How to grow and care for Maidenhair Fern Indoors

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Houseplant, Maidenhair Fern

Botanical name: Adiantum raddianum
Synonmy: Adiantum cuneatum
Family: Pteridaceae

Maidenhair Fern also called Delta Maidenhair Fern bears wiry, shiny, dark stems which resemble human hair. The fronds are semi-erect in young plants but they droop as the plant ages. The fronds are small and have a lace-like appearance. The fern can grow to a height of 2 ft with a spread of 1-2 ft. These ferns have a delicate constitution. They require moist air, warmth and bright indirect light, which make them ideal for growing in a terrarium or a warm, humid bathroom.

The genus name is derived from the Greek word adiantos, meaning "unwetted" in reference to the leaves ability to repel water without being wetted. Maidenhair Fern is native to North America where they can be found growing on rocks and in between rocks around waterfalls where moisture seeping through sustains them.


How to Grow Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum) Indoors

Light for Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern thrives in bright indirect light. Keep your Maidenhair Fern away from direct sunlight as it can scorch the fronds. Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Maidenhair Fern

For optimum growth of your Maidenhair Fern, keep the soil consistently moist at all times, never allow it to dry out. Reduce watering during cold months.

Avoid having soggy soil as it can lead to rot in your Maidenhair Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil if free-draining. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Maidenhair Fern

Average warmth between 18-250C is ideal for your Maidenhair Fern. Protect the fern from draughts; it requires consistent warmth. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern requires high humidity. Set your Maidenhair Fern on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Maidenhair Fern

Feed your Maidenhair Fern with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced. Avoid Nitrogen-rich fertilizer as it can cause brown leaf tips. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune Maidenhair Fern

Remove dead and damaged fronds from your Maidenhair Fern. As your fern ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain your fern looking neat and tidy.

How to repot Maidenhair Fern

Repot your Maidenhair Fern at the beginning of the growing season when it becomes overcrowded. One sign of an overcrowded fern is wilting leaves. Failure to repot an overcrowded Maidenhair Fern can result in death of the plant.

Repot your Maidenhair Fern into a pot that is 1 size larger than the current one and one that has drainage hole(s) to avoid having soggy soil. Use loose, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The fern can also be divided into several sections and which can then be potted individually.


How to Propagate Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

Maidenhair Fern can be propagated from spores or by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Maidenhair Fern by Plant Division

Carefully remove the fern from its pot and divide into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots.

Pot up these sections into individual pots. Place the pots in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Maidenhair Ferns are well established.

How to propagate Maidenhair Fern from Spores

Spores are brown dots on the underside of the fronds of your Maidehair Fern. When they ripen, the cases open and tiny dust-like spores fall out.

Cut the frond and place it on a piece of paper with spores side down. Allow time for the spores to fall out of the cases onto the piece of paper. The spores can also be obtained by shaking the frond occasionally.

Thinly spread the spores on moist soil and cover the set up with clear polythene to maintain humidity and warmth. Place the set up in a brightly lit area. The spores should sprout in 1-2 months. Allow the plants to be well established before transplanting.


Common problems in growing Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

  • Why are the leaves of my Maidenhair Fern curled, have brown leaf tips and are dropping?
  • The cause of curled leaves, brown leaf tips and leaf drop in your Maidenhair Fern is dry air. Raise humidity for your Maidenhair Fern. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

  • Why are the leaves of my Maidenhair Fern yellowing?
  • Soggy soil is the reason for yellowing leaves in your Maidenhair Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid having soggy soil.

  • Why are the leaves of my Maidenhair Fern wilting?
  • Wilting leaves in your Maidenhair Fern is an indication of overcrowding in the current pot resulting in underwatering of your fern. Repot the fern into a larger pot or divide it up for more plants.

  • Why is there excessive leaf drop in my Maidenhair Fern?
  • Leaflets drop in your Maidenhair Fern is indicative of underwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Do not leave the soil to dry out completely.


  • Why are there brown shells scattered on the fronds of my Maidenhair Fern?
  • The brown shells scattered on the fronds of your Maidenhair Fern is an indication of an infestation by Scales. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants.

  • Which plant pests attack Maidenhair Fern?
  • Common pests in Maidenhair Fern are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants.

Is Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum) toxic?

Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum raddianum) are non-toxic to humans and pets. The Ferns are safe to grow indoors.

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