There are many species of Maidenhair Fern and all are dainty, beautiful plants. Good varieties are cuneaturn decorum and williamsii. The foliage of tiny, clear green leaves, often heart-shaped, held on fine delicate stems, and cascading over the sides of the pot, make this fern the perfect foil for other plants.


  • Growing season 12-15 °C (53-60 °F)
  • Minimum winter 7 °C (45 °F)

They do not like too high a temperature!

  • Soil:  A soil-less compost.
  • Positioning: In a light shady position, protected from sunlight. Keep out of draughts and avoid wide temperature changes.
  • Watering: Rainwater, to maintain a moist soil condition. Good drainage is essential. The soil must never dry out since this will damage the root hairs. Ferns like very humid atmosphere. Spray regularly with a fine syringe in hot weather.
  • Optimum Growing: Feed weekly during the growing season with well-diluted ‘Baby Bio’ or other plant food.
  • Giving it a rest: There is no marked resting period, and no special routine needed. If re-potting, do not disturb the soil ball. Simply slide it into a slightly larger pot, which is well drained, and top up with new compost, to which a little crushed charcoal should be added in order to keep it sweet. Completely bury the old soil.

When it looks sick:

  • Wilting fronds : Increase humidity by spraying and by improving environment. Ferns prefer a moist atmosphere in a light shade.
  • Wilting fronds and yellowing leaves : Stop feeding. If the soil is dry, water generously with soft water but good drainage must exist.
  • Brown scorched leaflets : Take the plant out of the sunlight which probably caused the complaint. Cut off badly affected fronds close to their bases.

Culture: Maidenhair Ferns

Temperature: Average climate, minimum at night 55°F (13°C); will tolerate

English: Adiantum hispidulum1.jpg (Rough Maide...

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temperatures of 45°F (7°C) for short periods. Optimum daytime temperature is 70°F (21°C).

Light: Low to medium; protect from direct sun. Good in unobstructed north light or in filtered light of an east window. Prefers humidity range of 40% to 60%. Curling and browning of new fronds may be an indication of too low humidity.

Watering: Keep soil uniformly moist but not wet. Avoid overwatering. In winter, allow soil to become slightly dry before rewatering, but do not allow plant to wilt.

Fertilizing: Only during active growth with dilute solution every 3 weeks or space applications every 4-6 months according to growth.

Soil: Add peatmoss, leafmold, or other humus to a houseplant mix. Sharp sand or perlite will add drainage. Most Maidenhair ferns like calcium-rich soils, so add dolomite limestone or oyster shells to the mix.

Special Considerations: Most Maidenhairs have a dormant period in winter, and it is advisable to rest them during this time. Cut off all old and discolored fronds to make way for new growth in spring. Reduce watering and set plant in a cool place. In spring, repot or top dress with fresh soil mixture. When small, these ferns are best used in terrariums.

Caution: Maidenhair ferns can be damaged by some insect sprays.

Varieties of Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum tenerum ‘Scutum’: Fronds are tinged red with new growth more vivid than older leaflets.

Adiantum pedatum - maidenhair fern - desc-fern...

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Adiantum raddianum ‘Fritz-Luthii’ ; Spirals of steel-blue shingled leaflets are characteristic of this vigorous grower.

AUSTRALIAN MAIDENHAIR : Adiantum hispidulum

Easy to grow, the five-fingered fronds are rosy-bronze when young, changing to medium-green when mature.

MAGNIFICIENT MAIDENHAIR: Adiantum tenerum farleyense

Deep rose contrasted with pea-green make the fluted leaflets of this plant a pleasure.

BABY’S-TEARS Adiantum raddianum microphyllum

The charm of this Maidenhair is its minute leaflets that rarely exceed ¾ (2cm)  in width. High humidity.

DELTA MAIDENHAIR:  Adiantum raddianum

Filmy, pea-green fronds turn dark green when mature. Pinnae (leaflets) are wedge-shaped. Better as a greenhouse plant, but may be tried as a housepiant by providing extra humidity. Also known as Adiantum cuneatum.

MING MAIDENHAIR: Adiantum ‘Ming Maidenhair’

Tight clustered mound of miniature fan-shaped leaflets, cool green.

OCEAN SPRAY: Adiantum raddianum ‘Ocean Spray’

English: Adiantum cunninghamii, a Maidenhair f...

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Overlapping fronds give this compact fern a light, fluffy look. New growth is a delicate, light green.

FAN MAIDENHAIRAdiantum tenerum ‘Wrightii’

Graceful, fan-shaped fronds will flow over the edge of a planter making this an excellent hanging or pedestal plant, hew growth is tinged pink. A good choice for home cultivation.

GIANT MAIDENHAIR: Adiantum trapeziforme

Diamond-shaped fronds with finely serrated edges make this a unique and unusual Maiden­hair. Although robust, it is best grown in a greenhouse unless the warm, moist conditions can be duplicated elsewhere.

PACIFIC MAID: Adiantum raddianum ‘Pacific Maid’

Stacked one above the other, the leaflets (pinnae) are brillant yellow-green turning to a satiny, dark green when mature. Com­pact with a beautiful contrast of color, suitable for home conditions.


Dainty, excellent for northern areas. Stalks are a polished pur­plish black with palmlike, pea-green leaflets, height 12-24″ (30-60cm). Attractive from early spring to fall. Deciduous, easy.

Culture: Loose, rich soil containing humus. Keep moist in filtered to deep shade. Eventually spreading but slow growth makes plant man­ageable for long time.

Uses: Foundation planting or in bed as accent with flowers, especially roses. Also, excellent in wild flower garden.

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