Karla News

Maidenhair Fern Plant Care Tips


The Maidenhair Fern is a beautiful, but unfortunately rather sensitive plant. If there is a warm and humid spot for it, it can last for many years.

The Maidenhair Fern is not such a common plant in the home, which is a pity since it gives a particularly light and airy impression. This plant grows almost everywhere in the warmer areas in the world, and there are about 190 different species, most of which grow in the humid rain forests of South America.


This fern does not like too much light and definitely hates the sun. It’s home is the forest floor -where it is not too crowded by the other plants. Some varieties of Maidenhair Fern grow in cracks in rock or cliffs, and their hanging fronds can cover whole rock faces with a delicate green. In the home, the ferns are mainly grown in hanging baskets.


One this is poison for the Maidenhair Fern -a lack of water. If the fern is completely dried out try to save it by immersing it in a bowl of lukewarm water and waiting until no more air bubbles rise to the surface. This will take about ten minutes. Then cut the entire plant back to the pot surface and put the pot on a bed of gravel and water. (This is to ensure that the air is kept humid as the fern recovers.) Or, stand the pot inside a larger pot and fill the gap with damp peat.


The most well-known and most cultivated variety is Adiantum Raddianum, with it’s attractive pale green foliage. The most beautiful variety is probably Adiantum tenerum, with it’s pink-tinged, thick, feathery fronds and leaves. In milder climates, Adiantum pedarum can be left out all winter if given some protection from the frost. If any of these plants are planted in the garden, plant them to a depth of 2 inches, in the same soil mixture as you would in a pot or tub. Plant 2 or 3 together.

See also  Growing Leather Ferns


The older ferns should be repotted once every three years. Use this as an opportunity to make more ferns. Cut the root clump into two or three sections, and put each one in it’s own pot of soil and peat. It may be that the fern loses a couple of fronds after this treatment, but if cut away, new ones will soon grow and fill the gap.


Underneath the leaves there is a collection of small brown spots. These are the spores. Try propagating the fern with these spores, but it is not an easy task.

Scratch the spores from the leaves onto a piece of paper in the spring. Be careful that the spores don’t fly away! Fill a clean seed tray with damp, sterile sowing soil, and sprinkle the spores over the surface. Cover the tray with a layer of glass or plastic and leave it in a dark spot at a temperature of about 70F. After about three weeks the first small plants begin to appear. Move the tray into the light, but not directly into the sunlight. Once the tiny seedlings are about 2 inches high and look as if they are sturdy enough to survive, plant them in individual pots in the same soil mixture as before.


When a plant that seems to be doing well develops curled leaves and uneven leaf edges it is because it either has too little water or because the air is not humid enough. Water and mist the plant immediately.

See also  How to Create an Indoor Herb Garden

Sudden leaf drop is usually the result of too little water over a long period of time, or because it has been moved and it doesn’t like it. In either case, trim back the withered leaves and water the fern.

Curled leaves on a fern which is not suffering from dry conditions can appear because it has had too much water, or is too cold. Move it to a warmer position and water less frequently.

Always remember that the Maidenhair Fern is very sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. This is obvious when moved from one place to another. Keep humidity up with a room humidifier.


Buy only plants that look healthy and undamaged, and have shining stems.


If careful with the water and humidity, these plants will last for many years.


All year.


Size and Growth Rate:

The Maidenhair Fern has pale green fronds and black stems, and reaches a height of about 20 inches.

Flowering and Fragrance:

Ferns do not flower, but have spores on the undersides of the leaves.

Light and Temperature:

Ferns are woodland plants. They prefer to grow in the shade or half-shade, and do not really like a temperature of more than 65-70F. They must have a relatively high humidity, even in the winter.

Watering and Feeding:

Never let the fern dry out. Water it well, but do not let water remain in the saucer underneath. It doesn’t like standing with wet feet. Give the fern less water in winter. Being very sensitive plants, ferns prefer soft, lukewarm water to that directly from the faucet. Feed them from about March to August, but not in the winter. Mist often, but not directly -direct the spray on the soil and in the surrounding air.

See also  The Different Types of Greenhouse Plastics

Soil and Transplanting:

Like all other ferns, the Maidenhair Fern likes a loose, peaty soil. The best time for repotting is in the spring. Repot young plants every year, and older plants every 2-3 years.


If the fern is withered, it can be saved by cutting it right back. Normally the only grooming needed is to remove dead or spent leaves.


Get new plants by dividing the older plants. Another method is to use spores, but this is a little more difficult.


Give Maidenhair Fern a place by itself, in a bright location with no direct sun!

I hope you have enjoyed this thorough description of the wonderful Maidenhair Fern. As an avid gardener, I am sure you will enjoy it’s beauty as much as I do. Good luck to you!