Photo by Alec Perez
The Maidenhair fern, known for its luscious locks and elegant hair-do, has the reputation of being difficult to care for with their diva-like demands! Maidenhair ferns require more attention than our recently featured Elephant Ear so if you’re a very attentive plant parent, this is the perfect plantie to add to your collection.
Confession: this is my 4th attempt at a Maidenhair fern and so far we’re thriving! Her sisters before her did not die in vain though, and because of their service, I learned many important lessons in keeping your Maidenhair fern happy!
Photo by Alec Perez
GET THE GREEN: Maidenhair fern belongs to the Adiantum genus of over 200 varieties. The common and most popular is Adiantum raddianum, which can be found in most big box stores and nurseries.
WATER: Simply, yes. Water this plantie. Keep the soil moist, not soggy which requires a little trial and error. An easy way to learn your plantie’s watering needs is to lift the plant and feel how heavy it is when the soil is moist and not soggy vs. when the soil is on the dryer side and it is lighter.
FERTILIZER: Bi-weekly or once a month with a balanced fertilizer. As a general rule of thumb, dilute your fertilizer by half the recommended amount so that you don’t burn or over-fertilize your plantie.
TEMPERATURE: Ideal indoor temps range from 60 F (15 C) to 72 F (22 C). You may notice the tips of the leaves browning if you run your air conditioning or heat regularly — see below on how to remedy that situation!
HUMIDITY: This plantie will take all the humidity, please!! Give your plantie the best chance at thriving by placing it in high humidity situations — think bathrooms, on a pebble tray, or placed by a humidifier. I found that misting isn’t as helpful in the long run as it doesn’t maintain a consistent level of humidity needed to keep your plantie happy — unless you like misting multiple times throughout the day!
SUNLIGHT: Maidenhair ferns enjoy shadier settings, medium to low light is ideal. Avoid placing your plant in bright or direct sunlight will cause the soil to dry out faster and the plant to burn.
PLACEMENT: Style your maidenhair fern with other high humidity plants by bunching it around a humidifier! Or place it a few feet away from a west-facing window on a pebble tray. Again, these planties love bathrooms and will thrive in any post-shower time boosts in humidity.
Photo by Alec Perez
PROPAGATION: Once your Maidenhair fern has grown bushy and lush, you can propagate it by division. Remove your plantie from its nursery pot or planter and loosen the soil a little. Using a clean sharp knife, cut it down the middle or into however many sections you want. Repot the plantie in well-draining soil and make sure to water it thoroughly.
EXTRA CREDIT: Give your Maidenhair fern a trim every now and then for a more lush and bushy look!
In my experience, Maidenhair ferns brown and wilt quickly. Do not be alarmed, with a couple adjustments in its daily care you can give your plantie a second chance at thriving. Cut off all the dead or drying stems as close to the soil as possible, place it in an area with high humidity, and maintain a consistent watering schedule to keep the soil moist. With a little patience — honestly, and hope — it will sprout new fronds in no time!
CAUTION: Like most ferns, this plantie is pet-friendly. Just keep it away from reach as the leaves are delicate.
GET THE LOOK: Since Maidenhair Ferns require small frequent waterings, we suggest planting it in the Kaya 3-piece Ceramic Planter by Justina Blakeney. The drainage hole ensures that any excess water will pass through the soil. While the extended base is a dream as it keeps the bottom of the pot away from any excess water that may pool in the tray and be reabsorbed leading to root rot. For the overachievers, add some pebbles to the mix to make a dual purpose pebble + catch tray. Then complete the ensemble by adding the Phoenix Wallpaper in Naturale by Justina Blakeney to your space for more Jungalow vibes!