adverse reaction to any plant, they should consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Central and South America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Lophosoria quadripinnata, also known as giant fern, adds aesthetic value to gardens and landscapes with its large, distinctive fronds.
    • Habitat Creation: It provides a natural habitat and shelter for wildlife in gardens and forested areas.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The giant fern's extensive root system helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion in areas where it is planted.
    • Ecological Balance: By being a part of native flora, it contributes to the maintenance of ecological balance and biodiversity.
    • Shade Provider: Its large size and broad fronds offer shade in gardens, which can be beneficial in creating microclimates for other plants.
    • Educational Interest: Due to its unusual size and growth patterns, it is of interest for educational purposes in botany and ecology.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Lophosoria quadripinnata, commonly known as the Giant Fern, has been used as a natural roofing material due to its large leaves, which provide an effective barrier against rainfall.
    • The Giant Fern's sturdy stems can be utilized for crafting garden stakes, supporting other plants as they grow.
    • The fibrous nature of the Giant Fern's roots allows them to be woven into baskets or mats, showcasing traditional craftsmanship.
    • The plant's ability to thrive in moist environments makes it an ideal candidate for creating natural bog gardens or water features.
    • The Giant Fern is sometimes used in educational settings to study the growth patterns and life cycle of primitive plant species.
    • Due to its impressive size and tropical appearance, the Giant Fern is a popular choice for use in thematic landscaping, such as creating a prehistoric or dinosaur garden.
    • The lush foliage of the Giant Fern provides a dense canopy, creating natural shade in gardens and public parks.
    • The fronds of the Giant Fern have been used in the art of flower arranging to add height and drama to large floral displays.
    • In sustainable living practices, the fallen fronds of the Giant Fern can be composted to enrich garden soil with organic matter.
    • Lophosoria quadripinnata is incorporated into living fences or hedges in some tropical regions, forming a natural boundary that is environmentally friendly.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Lophosoria quadripinnata is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Lophosoria quadripinnata is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Lophosoria quadripinnata, commonly known as the giant fern, can grow in a variety of environments, symbolizing the ability to adapt and endure challenging conditions.
    • Growth and Expansion: The giant fern's fast-growing nature signifies personal growth and the expansion of one’s boundaries.
    • Eternal Youth: Ferns are often associated with youthfulness and the ability to maintain a fresh perspective on life, due to their lush, green appearance.
    • Secrets and Solitude: Ferns, including the giant fern, have a mysterious feel to them as they often grow in secluded, shaded areas, representing the beauty of solitude and the unknown.
    • Protection: In some cultures, ferns are considered to provide protection by warding off negative energies, and the giant fern's size could be symbolic of strong defense.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Giant Fern should be watered deeply once a week, allowing the soil to become moderately dry between waterings. When watering, pour water evenly around the base of the plant until it begins to run out of the bottom of the pot, which might equate to around a gallon for larger plants. In periods of high heat or when indoor heating is used, watering frequency should increase to maintain consistent moisture, but take care to not overwater as this can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    The Giant Fern thrives best in bright, indirect light. It should be placed in a location where it can receive filtered light such as near a window with sheer curtains. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can scorch the fronds of the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    For the Giant Fern, temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. It can tolerate a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and should not be exposed to temperatures below freezing. Keep this plant away from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes to maintain its health.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Giant Fern is necessary to remove any dead or damaged fronds and to encourage new growth. The best time to prune is in the spring before new growth starts. Snip off the unwanted fronds at the base, and avoid cutting the healthy, green parts as this could damage the plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for the Giant Chain Fern is one that is rich in organic matter and very well-draining, with added peat moss to maintain moisture. It prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH, ranging from about 5.5 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    The Giant Chain Fern should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate its growing size, or when it becomes root-bound.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Giant Chain Fern thrives in high humidity conditions, ideally above 60%, making it a great choice for naturally humid environments or areas supplemented with a humidifier.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and maintain high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, ensure soil is moist and well-drained.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Lophosoria quadripinnata, commonly known as giant fern, begins life as a spore, which upon germination in a suitably moist environment, grows into a tiny, heart-shaped gametophyte. This gametophyte is bisexual, producing both eggs and sperm, and when conditions allow, fertilization occurs, leading to the development of a new sporophyte—the recognizable fern plant. The sporophyte grows from the gametophyte, initially forming a fiddlehead that unfurls into a frond, the leaf of the fern. As the fern matures, it expands into a large plant with several fronds which, if conditions are favorable, can reach impressive sizes, reflective of its common name. Eventually, specialized structures called sporangia develop on the underside of the fronds, and within these, spores are produced. These spores, upon release, are dispersed by wind, allowing the life cycle to begin anew if they land in a conducive environment for growth.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The Lophosoria quadripinnata, commonly known as giant fern, can be propagated predominantly by spores, which is the most popular method. This process often occurs naturally when spores are released from sporangia typically located on the underside of mature fronds and distributed by air currents. For cultivation, the best time to collect spores is when the sporangia are ripe and have turned a brownish color, often during the warmer months. Once collected, the spores can be sown on a surface of sterilized, moistened peat or a peat-perlite mixture kept at a constant temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). It is crucial to maintain high humidity by covering the sowing container with glass or clear plastic and to avoid direct sunlight to prevent drying out. Germination can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months, after which the emerging fern gametophytes can be further cultured until they are mature enough to be transplanted.