Plant of the month

Maidenhair Fern: Delicate Beauty for Your Indoor Garden


With their paper-thin, finely cut, emerald-green foliage and wispy appearance, maidenhair ferns appear almost ethereal. In keeping with their princess-like good looks, maidenhair ferns are temperamental. For successful maidenhair fern indoor care, give these plants some extra tender loving care.


Maidenhair fern watering


Your most important task for keeping your maidenhair fern alive and well is frequent watering. Keep the soil constantly moist, but not soggy. If allowed to try out, maidenhair ferns are not forgiving. Even if they only slightly dry out, the plants can perish. While some plants, like peace lily, spring back to life after watering, maidenhair collapses and usually dies.


Maidenhair fern closeup-2A

(Photo: Julie Bawden-Davis,



During hot, dry weather or in homes with forced air heating, maidenhair ferns will dry out more quickly. To prevent maidenhair fern wilting, check the plant daily to see if it requires watering. To further help keep maidenhair fern from drying out, mulch with a one-inch layer of shredded bark.


Maidenhair fern light requirements


Maidenhair fern requires medium lighting. Bright, direct light can burn the plant’s tender foliage and may cause it to dry out. Keep the plant three to four feet away from a southern or eastern window, or grow near a northern window. Avoid western windows, as they tend to dry out plants quickly and are likely to burn foliage.


Temperature and humidity for maidenhair fern


Keep maidenhair fern in a room that stays 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. The fern does poorly in cold conditions—especially below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Maidenhair fern also requires humid conditions. If you live in a dry climate, grow maidenhair fern next to other plants, as they will humidify one another. Also place the plants over a humidity tray, and if you are around the plant during the day, mist it frequently.



Maidenhair fern full view-2A                           

 (Photo: Julie Bawden-Davis, Healthy


Maidenhair fern fertilizer


Feed maidenhair fern with a half-strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer. Apply throughout the year on a monthly basis. Also place on the surface of the soil under the mulch worm castings, which will help keep the soil moist and provide the plant with important micronutrients, as well as feed the good bacteria in the soil.


Maidenhair fern repotting


Because they do poorly when they dry out, it’s important to report your maidenhair fern before it becomes root bound. You’ll know this has occurred when water runs through the pot quickly and it requires water much more often than it did before.


Maidenhair fern soil


Provide these delicate ferns with rich, fertile soil. Accomplish this by getting a high-quality potting soil and amending it by 25 percent with worm compost.


Now that you know the secrets to maidenhair fern indoor care, you can make sure that your plant stays healthy and as gorgeous as the first day you brought it home.





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