Tips for Growing Maidenhair Fern Indoors

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Fern-tastic: A Guide to Growing Maidenhair Ferns Indoors

The maidenhair fern is part of the genus Adiantum, which includes more than 200 varieties of ferns grown throughout the world.

The name of the genus comes from the Greek word advances, which means "not planted", an appropriate description for the fern, since its leaves repel water.

Maidenhair ferns have delicate fan-shaped leaf segments, usually clustered on stiff black stems.

In addition to being a popular houseplant, avenca can also be found in nature, growing in places other plants normally do not, such as on rock walls and between rock crevices where moisture from infiltrations of water stays alive.

While they are visually impressive at all stages of growth, they are considered a slow-growing fern, typically taking up to three years to reach full adult size.

Botanical nameAdiantum raddianum
Common nameMaidenhair fern, Delta maidenhair fern
Plant typeFern
Mature size1–2 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Sun exposurePartial sun, shade
Soil typeMoist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom timeNon-flowering
Flower colorNone
Hardiness zones10, 11 (USDA)
Native areaNorth America

Maidenhair Fern Care

Maidenhair ferns are delicate plants with very small leaves and a lacy appearance.

They are considered hardy ferns, rather than tropical ferns, but don't let the description fool you - mature ferns can be difficult to keep healthy indoors as they are very demanding in terms of growing conditions.

The most important environmental factor when it comes to successfully growing this fern is humidity - it feeds on moisture and needs a lot to survive, which can often be difficult to get indoors.

However, with the right growing conditions, ferns can be an interesting and beautiful addition to any indoor plant collection.


In their natural forest setting, ferns are mostly covered by a canopy of trees, receiving some shade and some partial sunlight.

To successfully grow ferns indoors, it's best to try to mimic these conditions by finding a spot in your home that only receives indirect sunlight

Avoid strong light or direct rays, as the delicate leaves of the avenca can burn very easily.


Ferns prefer moist, but well-drained soils.

As mentioned, water is very important to this fern, so increase your chances of creating the right environment for it by incorporating moss or organic matter like compost into the soil to help it retain water.


Your best bet when it comes to ensuring your path thrives is to focus on multiple sources of water for this thirsty species.

Always moist soil is a great place to start; From there, be sure to water the fern consistently, every day or every other day, without letting the soil dry out.

Store the fern in a plastic pot with holes and place the plastic pot in a more attractive outdoor pot if desired.

This way you can easily check the moisture levels in the plastic pot and the drainage holes will prevent the soil from getting too wet.

Temperature and Humidity

This fern requires very hot and humid air. To mimic your ideal conditions, spray the plant with warm water several times a day to maintain proper moisture levels on its delicate leaves.

Alternatively, you can place the pot near a humidifier or on top of a tray with wet pebbles to increase humidity levels.

Also consider placing the plant in a very humid environment at home, such as a bathroom or a garden greenhouse.

If you notice that the fern leaves are curling, the tips of the leaves are dry, or the leaves drop frequently, the air is probably very dry and the plant needs more moisture.

In terms of temperature, it is best to keep the fern above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and it should not be placed anywhere in the house where the temperature or cold currents drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.


Fertilizing an avenca fern is not necessary, as the plant will do just fine without it.

However, if you want to add an extra dose of nutrients, feed a balanced and diluted mixture once a month, avoiding any food with a lot of nitrogen (200 ppm or less), which can cause burns on the tips of the leaves.

Additionally, regular trimming and removing the golden leaves can also help the fern grow with denser foliage.

Repotting Maidenhair Ferns

These ferns can be replanted annually or every two years, depending on the size of the pot and the growth rate of the plant.

They don't mind being a bit crowded, so don't be in a rush to replant if you're not sure. Instead, wait for signs that your fern is getting too big for your home, like roots filling the pot.

To successfully replant an avenca fern:

  • Use a knife or shovel to divide the roots.
  • Divide the plant into more manageable sections, keeping a minimum of two to three healthy leaves in each room.
  • Plant each section in its own pot and be sure to water it well.
  • Do not fertilize replanted ferns immediately, as they can burn the roots.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Don’t Be Afraid of Maidenhair Ferns!


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