Maidenhair Fern Likes Shady Corners

Maidenhair fern view of delicate, lacy green fronds

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum tenerum )  is  one of  the most common indoor ferns with  its delicate, lacy light  green  fronds and slender black stalks.

When grown indoors, the new foliage is often tinged with a delicate pink color, but it turns a brilliant green as it matures.   

Also called the  fan fern  with  leaflets  individualized by deep notches  and  fluted edges.

This supple fern with its large cascading fronds can grow  up to 2 feet (60 cm) before it begins to arch and dip.

You can successfully grow this plant indoors  by imitating the damp cool air of a tropical rainforest. 

A lighted terrarium is ideal for this type of plant because of the moisture.   Provide humidity by placing it on a humidity tray;  however,  a room humidifier will be better.  

Decorate With Maidenhair Fern

The maidenhair fern likes shady corners and can add a touch of freshness and elegance to your living room or any interior space.  Pick a decorative pot or planter that complements your living room's aesthetics.  Place the fern in a corner near a window or a well-lit area away from direct sunlight would be ideal.

maidenhair fern lush and thick in beautiful yellow flowerpot

How to Care for Your Maidenhair Fern

Light:  Medium to high light (near bright east window).  Make sure you provide at least  moderate light and  keep out of direct sunlight  to avoid scalding the leaves.  These ferns do best in a north-facing window.

Temperature:  60 to 65 degrees F during the day and 50 to 55 degrees F at night. Can tolerate  45 degrees F without damage.  Provide the right conditions so ensure your living room stays within this range. Avoid placing the fern near drafts or air conditioning vents, as they prefer stable conditions.

Water:  Keep the potting mixture moist at all times, but not saturated.  Water  thoroughly, then allow the soil to drain and empty excess water.  From  September to March, very little water should be given because the plant becomes dormant.  This is their resting period; therefore the soil must never  be allowed to dry out.

Humidity:  High (40 % or more).  The best way to keep the air consistently moist is to use a room humidifier.  Keep plant out of drafts and dry air to prevent  dried out , parched  leaves  with brown tips.   Ferns thrive in high humidity, so misting the leaves with water once or twice a week can help create a suitable environment.  Also, placing a tray filled with water near the plant can  increase the humidity.

Fertilization: Apply every 2 to 3 months during active growth  otherwise apply every 4 months.   Apply liquid houseplant fertilizer at about one-half the recommended rate. 

Propagation:  Start  new plant by  using spores and divisions of  the old  plant. Divisions should have at least 4 fronds for best results.

Repotting:  Repot in winter or early spring when needed in  a sterilized potting mix that drains well. The  potting mix should retain moisture but does not become waterlogged.   You can find pre-mixed fern-specific soil at your local garden center, or you can create a mix using equal parts peat moss, perlite, and regular potting soil.  

How to Plant the Fern:   Carefully remove the maidenhair fern from its nursery pot, gently loosen the roots, and place it into the new container. Adjust the depth so that the fern sits at the same level as before. Fill the gaps with the prepared soil, pat it down gently, and ensure the plant is stable.

Common Problems:   Salt damage can be a common problem for container grown plants.   Roots can be damaged by dry soil and high levels of salt buildup.   Leach excess salts from the soil  with  water.  If  edges of fronds turn brown or plant wilts, raise humidity.  You can also group  your maidenhair fern with other plants.

Maintenance: Regularly check the soil moisture and water accordingly. Avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to dry out completely. Remove any yellow or brown leaves to keep the fern looking fresh. Additionally, you can fertilize the fern monthly during the growing season with a diluted houseplant fertilizer.

Remember to monitor the fern's health and make adjustments as needed. Enjoy the beauty that the maidenhair fern brings to your living room!