Houseplant of the Week: Maidenhair Ferns

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maidenhair fern

Maidenhair Ferns are one of the many subspecies of the genus Adiantum, which means “unwetted,” a reference to the plant’s delicate, fan-like leaves, which naturally repel water.

It’s kind of ironic, however, because if Maidenhair Ferns love anything, it’s their moisture.  They thrive when they have moist (but not soggy) soil, moist air and a high level of humidity in their space.

So how to keep a Maidenhair Fern happy in high and dry northern Arizona? 

  • First of all, keep it in a spot with indirect sunlight. Naturally, these plants are found in forests, where they are covered by a canopy of trees. Direct sunlight will fry those delicate leaves. 
  • Also keep it away from heating or cooling vents in your house, which could dry it out.
  • Check on it every day or every other day to make sure the soil is moist. You do not want it to dry out. In fact, you might want to incorporate something like moss into the soil to help it retain water.
  • If daily misting is something you can’t do, consider setting your plant on a water-filled pebble tray.

You’ll be rewarded with a plant that is beautiful in all stages with its grey-green leaves providing a graceful addition to your home.

Some other things to keep in mind is that this is a slow-growing plant; most don’t reach full maturity until two or three years. Also, don’t panic when your plant’s fronds die. New ones will emerge to take their place – it’s a normal part of the process.