If you are trying to find an interesting looking plant that isn’t boring and a typical choice for an indoor space than Maidenhair fern might be a good option for you.
Caring for Maidenhair fern is not the easiest thing to do since it requires more of your attention and time than some other indoor plants do, but it is a process with an amazing outcome since it gives you a wonderful plant with lush foliage.
This species can be grown both indoor and outdoor, but I will be focusing on how to grow maidenhair fern indoor.
What is Maidenhair Fern
Before we get into details, let us first cover some basic information about this plant, such as its background, origin, other species, etc.
This plant belongs to a genus called Adiantum that counts more than 250 species of this lacy plant with bright green leaves. There is an interesting fact about the name origin and it is that the word “adiantum” was derived from a Greek word that means “unwetted”.
This is because these ferns possess fronds that can shed water when touched by it and stay dry – pretty unbelievable, huh?
Another fun fact is the origin of the name “maidenhair fern”. It is a few centuries old and comes from the fact that this plant contains aromatic oil that used to be used as a shampoo.
Another name used for this plant is “five-fingered fern” because its fronts are shaped and positioned in a manner that resembles five fingers.
Its stems are dark brown or black and they were cut and used as a dye a few centuries ago or for creating -that is weaving baskets.
Maidenhair fern also has healing characteristics and was utilized by Native Americans to stop bleeding and cover the wounds.
Species of this genus grow in many parts of the world, from tropics to places with the continental and harsh climate, from areas with gorgeous and rich nature to rock walls.
They are the most diverse in the Andes in South America, but also in Asia, where there are more than 40 different species. Another place with many different species in New Zealand with 10 of them.
The most common species are Adiantum tenerum, adiantum capillus-veneris, adiantum raddianum, adiantum hispidulum, and adiantum pedatum.
How to Grow Maidenhair Fern
View this post on Instagram
Most people are either a fern person or they’re not. Well I guess the secret is out now… I am. I bought two of these guys last year.. They have the most tiny delicate little leaves I have yet to find on a #maidenhairfern one of the two didn’t make it and this one almost died completely until I changed around my care for him but now he’s one of the easiest plants I own (if you can look past the part where I water him every 3-4 days) but that’s literally the only extra requirement. —— wall hanging by @vida_and_luz #fern #houseplants #houseplantsofinstagram #therealhouseplantsofinstagram #fronds #flauntyourleaves #greenyourfeed #trailingthingsthursday #interiorrewilding #discovertheplantcommunity
If you decide to grow a maidenhair fern I bet you are probably tired of the most common plants, such as dieffenbachias, aloe veras, jade plants, etc and wish to try out something else.
This is why I recommend a Maidenhair fern – it will bring a wave of fresh air into your home, make it cozier and will add a sense of warmth to it. This is why people put plants into their living space most of the time in the first place.
These beautiful plants are quite sensitive to the amount of moisture they get and it can affect them in many ways – make them grow fast and strong or kill them if there is a serious deficit.
They love to be moist at all times and it is crucial that you check on them regularly – read every 1-2 days, depending on where the plant is located.
The next crucial aspect of the maidenhair fern care is the light you are supposed to provide for it. The trick is that it mustn’t be exposed to the direct light that will easily scorch it and possibly provide long-lasting damage.
This is why you should keep your maidenhair away from it in a sunny spot that has as much indirect light as possible.
A maidenhair fern will thrive in certain, but not all temperatures. The best range is between 16° and 26°Celsius (60-80° F). They can be higher than this, but should not go below the bottom limit of 16° Celsius (60°F).
If you take good care of your plant you can rest assured that you will be rewarded, as they can grow quite a bit, reaching one to three feet in height and one to two feet in width, creating a beautiful addition to your home or your garden.
How to Care of Maidenhair Fern
1. Soil makes a huge difference
Picking the right soil for your maidenhair fern is crucial for its successful growth and survival because they need pretty specific conditions. It is important that the mix you use has several qualities such as:
- Rich nutrition
- Very good permeability (means that soil transmits water and air very well)
- Lime deficiency (by lime I mean agricultural lime, that is also called aglime and is used as a soil conditioner and serves as a base that affects soil acidity) – too much lime will lessen acidity but can also affect potassium and magnesium amounts and cause their deficiencies
- Moderate moisture
- pH Value that is supposed to be between 6-7 (means that the soil should be moderately acidic)
Most of the time regular potting soil mixes won’t offer all of these characteristics and I suggest that you purchase a high-quality substrate. Substrates are quite loose and allow your plant’s tender roots to grow deep into it and penetrate it easily.
This loose structure is possible due to peat that is also included, besides all the nutrients.
In case you can’t get your hands on a high-quality substrate or don’t wish to use it for any reason, then I suggest you purchase a regular premium potting mix and modify it with the addition of sand or pearlite.
Either of these will change the soil structure enough to make it looser and well-draining.
These above-mentioned soil solutions go for smaller or medium maidenhair ferns, but the larger specimen should be planted in a substrate that contains clay.
Clay will, first of all, provide better stability for a large plant and its roots and will allow it to get more moisture during an extended period, because of its stores it better than clay-less soils.
It is important that you keep the soil moist at all times because maidenhair ferns must have large amounts of it!
The additional ingredient you could use is the compost that will help your plant receive even more nutrients and do it more efficiently. It will also help keep the moisture longer in the soil for plants to absorb.
I need to repeat once again that you should pay attention to the pH value of the potting mix/substrate you purchase because your plants hate alkaline soil (pH value larger than 8.5) or very acidic one (lower than pH 5). This soil has a structure that isn’t fit for maidenhair ferns and is common for dry areas, and as we said, these plants love moisture.
If you aren’t sure whether you offer your plant the right pH valued soil, feel free to use any pH test kit that will give you the precise result. These kits are inexpensive and quite easy to use.
2. They like Certain Temperature
Maidenhair ferns aren’t very picky when it comes to temperature and grow successfully in different conditions, however, they prefer constant temperatures that vary between 16° and 27° Celsius (60-80°F).
This is luckily quite achievable in most homes, thus one of the crucial elements for the maidenhair ferns’ growth indoor is quite certain.
If you plan to nurture this beauty outside in your garden there is great news again, and those are that it will survive in colder conditions than most other plants would.
Temperatures can go as low as 10°C (50°F) and these plants will continue to grow. It’s interesting to know that some of the species are even frost-resistant!
In case that the weather becomes worse and you don’t bring the plant inside, it will get damaged and the leaves will become brown and enter the dormant phase (pretty much stop growing and shut down most processes), but its bulb will survive.
This means that once you take it inside to better conditions, it will continue its growth and have new shoots.
As you offer good temperature conditions, make sure to offer humidity as well to your plant, since it enjoys air that is around 60% humid. To provide this you can put it in the bathroom every few days when you are showering or mist it daily.
3. Light Is Crucial As Well
Maidenhair fern isn’t fans of direct and strong light, just like most of the other plants. This is because they can get burns and suffer serious damages due to the strong UV radiation. Their fronds are quite tender and even though they must have light, it shouldn’t direct.
The best place to pick is a sunny window inside your home, a sunny spot on the floor near a glass door, or a sunshade in your garden. It is even better if these spots are bright for many hours during the day.
4. The Right Pot Makes a Difference
Nowadays there are so many different kinds of pots you could use as a home for your plant, but before picking the prettiest one that matches your interior, please pay attention to the material, as it will have an impact on its growth.
The best way to go about planting a maidenhair fern is to keep it in its original plastic pot and place it inside an outer cachepot that should never be made of clay! Clay pots cause the soil to dry quicker than other materials do, and that is the last thing you want for your fern.
Watering Maidenhair Fern
If I had to pick what the most important aspect of maidenhair fern care is, I would have to say that watering has a huge effect on it.
You can, for example, use a regular potting mix and have a normal looking plant that might lose a bit more fronds than usual or even place it in direct light for several hours a day and not burn it, however, if you play with watering, that is where problems will arise.
The key to caring for this plant is to always keep the soil quite moist. When you are about to water it, take the plastic pot with the plant to the sink (if you can) and water it abundantly for 20-30 seconds.
You should let the plant sit in it, so the water drips out and doesn’t get soggy.
If you water your plant and move it immediately back to the cachepot without letting the excess water drip out, you will do your plant a wrong favor. Sogginess will most likely cause its roots to grow mold and rot eventually.
Many other plants dislike being in soggy soil, thus if you already grow any, you are probably familiar with this.
A piece of advice I would offer is to not have a watering schedule, because it can easily happen that you forget about it. It is better to touch the soil every 1-2 days and make sure that the majority of it is pretty moist.
If you even get a feeling that it is a tad too try, then water it right away. There is nothing worse than seeing your fern turn into a crispy monster.
If you still aren’t sure when to water the plant, these tips might be helpful:
- If the surface of the soil or the substrate is dry to touch it is time for watering
- If you see the fronds getting dry and crunchy, it is time for watering
- The best water to use is rainwater or distilled water that has no lime
- If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight don’t ever water it, because it can get burnt
- If your maidenhair fern has gone through a serious drought period feel free to take the whole root ball and put it in a glass of water
In case you would love to grow maidenhair fern, but are not home as much and are afraid that it won’t get enough water, I suggest that you obtain a self-watering pot.
Thanks to this invention you will be able to be away for several days without having to worry about your little friends. This is also a good option for anyone who lives a busy life and doesn’t spend much time at home.
Proper Lighting for Adiantum
Just like human beings aren’t supposed to sit in direct sunlight for a longer period, especially without sunscreen, the same goes for most of the plants – except there is no cream for them.
They need lots of light to keep the photosynthesis process going and its nutrition along with it. But, it’s important to know that this light isn’t supposed to be focused directly on a fern’s tender leaves that can easily get burned and fall off.
The best place to pick for this plant is the one that offers some shade, such a window with a curtain or a bathroom sink that gets sunlight for several hours per day. Well-lit bathrooms are wonderful spots for plants as they offer more moisture and an easy spot to water your plant fast and easy.
It is good to know that maidenhair ferns are low-maintenance when it comes to lighting, however, but don’t get the “low-light-plant” part wrong. Many people purchase these kinds and then place them in a room without a window and wonder why fronds are falling off and the plant is dying.
If you don’t wish to play with the lighting and risk burning your plant, the best time to expose it to is in the early morning or during the evening sun, when the radiation is not as strong.
Also, please make sure to rotate the plant (if it is in a pot), because failing to do so will cause only one side to grow and eventually bend towards the opposite.
The best rotation schedule is to move it for a quarter turn every few days.
Fertilizing Maidenhair Fern
Fertilization is an extremely important process for many plants because, via it, they receive much-needed nutrients that they can’t produce insufficient amounts on their own. This goes especially for indoor plants that live in pots and solely depend on your care and the nutrients you provide for them.
Each plant has its requirements and that is the case with maidenhair ferns as well. If you decide to fertilize them you need to be very careful and fertilize it moderately, because any exaggeration can cause it to die quite fast.
There are four crucial chemical elements that allow your plant to “work” properly and conduct all the processes crucial for its growth and survival.
- Nitrogen: This extremely important element is part of the chlorophyll molecule that gives the plant its green color and takes part in the photosynthesis process, though which every plant creates food for itself and emits oxygen. When a plant lacks nitrogen it will show in its leaves turning yellow.
- Phosphorus: This is the key ingredient of every ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecule that is the main source of energy for every major process in plants.
- Potassium: Potassium is the element that affects your plant’s growth in any way possible – its stem and root size, shape, color, reproduction, etc. It is the main source of energy for many processes that couldn’t happen without it.
- Magnesium: This element is a “powerhouse” for the process of photosynthesis.
Almost all fertilizers will offer these elements or their combination to help your plant grow better, bigger and with lusher foliage.
Maidenhair Fern Fertilizer – pH value is crucial
Each plant can have various benefits from the fertilization for obvious reasons, but this has to be done carefully. One of the first things you need to pay attention to before the fertilization process is the right pH value of the soil.
The most important substance that will help you achieve the right one is limestone because it serves as a soil conditioner.
The explanation is the following: Many ferns that are found in the US and 6-10 hardiness zones and they prefer mildly acidic soil. However, maidenhair ferns are different from their relatives, because they don’t tolerate high acidity, thus their soil needs to have higher pH levels.
This is exactly what the limestone does – it changes the pH value of highly acidic soils, making them fit for these plants. The optimal pH value for maidenhair ferns is 7.2.
View this post on Instagram
Such a fragile beauty, so hard to keep her happy..but I’m in for a challenge 💪🏼 tips? . , . . . #adiantumraddianum #adiantum #venushaar #fern #fragile #kamerplanten #houseplantlover #instaplants #plantsofinstagram #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantmamamania #plantparenthood #plantaddiction #plantlovers #plantcollector #ihavethisthingwithplants #plantslover #plantstagram #flauntyourleaves #plantcollector #houseplantplantclub #plantparent #houseplantjunkie #livingwithplants #urbanjungle #greenthumb #groenevingers #plantlovercommunity #urbanjungleblogger #kamerplantenliefde #maidenhairfern
Another benefit of using limestone is the fact that it fights the acidifying effect of the peat moss that is often added to the soil.
If you choose to purchase limestone, you will find two options: calcitic and dolomitic limestone. The first option is used in the majority of cases, for both indoor and outdoor ferns, unless your plant is located in the soil low on magnesium. In that case, purchase the dolomitic limestone.
If your maidenhair ferns are potted and the soil is acidic, you should use 1 tablespoon for each gallon of potting mix. Another gallon should consist of peat moss, potting soil, manure, charcoal, and sand.
In another case- if you are nurturing your plants outside and you need to adjust the pH value you should use 5 pounds of limestone in a 1000 square-foot area for each one degree you need to raise soil’s pH value.
For example, if the value is 5.5 you will need to add 10 pounds of limestone to move to 7.5.
Maidenhair Fern Fertilizer – Does It Need It and When Exactly?
As I already said, fertilizers can bring your plant many benefits, but they are not crucial for its growth, especially for the indoor small specimen. Small plants can do well on their own and don’t need extra nutrition most of the time.
However, if you purchase a baby plant, feel free to give it a little “push” this way, so it can start growing faster and better.
Another good time to apply fertilizers is when your maidenhair fern wakes up from the dormant phase which lasts during fall and winter and is supposed to continue its growth. During this time, at the beginning of spring additional nutrients can be quite beneficial.
Also, if you see your plant’s leaves turning brown (and you know you’ve been vigilant with watering and offering enough sunlight and moisture) it most likely needs some additional nutrients and helps with restoring its previous shape.
Types of Maidenhair Fern Fertilizers
1. Organic Fertilizer
This is an amazing option in case you don’t wish to “poison” your plant(s) with products heavy on chemicals and additives. They are especially good as they don’t cause any buildups, which is the cause of the chemical fertilizers.
Mineral or salt buildups don’t happen as often in nature and can harm your plant. One of the ways they in which they affect the plants are that they weaken them and make them more susceptible to diseases and insects.
This harmful effect most often occurs when people take things in their own hands and use more fertilizer than the instruction manual suggests.
They think like this: “Oh wow, this fertilizer is working and my maidenhair fern is flourishing, let’s add some more to improve the growth even more” – but this is very wrong! There are only so many nutrients and boost that your fern needs and anything beyond a certain dosage will do much more harm than good, reversing the effect.
TIP: Before you apply the organic (or any other) fertilizer, please make sure to water the maidenhair fern, because doing so on the dry soil can be damaging to it and burn it.
View this post on Instagram
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, however, I was able to find time this week (whilst in iso with the whole world) to take some pics of my beautiful variegated MHF!! 🌿 (Swipe to see her in full). . Received her on Valentine’s Day and she’s been thriving since then. 💚 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #maidenhairfern #adiantum #variegatedmaidenhair #variegatedmaidenhairfern #adiantumraddianum #divaplant #fussyplant #plantlover #plantsofinstagram #plantaesthetic #foliage_love #foliagetherapy #leafphotography #crazyplantlady #crazyplantpeople #crazyplantrichasian #urbanjunglebloggers #greenisthenewblack #plantsmakepeoplehappy #pottedjungle #plantoftheday #fernsofinstagram #greenyourfeed #templextribe #leafporn
2. Pellet Fertilizer
Pellet fertilizer is another kind of fertilizer that is created by mixing poultry waste and additional elements, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, etc, depending on your plant’s needs. You should apply it by sprinkling an instructed amount on top of the soil, or substrate.
Pellet fertilizer is used for larger maidenhair fern specimens and the ones growing outside. Thus, it might not be the option for smaller ones, however, I still recommend it if you are unable to purchase other kinds.
They are usually applied for longer periods, such as one year and provide deep and long nutrition and you don’t have to worry about it if you travel. You can combine this way of feeding with self-watering pots and not have to worry about it as much.
TIP: Please don’t use fertilizers if you’ve just repotted your maidenhair fern since it takes several weeks to recover from that shock.
3. Liquid Fertilizer
Many professional plant growers use this form of fertilizer since it gives the fastest result and is the strongest. But, this is where the danger lies – they are sold as concentrates that need to be diluted and failing to do so right can easily cause your plant to shrivel and die.
Please be careful while reading the instruction and applying the right amount. You are supposed to use a tablespoon per gallon of water in most cases.
TIP: I suggest that you use a balanced, liquid fertilizer while your plant is in a growing phase. Water-soluble fertilizer is another suggestion.
Also, try first with ½ of the instructed dosage and see how your plant reacts. This trial serves to prevent your maidenhair fern from nutrient intoxication. Afterward, you can start adding more until you reach the instructed amount.
Adiantum Aethiopicum Pruning
View this post on Instagram
I've been thinking of making an IGTV video on maidenhair care for a while now. Since this plant can be brandished as impossible to grow or temperamental, plus there being a lot of odd care instructions and misinformation out there and i'd love to help clarify how we care for these stunning plants! Please feel free to drop any questions you have below or into my direct message box and i'd love to help answer them in the video. #maidenhairfern #houseplantclub #plantherapy #botanicalpickmeup #plantsarefriends #indoorplants #rareplants #urbanjunglebloggers #indoorgreen #plantsofinstagram #foliage #plantlife #leafsupply #horticulturaltherapy #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantenabler #interiorrewildling #aussieplantclub #melbourneplantclub #botanicaldesign #urbanbotany #urbanjungle #lostinplantopia
Does your Maidenhair Fern Need Pruning?
Pruning is usually an easy and simper process that requires you to cut and remove overgrown, dry and sick branches and/or stems to help and encourage your plant to grow faster and better.
If you let your plant grow alone it might become overgrown and too bushy, causing it to lose much energy and nutrients on these large parts that don’t flatter its shape.
Due to this, smaller ones don’t get as much food as they need. This is where you step in, so yes – your dear plant needs pruning.
Your maidenhair fern will naturally get rid of old fronds and you will see the process as they become yellow, then brown and eventually crunchy and dry. Don’t panic when you see this, as frond turnover is a normal process and it is okay as long as the turnover isn’t much bigger than the growth of new ones.
When you see dry and old fronds you can simply remove them from the base of the plant where they usually appear.
However, if you see leaves that are showing signs of disease, you should follow several easy steps to remove them.
- Wear gloves: just like procedures aren’t performed with bare hands on humans and animals, they shouldn’t be done on plants either. Please wear gloves before cutting stems and leaves of your plant, because doing otherwise can cause its infection.
- Clean the instrument: No matter if you are using sharp scissors or a knife, please clean them with alcohol before cutting your maidenhair fern.
- Water afterward: Always water your plant after pruning, especially if you had to remove many leaves due to a disease. This way it will recover much faster from this.
Maidenhair Fern Propagation
If you have a wonderful and lush specimen in your home or garden I assume you would like to propagate it and grow more of these beauties. There are two ways to go about this process and both are quite simple and easy-achievable no matter how new you are to it.
One way is division and the second one is via sowing and you are about to read about both of them.
The best time for propagation is during spring, which is the beginning of the growth period for most of the plants and it is when they are most active.
1. Propagation by Division
A large and lush specimen can be easily and quite successfully propagated by its division. As I already mentioned, this should be done in the spring when plants start their growth period.
You should follow the following steps:
- Remove the fern from the soil: Put your gloves on and get ready to remove the plant from the soil. If it is located in a pot it might be stuck to its walls, so in this case, you will have to take a sharp knife and work your way around the walls. This way you will detach the roots from the pot and don’t worry if you cut some of them, it is inevitable.
- Inspect the roots: Now that you have removed the root ball from the soil it is time to remove excess dirt from the roots as you are getting ready to cut them into several parts. This is also a great time to inspect them, which is also done during the repotting process.
- Cut the root ball: You can now cut the root ball into several segments, as long as each one of them has at least three fronds.
- Plant each root section: At this point, you are supposed to take each section and plant it individually in a pot that is filled with a high-quality substrate. The mentioned substrate will help your new fern grow fast and strong. These pots shouldn’t be much bigger than each root section, as it can adjust and form easily in them.
- Take care of it as always: Now that you have several, new maidenhair semi-baby ferns take care of them just like you have before of their mother. It is crucial that you water them regularly and abundantly so they recover from the trauma.
2. Propagation by Sowing
This is the second way for maidenhair fern propagation. In case you don’t have enough fronds and are dealing with a smaller specimen in general, then I suggest you use this method. Sowing means that you will propagate your plant via some of the spores ferns are famous for.
As you probably already know, spores are tiny brown sacks found around the leaves’ edges.
The timing for sowing is right when sori start appearing. Sori are tiny dark spots that appear on the undersides of leaf tips, which means your fern is about to start producing spores. This is the period to propagate your plant, as you will use spores after they are created.
You should follow the following steps:
- Cut one/several fronds – Instead or removing the root ball from the soil and cutting it, you will use sharp knife or scissors (previously disinfected) to cut one or several fronds (in case your fern is large and rich)
- Place fronds on a piece of paper: The next step is to place each frond between two pieces of paper so they can dry. You should keep them like this for a week. After this period (or less) you will that the spores have fallen off the leaves.
- Place the spores in a pot: You should now take the spores from each frond and place them in a small pot previously filled with a high-quality substrate or with cultivation soil.
- Use vermiculite: After you have done this, cover the top layer with vermiculite that is used as a growing medium. Water the pot afterward and then cover it with a plastic film to create a small greenhouse. Do this for every pot.
- Keep the pot in a bright place: This place shouldn’t be in the direct light, as it will damage the growth.
- The wait time: After several weeks you will see baby ferns emerging from the soil, yay!
- Repotting: When your baby ferns reach the size of 5-6cm (2-2.5″) it is safe to repot them in bigger pots that will be their new homes until they outgrow them.
Repotting Maidenhair Fern
View this post on Instagram
I’ve named this one Paris cos she’s a bit high maintenance. She copped a bit of a beating this summer with all the crazy hot days but after a bit of a trim and some cooler weather she’s looking her glamorous self again. Super cute pot is from @zenlivingmornington #maidenhairfern #birdpot #crazyplantlady #indoorplant #houseplantsofig
Repotting is the process of moving your plant to another, most of the time bigger pot because it has outgrown the old one. Plants grow in their pace and after a certain period, they will need to “move to a new home”, because their roots start to get cramped and the plant suffers, being unable to grow properly.
The first time when you have to repot your maidenhair fern is after you purchase it in a small container. You will probably wish to move it to a bigger container and place it in a cachepot.
The next time you will do this is after several months, depending on how fast it grows and how big of a specimen it is.
The best time to do perform this action is in the spring and summer when your maidenhair fern is in the growth period.
However, it is no big of a mistake if you do it in fall or winter, especially if you can monitor the plant more often. But, it is general practice to do it when the weather is warmer.
The sole transplantation process is quite simple. I suggest that you follow these steps:
1. Water Your Maidenhair fern
A few days before this process, it is best that you apply much water (a bit more than usual) as it will prepare the roots for the “trauma” that is about to occur. Never try to repot a plant when it’s dry (plus your maidenhair fern should never be dry!).
2. Take It Out of the Pot
Take the container and start pressing it to loosen up the root ball in it. If the roots and soil are stuck onto the walls, take a sharp knife and work your way around the pot walls. This way you will detach the roots easily and cut some of them as well.
3. Get Rid Of the Excess Dirt
This is an optional step that is done with some plants. By shaking the roots and removing excess dirt with your hands you remove the old soil and prepare the plant for its new and fresh start in a new pot.
Take time to examine the roots and if you see any signs of disease, such as white spots or soggy root ends, remove them.
4. Move the Plant to the New Pot
After the previous step moves the plant to its new “home” previously filled with a high-quality substrate or a premium potting mix. It is important that the new pot is a size larger than the previous one.
Taking Care of Your Maidenhair Fern after Repotting
View this post on Instagram
It's #sadplantsunday and today I wanted to show you this sad #maidenhairfern. It's been struggling for the past year, because I haven't known how to care for it. I honestly almost gave up and threw it in the trash!! (I know, what a bad #plantparent 😬.) Now that I'm learning to have fun with plants and not stress about "watering/overwatering," this guy is wanting to thrive again. I kept the dead foliage for you to see that sometimes it takes getting old things to die for new growth to emerge 💕 All things shall pass… I bet that's what made this guy persevere despite my lack of knowledge, and I want that to be my mantra during these days to come as well. It might be Sad Plant Sunday, but there are new days ahead 🌱 PS: this super cute pot is from @shoppigment #sadplantsofinstagram #interiorrewilding #plant #plantlady #plantladylife #houseplantclub #houseplants #greem #growth #newgrowth #fern #ferns #sad #therearenewdaysahead #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantsofinstagram #housepots #cutepots
Repotting is always a somewhat stressful process for each plant and you can even see their reaction to it, such as becoming a bit dry.
This reaction depends on a species and may not even occur. However, to prevent it, make sure to place your maidenhair fern in a sunny spot (not direct light), water it regularly and use some compost in the soil mix that will add more nutrients to it. I suggest that you apply charcoal as well.
It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for your plant to become fully accommodated to its new pot.
Maidenhair Fern Problems and Solutions
There are several quite common and annoying problems that many maidenhair fern growers face. Here are some of them along with several effective solutions that should help you get rid of any in case you have them.
1. Maidenhair Fern Leaves Curling Up
Lack of humidity can affect your plant in several ways, such as its leaves turning brown or curling up and drying up. If your maidenhair fern is located near an air vent or in a room with dry air, it will for sure start drying up and will die eventually.
Thus, it needs to be placed in a room with good air circulation and humid air. Some of the other solutions are to group your plants, mist the fern with a spray bottle or use a humidifier.
2. Maidenhair Fern Leaves Turning Brown
Lack of humidity
This is a common problem if you keeping your plant in a room with dry air. You might not find the air dry, but your maidenhair fern is extremely sensitive to it and might react this way.
Try to place it in a more humid room, such as your bathroom, especially if there is a window in it and see if any change occurs.
You could also try to use other above-mentioned solutions or place your plant in a terrarium that has a fun design and can be open or closed. A closed terrarium will create a whole micro-climate for your plant.
There is too much direct sunlight
Another reason for brown leaves could be more direct sunlight than needed. You might have to try several spots for your plant before finding the optimal one. It needs to have enough sunlight (several hours per day) but it mustn’t be direct.
You are facing a pest problem
If the leaves are turning brown you could be facing a more serious problem and those are pests. They occur due to the improper plant care, so you might wish to inspect your practice and see if you’ve been doing anything wrong. Some of the most common pests are aphelenchoides, aphids and spider mites.
Aphelenchoides are pests that enter your plant via water and misting your fern too often can cause them to enter the stem and leaves, infecting the plant even more. If this occurs you should stop spraying the leaves right away and apply the pest control products accordingly.
Aphids are tiny white animals that crawl all over your fern and are found on the leaves most of the time. In case the infestation has just begun you won’t see many of them and a hard water jet can help. However, if they are all over your fern, you should apply a soapy solution right away by spraying it over the plant.
Spider mites look similar to aphids, however, they are found under the leaves that lose their color over time. If you see any on your fern, it is best to apply a pest control product or place your plant in a transparent plastic bag that will cause them to die.
At this time you still need to water the fern, but seal it back right away afterward.
1. Does watering a maidenhair fern with black tea give results?
I’ve heard of this practice many times because adding used black tea leaves to the soil is supposed to add extra tannins to it. I tested this as well, but have never seen any specific results, nor have I read serious articles that prove this.
Maidenhair ferns grow in soils that are rich with moisture and nutrients, which means they contain a lot of tannins as well. Thus, adding more tanning is not necessary, but won’t cause any harm either. You could give it a try for sure.
2. Why is my maidenhair fern growing so slowly?
This is a complex question, as many aspects of care need to be taken into consideration: soil, watering, light, fertilizer, humidity, diseases, etc.
Please inspect each of the steps that you’ve been taking and make any possible adjustments. Only with thorough analysis and changes, you will be able to see if the final results are changing.
3. Can I propagate my maidenhair fern via cuttings?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Although there are many plants that can easily be propagated via this method, such as common house plants dieffenbachias, it is not the case with these ferns. They only offer the two, above-mentioned options – division and sowing.
4. My fern is growing dark sport around leaves’ edges. What do I do?
If you are new to growing ferns, you are probably quite confused and worried when looking at these spots, but there is no need to worry! Those spots and later on sacks are spores via which ferns are reproduced! If you see spores then those are amazing news, since it means you are doing an amazing job. Just keep up the good work!
Here we are at the end of my maidenhair fern care article. I hope you find it helpful and that it gives you the necessary insight to mastering the care of these tender beauties.
I hope you are now encouraged to grow ferns if you are not doing it already. Mastering this is a simple and fun process that will reward you with lush and decorative plants for your living or working space.
Just keep in mind that your maidenhair ferns must have enough sunlight, even though they are plants with low light requirements, they love humidity (around 60% in the ambient air), they should be kept in a premium soil mix, or high-quality substrate.
Fertilization is optional, but advised, especially if they are pot-grown. Most importantly, they need to be watered almost every day, as this gives them the lush foliage and if you opt for growing ferns, but can’t keep up with daily watering, please provide them with self-watering pots.
I wish you the best of look in this endeavor and lots of fun!Follow us on: