An enchanting fragrance originates from the maidenhair fern, which decorates rooms, gardens and balconies as a standing or hanging plant. The pretty contrast between the evergreen leaves and the dark stems puts a colorful accent into boring rooms and outdoor areas. However, for a splendid growth and long life it requires the right care, which can be read in this professional care guide.
- Plant Profile
- How to plant and grow Maidenhair Ferns
- A POPULAR INDOOR/OUTDOOR PLANT!
- ORDER MAIDENHAIR FERNS ONLINE
- Adiantum Raddianum Care
- How to Propagate Adiantum Maidenhair
- Adiantum Pest or Diseases
- Maidenhair Raddianum Uses
- Delta Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Raddianum)
- Maidenhair Fern Care
- Watering your Maidenhair Fern
- Help! My maidenhair fern has brown leaves?
- Mairis’s Hardy Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum X Mairisii – 4” Pot
- Five Finger Maidenhair Fern – 4.5 Inch Container
- Growing And Caring For Maidenhair Ferns
- Maidenhair Fern History
- How to Grow a Maidenhair Fern
- Maidenhair Fern Care
- Plant family: Pteridaceae
- Genus: Adiantum
- Species: Adiantum capillus-veneris
- Trivial names: Venus hair fern, Southern maidenhair fern, black maidenhair fern
- Origin: Rainy tropical regions
- herbaceous, persistent plant
- height: 20-35 cm, some varieties up to 110 cm
- black, brown or dark purple petioles
- depending on the type, either hanging or upright-standing
- partially frost resistant
There are countless varieties of maidenhair ferns and they therefore offer the perfect match for every need and taste of a plant lover. Originally native to tropical rain regions, it now feels comfortable in Europe both in balcony boxes or pots and in flower bed, although not all varieties are winterproof.
The maidenhair fern is very undemanding, but there still is a certain need for care in order for it to grow healthy and powerful for many years. This detailed care guide explains what you should take attention to.
The following care guide for the maidenhair fern will teach you how to cultivate, propagate and nurture it, so that you can enjoy the Adiantum capillus-veneris for a long time.
In order to support the growth of the maidenhair fern which originates from the humid tropics, you should choose a suitable place for it. The temperature and light conditions are paramount.
The maidenhair fern loves the morning and evening sun, while it will quickly show brown leaves when it is exposed to the bright midday sun. It feels most comfortable in a half-shady place outside, also in the shelter of trees. You should make sure it receives the same light intensity from all sides so it can grow evenly.
When cultivated inside, places near windows with a southward or westward direction are best. It should be rotated now and then so that all sides receive sunlight. A rotary plate is the ideal choice for the maidenhair fern to be moved by a quarter turn every three to four days. Electric turn tables are commercially available which will receive you the work and rotate evenly.
Warm wind is no problem for the maidenhair fern. However, it is sensitive to cold drafts. It should be exposed to constant temperatures between 18 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. Frost resistant varieties can remain outside.
Besides that, the maidenhair fern prefers a humid ambient air of at least 60 percent. This is why it should not be placed above heaters, from which dry air arise. Optimal is a location near an aquarium or indoor fountain as well as a place in bathrooms.
In addition to the perfect location, the soil condition is an essential criterion for the thriving of a maidenhair fern.
It should always at least meet the following requirements:
- good permeability
- deficient in lime
- moderately moist
- pH-value between 5.0 and 6.0
You should avoid using conventional potting soil for the sensitive maidenhair fern. Instead, use a high-quality substrate. It should be rich in nutrients and additionally include amounts of peat in order to provide a humous and loose basis.
If you still want to use conventional potting soil, you should add sand or pearlite. Big and substantial maidenhair ferns should be put in a clay-containing substrate. The clay provides more stability and stores more moisture.
The optimal time for planting or repotting is between the end of March and the end of April. Outside, frost-sensitive varieties of the maidenhair fern should not be planted earlier than early summer, when the night temperatures are warmer.
Frost resistant varieties can be planted in the soil at any time between spring and late summer. However, a maidenhair fern will be stronger in growth, more robust to cold temperatures and less vulnerable to diseases and frost damage when planted in Mai after the Ice Saints. This provides enough time for it to get used to the new environment and it can survive the winter easier.
Planting in beds
Since maidenhair ferns tend to grow abundantly with an optimal location and good care, a sufficient planting distance is necessary.
The following aspects should be kept in mind then planting in beds:
- the planting distance should be at least 1/2 of the perimeter
- the plant hole should at least be twice as deep as the root ball
- place quartz sand, gravel or clay fragments on the ground of the plant hole to prevent waterlogging
- loosened soil, free from weeds and root residues, improves the permeability
- adding peat, compost or leaf mold improves the nutrient content of the soil
- if the surface of the soil is covered with gravel, moisture will remain longer in the area around the root
Planting in pots
In principle, this fern must be repotted, as soon as the first roots penetrate the soil’s surface. To do this, put the maidenhair fern out of the pot and shorten the roots by at least a third. When putting it back into the pot, you should use a new high-quality substrate and take attention to the instructions described in the section “Planting in beds”.
The higher the humidity, the less effort you will have to make when pouring. If the humidity is low, the leaves should be sprayed with lime-free water daily. In order to find the right amount of water for the soil, you need a little exercise and a sure instinct, as the maidenhair fern prefers a constant moist, but does not tolerate waterlogging.
You may follow the instructions below when watering:
- if the surface of the soil or substrate has dried, you have to pour
- if the leaves start to roll, an immediate pouring is required
- use lime-free water, such as rainwater
- alternatively, you can also use stale tap water
- never pour when there is direct sunlight to avoid burns
- in case of an extreme drought, dip the complete root ball carefully in a water bath
- when there are no more water bubbles, the maidenhair fern can be planted back in the pot or bed
In order to reduce the water expense, you can also prepare a water storage for the maidenhair fern. In the case of potted plants you can fill a saucer with gravel and allow water to run in. Through the pot’s drain hole, the root supplies itself with water and you will not have to check the moisture daily.
As an alternative and particularly for bedding plants, so-called adapter bottles are suitable. These are filled with water and put into the ground with the adapter upside down. The principle is the same as the saucer filled with gravel and water.
When fertilizing, you should be careful, because for the maidenhair fern less is more. Too much fertilizer causes more damage than using no fertilizer at all. In general, you should use a slightly concentrated liquid fertilizer for green plants. Make sure the soil is moist before fertilizing.
The details for fertilizing:
- those in conventional flowering soil: fertilize every four to six weeks between March and August
- those in a nutrient-rich substrate: fertilize every eight to ten weeks between March and August
- those that have just been planted or repotted in nutrient-rich soil should not be fertilized before the following year
The maidenhair fern does not have to be cut back. It is enough to cut off withered shoots and, if necessary, dried fronds. Fronds are in this case cut off shortly above the ground. In beds the frost robust maidenhair fern will grow lusher if frostbite is removed in spring.
The fern does not rest in winter, but you should still mind some details.
- do not position a maidenhair fern above a radiator
- if the humidity drops due to heating air, the maidenhair fern has to be sprayed with water more often
- it is also advisable to install air humidifiers
- the frond should not be sprayed
- water less – the surface of the soil can be slightly dried
- do not fertilize between September and March/April
- the room temperature must not be less than 15 degrees Celsius
- ensure sufficient light on long, gray rainy or snow days
Frost resistant varieties outside
- place tub plants on wooden or Styrofoam supports so the icy coldness does not reach the roots
- keep the plant bucket in a wind-protected place
- cover the bedding area around the root ball with pine needles, stray or foliage for insulation
- when the temperature is below -10 degrees Celsius, it is recommended to stretch a warming fleece over the maidenhair fern
- check the dryness of the soil also in winter and pour a little if necessary
- in case of frost and sub-zero temperatures, you should not pour
As one of the most beautiful ferns, several specimens are very popular. You can simply cultivate them through propagation.
A strong specimen can easily be propagated through splitting. This should be done in spring before the beginning or the growth period.
Proceed as follows:
- take the maidenhair fern out of the soil
- cut the root ball into a desired number of segments using a sharp knife
- make sure every segment has at least three fronds
- plant every root segment in a nutrient-rich substrate
- moderately pour the substrate
- cultivate the split maidenhair ferns just like adult ferns
- fertilize for the first time in the following year
The maidenhair fern can be generatively propagated by sowing. Due to the lack of blossoms and seeds, you have to use the spores for this reason, which can be found on the bottom side of the fronds. They are small brown capsules which turn into fine dust in the maturity phase as you touch upon them.
When sowing, proceed as follows:
- cut of the complete frond
- place it on a piece of paper for two to three days for it to dry
- the spores usually fall on the paper after drying
- fill a small pot or a propagator with cultivation soil
- space the spores on the soil’s surface
- sieve fine sand upon it and dampen the sand
- alternatively, you can also use vermiculite
- stretch a transparent plastic film over the pot or propagator
- place the seeds in a half-shady area
- recommended temperature: between 22 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius
- germination period: three to four weeks
- pricking: As soon as the young plant has reached about 5 centimeters
Type-specific diseases to the maidenhair fern are not known. However, waterlogging can cause a disease that can make the maidenhair fern die off in the worst case.
If the maidenhair fern is kept too wet or exposed to waterlogging, it usually does not take long for the root rot to infect the plant. In that case, the maidenhair fern has to be put out of the soil and drained immediately. The rot can be recognized by softened root parts and a white covering on the roots. Cut off these root areas using a sharp knife.
Check the hardness of the root parts every day. When they have solidified and become more rigid, you can plant the maidenhair fern in a new nutrient-rich substrate. Keep the substrate only slightly moist in the first days and then slowly revert to the normal pouring. Doing so, you can save the maidenhair fern from dying in most cases.
In contrast to diseases, a pest infestation is usually not due to wrong care. However, you should know that the maidenhair fern is sensitive to chemical remedies and household remedies are preferable.
Aphelenchoides prefer moist places. Although they are inserted by the water, regular spraying of the fern’s leaves attracts them to rise into the interior of the leave and suck up the leaf cells there. As a result, the leaves turn brown. The plant dies.
At this point you should act immediately. Cut off all brown leaves. Reduce the pouring at the same time and do not spray the leaves anymore. Plant protection products on a biological basis support the pest control.
Aphids love nearly all fleshy green plants. Also the maidenhair fern. These small crawling animals can be recognized by their white, punctiform shape. They usually settle on the upper surface of the leaves. In the case of a small infestation, a hard water jet is usually enough. For larger infestations a soapy solution is helpful. Sprinkle the fern with it daily for at least seven days.
Spider mites are similar to aphids, but are usually found below the leaves that fade over the time. It is promising to put the maidenhair fern into a transparent, translucent plastic bag for example. Within ten days the spider mites will usually have died. However, the maidenhair fern must still be watered meanwhile.
A total of 220 fern species are known, of which each has numerous varieties to offer, like the maidenhair fern, which is the most famous one.
- is the scientific term for Farleyense varieties of the fan maidenhair ferns
- this one is particularly popular for its pink shimmer
Delta maidenhair (Adiantum raddianum)
- is distinguished by its broad growth direction and triangular fronds
- is the title for the rough maidenhair which is characterized by its robustness and rapid growth
The other most common varieties of the maidenhair fern include the five-fingered fern, the offshoot forming, the bushy and the Australian maidenhair ferns.
How to plant and grow Maidenhair Ferns
A POPULAR INDOOR/OUTDOOR PLANT!
Plant Information – Maidenhair (332 KB)
Maidenhair fern is the most loved or at least it is the most grown of all ferns. People love them as much for their quaintly delicate leaflets, as for their soft shiny stems. The fragile appearance of a maidenhair fern with its gentle, green colour, adds a lushness and a cool look to any setting. Not only an indoor plant, maidenhair will naturalise beautifully in cool garden positions, between pavers or bricks. It is actually in hanging baskets that this fern gains its popularity.
Whether grown on its own or as a composite planting, you can be assured of a thrilling result if these following notes are observed. Good luck with your ferns – the efforts are always rewarding.
POSITION FOR MAIDENHAIR
Maidenhair ferns will grow best inside in a well-lit position, out of direct sun or with some very early morning sun. They tolerate either a warm or a cool spot; however, growth is quicker in a warm position. They require humidity to grow well. This can be achieved by placing the plant on a saucer filled with pebbles and water that provides moisture in the air as it evaporates around the fern.
Repot from September to February. The best options are our PREMIUM POTTIING MIX or INDOOR/ OUTDOOR POTTING MIX. With varying degrees of slow release fertilisers, and water retaining agents your maidenhairs will grow very well. Be careful not to plant the crown below soil level, as it is the point from which the new fronds develop.
The biggest problem in growing these ferns inside is when the position fluctuates – e.g. a bathroom that is humid and warm after a shower and cold and dry the rest of the day. Maidenhairs prefer a situation that stays roughly the same in warmth and humidity. They do not like being moved as it often sets them back until they adjust to the new environment. Warm laundries, bathroom and kitchen windowsills are all good spots.
Maidenhair ferns grow well outside on protected patios, under pergolas, in shade houses or in the garden and are best protected from the wind. They do well in positions where they get some very early morning sun or some filtered sun.
WATERING & FERTILISING MAIDENHAIR
Keep them evenly moist all year. From September to March feed them every 2 weeks with liquid fertiliser e.g. MAXICROP, NITROSOL, FISH EMULSION, OSMOCOTE FOR INDOORS, HARVEST, UPLIFT or FERN & PALM FOOD
HEALTH & PROBLEMS OF MAIDENHAIR
One of the main problems is getting the right position for the maidenhair ferns to grow successfully. Mealy bug may be an occasional problem. Use CONFIDOR, WHITE OIL or PEST OILS lightly sprayed to control these problems.
Maintain your Maidenhair Fern with fortnightly applications of: SEASOL, POWERFEED or MAXICROP. Any of these products used will help provide everlasting results of a healthy plant.
Browse through our lovely range of Maidenhair Ferns at ANL Garden Centre in Terrey Hills or North Ryde.
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The maidenhair fern or botanically Adiantum raddianum is a member of the Pteridaceae family and one of the most popular fern species for growing indoors.
While it is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, where it is seen growing on rocks or terrestrially.
The genus name Adiantum comes from the Greek word “adiantos,” which means “unwetted,” a very good description of the leaves.
The plant has also become naturalized in many tropical and subtropical islands and is considered invasive in French Polynesia and Hawaii.
It is also grown as an ornamental plant in many parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific.
Other Adiantums known as “maidenhair fern” include:
- Adiantum capillus-veneris
- Adiantum pedatum
- Adiantum aleuticum known as the (Northern maidenhair fern)
Adiantum Raddianum Care
Size & Growth
A delicate and short fern species, Adiantums grow out of short rhizomes and the wiry stems reach up to the height of about 17” – 19” inches.
However, it can have a spread of up to 23” inches.
One of the major reasons for the popularity of maidenhair ferns is because it spreads readily and is highly adaptable to different environments.
Its dark green, triangular fronds comprise numerous tiny wedge-shaped leaflets resembling human hair.
This is why the plants’ common name is maidenhair.
The green fronds are delicate and semi-erect in the beginning, but start to droop (gracefully) as the plant matures.
Depending on the growing conditions, the fronds can grow up to 7” – 8” inches in length.
The bases of frond stalks and the short, creeping rhizome of this herbaceous perennial plant are covered with tiny, dark brown colored scales.
Flowering and Fragrance
Adiantum is a fern and a non-flowering plant.
Light & Temperature
Adiantum ferns grow best in highly humid conditions where it can get direct sun and it does not like dry air.
While the fern species prefers shade and grows best in areas where it receives small amounts of filtered sunlight, it cannot survive in full shade without any sunlight.
Since it is often difficult to maintain adequate humidity levels when the fern is grown as a houseplant, experts recommend using a humidifier or placing the pot on a tray filled with moist pebbles.
Mist the plant or double pot it to make sure it gets the required amount of humidity.
For those who do not know, double potting involves placing the pot of the plant in a larger pot filled with peat moss.
The ideal temperature is 65° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C – 24° C) for delta maidenhair fern.
The plant is winter hardy to USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.
Watering and Feeding
The plant requires a constant supply of moisture from both soil and atmosphere to grow properly, so make sure to water it regularly and never let it completely dry out.
Also, be careful not to overwater the fern as it can cause yellowing of frond tips and root rot.
Application of diluted fertilizer, once a month, from April to September encourages healthy growth.
Use liquid fertilizer after watering to prevent the burning of roots.
Fertilize monthly year-round with half-strength liquid fertilizer.
Soil & Transplanting
Plant Adiantum in a peat-based potting mix with organic matter.
Since excessive water can cause problems for the plant, it is recommended to keep the potting mixture a little loose to ensure proper drainage.
The fern doesn’t need to be transplanted too often – repotting once every two years is enough.
Spring is the best time for transplanting the maidenhair fern.
Grooming and Maintenance
To ensure proper growth, make sure your maidenhair fern is getting an adequate amount of humidity and moisture.
If the leaflets dry out or fall off due to a lack of humidity, prune the plant by cutting the black stems off at the base.
Increase the humidity levels and maintain soil moisture so new growth will appear.
Misting the plant is recommended twice a day, after pruning, until the new shoots begin to grow.
Make use of a pebble tray to maintain humidity levels.
How to Propagate Adiantum Maidenhair
Divide the Adiantum raddianum plant, while leaving the rhizomes attached to a couple of fronds, at the time of repotting in early spring or when the plant has outgrown its container to propagate.
While ferns do produce spores, they are difficult to grow.
However, the plant type readily spreads through spores in its natural habitat.
Adiantum Pest or Diseases
Adiantum raddianum plants do not get affected by any serious pests.
However, experts recommend to look out for some common herbivore pests, such as snails and slugs, caterpillars, earwigs, and the black vine weevil beetle as they may damage young fronds and rhizomes.
When grown in pots, the uncurling fronds of the fern can get attacked by aphids.
Special care needs to be taken with watering as excessive moisture, and stagnant water can cause a grey mold.
On the other hand, too much exposure to sunlight or a lack of fertilizer can cause scorch marks on fronds or their paling, respectively.
The tips of fronds turning brown is a sign of a lack of humidity.
Maidenhair Raddianum Uses
Despite the fact southern maidenhair fern requires high humidity consistently, which is difficult to provide in homes, it enjoys high popularity as a houseplant.
Planted in containers, pots, or hanging baskets, place Maidenhair ferns on terraces, patios, pergolas, and even indoors to liven up the settings. However, try to keep them out of windy locatons.
This North American native specimen is great on its own but it also makes a great ground cover, beautiful in a woodland garden, or in a terrarium.
- Light. Maidenhair ferns need shady settings. Do not expose them to any direct sunlight, and especially avoid bright light.
- Humidity. This plant requires humid warm air. It will die or wilt with dry, hot air. To achieve the right watering conditions, mist the plant with warm water a couple of times a day. This will maintain moisture on the leaves. Additionally, keep the soil damp but not soggy. A humidifier or pebble tray can maintain optimal indoor growing conditions. Many growers have success keeping these plants in a shady corner or under a plant bench in glassed-in solariums or sunrooms.
- Drainage. Since maidenhair ferns thrive on moisture, it’s recommended to plant it in a pot with drainage holes. Ideally, keep the fern in a plastic pot with holes, and then put the plastic pot in a more attractive outer pot. This will allow you to easily check the moisture levels in the plastic pot. The drainage holes should prevent the soil from becoming soggy.
- Temperature. These plants are best kept above 70 F. Do not expose them to cold drafts or temperatures below 60 F.
- Fertilizing. If you choose to fertilize your fern, do so with weak liquid fertilizer twice a week, only during the growing season and not in the winter months.
Delta Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Raddianum)
Other than Delta Maidenhair, Adiantum Raddianum is also commonly known as Fragrant Maidenhair Fern or simply generalized as Maidenhair Fern. Adiantum R. Inherits its common name Delta (which is Greek for triangle) from the wedged-shape leaves the plant sprouts from its stems. Another unique aspect of Maidenhair ferns like Delta is its leaves ability to deflect water. Making it a rather durable plant to rainy weather conditions.
Delta Maidenhair is one of the smaller species of Adiantum. The bright green leaves are fan-shaped and have noticeable brown spores that grow underneath. The stems are a wiry thin stalk that ranges in color from reddish brown to black. The root structure of this fern is made up of rhizomes which functions pretty much the same as traditional plant roots but are thicker in nature.
The environment from which Delta Maidenhair is accustomed to is a very wet, humid type of setting. This species of Adiantum is native to the rainforest of South America. Interesting enough, Maidenhair can not only be found growing on damp forest floors… But also in rock crevices along coastal cliffs and riverbanks. Temperatures this plant is used to will fluctuate from high 70’s to mid 50’s. The ideal settings for this fern should be kept consistent and never fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
PH requirements for this plant will be along the lines of the more acidic side of the chart. Even though Delta Maidenhair can tolerate neutral levels for periods of time, the water should never be hard or go beyond 7.0 PH.
This kind of fern will do great in two specific vivarium types. In fact, Maidenhair fern is practically made for tropical enclosures, Adiantum Raddianum in particular. Here are recommended vivariums Delta Maidenhair will do well in:
- Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain based enclosure.
- Terrariums – Fully terrain based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.
Being the perfect vivarium plant Delta Maidenhair Fern is, it will do well in a variety of places above ground. This fern works great as a ground cover plant when placed at the forefront of an enclosure. There are a number of places this plant can thrive when used as a background accent as well. For one, if Delta Maidenhair is being paired with other types of plants, use it as a surrounding flora to fill in empty areas and provide additional coverage for inhabitants to find sanction. Keep in mind this plant’s native residence when seen on coastal cliffs… try potting this fern on stone backgrounds and allow its arching fronds to create a creeping canopy of foliage. As long as the environment is high in humidity, this plant will thrive just about anywhere in a typical terrarium.
Like many tropical plants, Delta Maidenhair will demand a consistently damp substrate at all times. Be careful not to over saturate the soil in water and provide an adequate source of drainage so that the ground can easily filter out excess water. The substrate should also be moderately acidic… An even mix of peat moss, humus and coco fiber would be recommended to provide a loose mix of a moist, acidic substrate.
Heres where things get a little tricky with Delta Maidenhair. It may take a bit of trial and error to really nail the needs of this fern but don’t be discouraged. Adiantum Raddianum will require a bit of indirect sunlight as well as partial shade. This fern cannot receive all of one or the other. If left in direct sunlight throughout the day, it will dry out and wither away. On the other hand, if it receives full shade it will stunt growth and pail in color.
In the wild, Adiantum R. does best when it’s grown in a shaded location that receives bits of either morning or evening sunlight. For a controlled environment like a vivarium, simply placing the tank near a north facing window will provide sufficient amounts of lighting. The downside to this is the possibility of fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. Delta Maidenhair is a delicate plant that appreciates consistency. I would recommend full, bright artificial lighting and a bit of indirect sunlight. Meaning, the enclosure should be near a north facing window but not close enough to see a change in temperature between daylight hours.
- Position: bright, indirect light
- Soil: good potting compost
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: tender (indoors only)
- Current height: approximately 30cm (including pot)
- Pot covers: choose a 16cm pot cover to give a good fit over the pot
The black stalked, triangular fronds of this elegant maidenhair fern are made up of lots of lobed segments, which create a soft and lacey effect. The colouring of the fronds is pretty too – being a soft yellowish green initially, but turning a darker green as they mature. This is a wonderful plant for a larger terrarium as it loves a humid atmosphere, but it will also flourish in a steamy bathroom or kitchen. Please note that the pot in the photograph is not supplied with the plant (which is sent out in a black plastic pot). They do however make excellent potted plants, and if you wish to pot yours up, we do have a wide range of pots on our website to choose from.
- Home care: Grow in bright but indirect light and keep well watered but not waterlogged in summer. Reduce watering in winter, but do ensure at all times that the humidity levels do not drop. The best way to do this is to mist the plant with water at regular intervals.
With their emerald-green, wispy foliage, maidenhair ferns are captivating. They make a gorgeous addition to any indoor garden. Whether you grow them on their own or combine them in a mixed container—they’re sure to attract attention.
Of all ferns grown as houseplants, maidenhair fern is the most difficult to grow. For the best of luck growing maidenhair fern in your home, keep the following growing tips in mind.
Carefully watch watering. The most important tip to remember when growing maidenhair fern is to make sure that you never let the plant’s soil dry out. When maidenhair fern experiences drought, the plant collapses and is unlikely to come back. If it does revive, it will be in a limited capacity.
Water maidenhair fern on a regular basis. Keep the plant’s soil moist but not soggy. Remember that heating and air-conditioning will dry these plants out quickly.
Mulch. Adding a 1-inch layer of mulch to the soil surface of the maidenhair fern will help keep the soil moist. The mulch also breaks down and feeds the soil, which then feeds the plant. Good mulch choices are shredded bark or leaf mold. Prior to adding mulch, water maidenhair fern well. Then add the mulch and water again to seal the mulch to the soil.
Provide proper lighting. To thrive, maidenhair fern requires medium lighting. Direct, bright light, such as from a western window, will quickly burn the delicate foliage. Southern and eastern windows will work, as long as you place the plant three to four feet away. Unobstructed northern windows often work well.
Watch the temperature. Maidenhair ferns don’t like to get chilled and will do poorly if the temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They do best in 70 degrees and above.
Provide high humidity. Maidenhair fern thrives in humid conditions. If you live in a dry climate and during the winter months when the heater is on, it’s important to provide additional humidity. You can do this by placing the plants over humidity trays and misting frequently. Also keep in mind that plants humidify one another—so grouping your houseplants helps.
Fertilize regularly. Feed maidenhair fern with an organic liquid fertilizer at half-strength. Apply monthly.
Repot every three to six months. Maidenhair fern requires rich soil conditions to do well. This means that it’s important to repot them regularly. You’ll know it’s time to repot the fern when water quickly runs through the pot and you’re having to water more and more frequently.
Plant maidenhair fern in the same size pot, or just one inch larger. Use a high-quality, organic potting soil.
Julie Bawden-Davis is a garden writer and master gardener, who since 1985 has written for publications such as Organic Gardening, The American Gardener, Wildflower, Better Homes and Gardens and The Los Angeles Times. She is the author of 10 books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening, Fairy Gardening, The Strawberry Story Series, and Indoor Gardening the Organic Way, and is the founder of HealthyHouseplants.com. Her backyard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
Maidenhair Fern Care
Maidenhair Ferns are a gorgeous soft, leafy indoor plant but there are some tricks to caring for them successfully.
As with most plants the keys to success in keeping your Maidenhair Fern looking gorgeous is to find the spot in your home with the right amount of light that the plant loves, and to water it properly.
Watering your Maidenhair Fern
When your maidenhair fern is kept indoors, you need to pay a lot of attention to making sure that it is always moist. This is a delicate plant, and doesn’t like having its roots sitting in water. So small, regular amounts of water are best for the maidenhair if you want to keep it looking healthy. Try somewhere between half cup and a cup of water per day.
In the winter months the maiden hair definitely needs less water, so be careful that you are checking that there is no excess water in the bottom of your pot or pot saucer, as this will cause the plant leaves to turn brown.
The maidenhair fern loves moisture and humidity, which is why a lot of people recommend keeping them in bathrooms. They will grow happily in other rooms of your house but they really don’t like dry air, so keep them clear of heaters, and heating ducts blowing warm dry air, as well as cold drafts.
Help! My maidenhair fern has brown leaves?
Finding the perfect spot to keep your maidenhair fern happy indoors can take a little experimentation. When they are planted outdoors they definitely prefer a shaded spot, but indoors it likes light – but not direct light, and not too bright. Try it in a couple of different spots to find the one that it thrives in best.
If you see your maidenhair leaves drying out & going brittle but staying green, then your plant needs water, and fast.
If you see some of the leaves going brown, it may because it’s being affected by either hot dry air, or a cold draft – try moving your plant to a more protected spot.
If your plant leaves are going a yellowy-green and then some are turning brown, most likely it isn’t getting enough light. Try moving it to a spot with more light, but not direct light.
If your maidenhair really goes brown to the point that you no longer want it in the house, don’t give up. Cut all of the fronds back to ground level, and place it outside in a shady, protected spot, and hopefully it will regenerate after a few months.
The Maidenhair fern is a really pretty indoor plant, and it will look great in most homes. So choose a pot you love, lavish it with attention (it loves being watered every day) and enjoy having this gorgeous plant in your home.
If you’re loving indoor plants and are looking for tips on caring for other gorgeous indoor plants, check out our other plant care guides here!
Or discover more pots and baskets perfect for indoor plants like the Maidenhair Fern.
Thanks very much to Ruth from Fowlers Flowers , Clifton Hill, for sharing her practical tips on keeping you Maiden Hair Fern plant looking healthy.
Thanks so much to the lovely folk at Frankie & Coco in Hampton, Established for Design in Malvern East and Zachloe Lifestyle in South Melbourne for so kindly loaning us some of their beautiful planters for use in this shoot.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your wishlist of products, then be sure and check out our Pots for indoor plants range.
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Mairis’s Hardy Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum X Mairisii – 4” Pot
Mairis’s Hardy Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum X Mairisii – 4” Pot
Adiantum X Mairisii
Mairis’s Hardy Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum x mairisii), is a sterile hybrid between Adiantum capillus-veneris and an unknown presumed tropical maidenhair (A. raddianum or A. aethiopicum).
Discovered ages ago in the British nursery of Mairis and Company and named before 1885, it rewards gardeners with typical hybrid vigor and surprising hardiness (better than either of its likely parents).
Mairis’s maidenhair produces lacy, bright green 15″to 18″ fronds supported by brittle blackish stipes (stems). While it is deciduous, it holds its fronds well into the fall season. This exciting woodlander spreads with ease through the landscape in light moist soil and filtered shade. In spite of its age it is relatively new to North American cultivation and is a rewarding addition for enthusiasts in Zones 7 to 10.
Adiantum /ˌædiˈæntəm/, the walking fern or maidenhair fern, is a genus of about 200 species of ferns in the Vittarioideae subfamily of the family Pteridaceae, though some researchers place it in its own family, Adiantaceae. The genus name comes from Greek, meaning “not wetting”, referring to the fronds’ ability to shed water without becoming wet.
They are distinctive in appearance, with dark, often black stipes and rachises, and bright green, often delicately cut leaf tissue. The sori are borne submarginally, and are covered by reflexed flaps of leaf tissue which resemble indusia. Dimorphism between sterile and fertile fronds is generally subtle.
They generally prefer humus-rich, moist, well-drained sites, ranging from bottomland soils to vertical rock walls. Many species are especially known for growing on rock walls around waterfalls and water seepage areas.
The highest species diversity is in the Andes. Fairly high diversity also occurs in eastern Asia, with nearly 40 species in China.
Species native to North America include A. pedatum (five-fingered fern) and the closely related A. aleuticum, which are distinctive in having a bifurcating frond that radiates pinnae on one side only. A. capillus-veneris (Venus-hair fern) has a native distribution that extends into the eastern continent. A. jordanii (California Maidenhair) is native to the west coast.
There is a rich Adiantum flora in New Zealand with 3 endemic species (A. cunninghamii, A. viridescens and A. fulvum) in a total of 10 recorded species. Many of these are common especially in the west and south of the islands.
It is now known that this genus is paraphyletic, and that the vittarioid ferns are derived from this larger paraphyletic genus. However, if A. raddianum, and possibly a few other species, are removed, the remaining plants (genus type: Adiantum capillus-veneris).
Five Finger Maidenhair Fern – 4.5 Inch Container
(Mature Size: 12-36″T x Spreading) (Adiantum pedatum)
The ‘Five Finger Maidenhair’ has long topped the popularity list for native North American ferns.
Even those who dismiss ferns as “all looking alike” appreciate this species for bringing grace and beauty to the shady garden.
The pedate frond hand waves its airy fingers horizontally from atop a purple black stipe (stem) of 1 to 3 feet in height.
The graceful fingers of this fern look nice next to blue-margined hostas like ‘June’ and ‘Lakeside Beach Captain’.
In time, with good moist compost and filtered light this will form a lush clump gradually spreading its welcome wands of foliage.
Brighter light will reduce the size of the fronds but full sun does not make for a happy plant!
Although deciduous and depending on Mother Nature’s whims, it can hold its fronds into late fall.
It is content in gardens from Zone 2 (where it is clearly one of the most ornamental options) to Zone 8.
Hardy to zones 2-8. What’s My Zone?
Color: Soft Green
Size: 12-36 inches tall with a spreading habit
Type: Hosta Companion Plant
Product Size: 4.5 Inch Container
Growing And Caring For Maidenhair Ferns
Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum spp.) can make graceful additions to shady gardens or bright, indirect areas of the home. Their light gray-green, feathery-like foliage adds unique charm to just about any landscape setting, especially moist, wooded areas of the garden. Growing maidenhair fern is easy. This North American native makes an excellent specimen plant on its own or in a group. It also makes a great ground cover or container plant.
Maidenhair Fern History
Maidenhair fern history is quite interesting. Its genus name translates to “non wetting” and refers to the fronds’ ability to shed rainwater without becoming wet. In addition, the plant is the source of an aromatic, volatile oil commonly used as a shampoo, which is where its common name of maidenhair derived.
Another name for this plant is the five-fingered fern due largely in part to its finger-like fronds, which are supported on dark brown to black stems. These black stems were once used as a
dye in addition to being employed for the weaving of baskets. Native Americans also used maidenhair ferns as poultices for wounds to stop bleeding.
There are numerous maidenhair species, though the most commonly grown include:
How to Grow a Maidenhair Fern
Learning how to grow maidenhair fern in the garden, or even indoors, is not difficult. The plant typically grows in partial to full shade and prefers moist but well-draining soil amended with organic matter, much like in its natural habitat in humus-rich woods. These ferns do not tolerate dry soil.
Most ferns grow best in slightly acidic soils; however, maidenhair ferns prefer a more alkaline soil pH. Adding some ground limestone to the potting mix of container grown plants or mixing it into your outdoor beds will help with this.
When growing maidenhair fern indoors, the plant prefers small containers and dislikes repotting. Maidenhair is also intolerant of low humidity or dry air from heating or cooling vents when grown in the home. Therefore, you will either need to mist the plant daily or set it on a water-filled pebble tray.
Maidenhair Fern Care
Caring for maidenhair ferns is not very demanding. While it needs to be kept moist as part of its maidenhair fern care, you need to be careful not to over water the plant. This can lead to root and stem rot. On the other hand, don’t let the maidenhair dry out either. But, in the event it does accidentally dry out, don’t be so quick to throw it away. Give it a good soaking and the maidenhair fern will eventually produce new leaves.