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Gabriel Mendoza
Gabriel Mendoza

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum spp.) can make graceful additions to shady gardens or bright, indirect areas of the home. Their light gray-green, feathery-like foliage adds a unique charm to just about any landscape setting, especially moist, wooded areas of the garden. Growing maidenhair fern is easy. This North American native makes an excellent specimen plant on its own or in a group. It also makes a great ground cover or container plant.

maidenhair fern

Another name for this plant is the five-fingered fern due largely in part to its finger-like fronds, which are supported on dark brown to black stems. These black stems were once used as a dye in addition to being employed for the weaving of baskets. Native Americans also used maidenhair ferns as poultices for wounds to stop bleeding.

Learning how to grow maidenhair fern in the garden, or even indoors, is not difficult. The plant typically grows in partial to full shade and prefers moist but well-draining soil amended with organic matter, much like in its natural habitat in humus-rich woods. These ferns do not tolerate dry soil.

Most ferns grow best in slightly acidic soils; however, maidenhair ferns prefer a more alkaline soil pH. Adding some ground limestone to the potting mix of container-grown plants or mixing it into your outdoor beds will help with this.

When growing maidenhair fern indoors, the plant prefers small containers and dislikes repotting. Maidenhair is also intolerant of low humidity or dry air from heating or cooling vents when grown in the home. Therefore, you will either need to mist the plant daily or set it on a water-filled pebble tray.

  • Maidenhair ferns are not considered to be one of the high-maintenance houseplants, but it can be tricky to get the growing conditions right. With the proper indoor growing conditions, maidenhair ferns can be a moderately easy addition to any houseplant collection. "}},"@type": "Question","name": "How fast does maidenhair fern grow?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "This fern is slow-growing, typically taking up to three years to reach full size, which means you won't need to repot it too often.","@type": "Question","name": "How long can a maidenhair fern live indoors?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "As long as you find the right spot and rarely move the plant, it should live for years as an indoor plant."]}]}] .icon-garden-review-1fill:#b1dede.icon-garden-review-2fill:none;stroke:#01727a;stroke-linecap:round;stroke-linejoin:round > buttonbuttonThe Spruce The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook NewslettersClose search formOpen search formSearch DecorRoom Design

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Learn tips for creating your most beautiful home and garden ever.Subscribe The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook About UsNewsletterPress and MediaContact UsEditorial GuidelinesGardeningHouseplantsTypes of HouseplantsHow to Grow and Care for Maidenhair Fern IndoorsBy

Maidenhair ferns are not considered to be one of the high-maintenance houseplants, but it can be tricky to get the growing conditions right. With the proper indoor growing conditions, maidenhair ferns can be a moderately easy addition to any houseplant collection.

Adiantum (/ˌædiˈæntəm/),[1] the maidenhair fern, is a genus of about 250 species of ferns in the subfamily Vittarioideae of the family Pteridaceae,[2] though some researchers place it in its own family, Adiantaceae. The genus name comes from Greek, meaning "unwetted", referring to the fronds' ability to shed water without becoming wet.

Species native to North America include A. pedatum (five-fingered fern) and the closely related A. aleuticum, which are distinctive in having a bifurcating frond that radiates pinnae on one side only. The cosmopolitan A. capillus-veneris (Venus-hair fern) has a native distribution that extends into the eastern continent. A. jordanii (California Maidenhair) is native to the west coast.

It is now known that this genus is paraphyletic, and that the vittarioid ferns are derived from this larger paraphyletic genus. However, if Adiantum raddianum, and possibly a few other species, are removed, the remaining plants (genus type: Adiantum capillus-veneris) are then monophyletic.

Incredibly attractive, Adiantum aleuticum (Maidenhair Fern) is a deciduous or semi-evergreen, perennial fern with graceful, bright green fronds which open like the fingers of a hand atop upright, shiny, purple-black wiry stems. Each finger is further divided into a series of triangular segments (pinnules). Gradually becoming a lush clump of airy, horizontal fronds, moving silently with the least breeze, this plant is a great addition to the shade garden and is a natural choice for streamsides.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about maidenhair ferns (Adiantum sp.) which paints them as being finicky and easy to kill when they are actually one of the easiest plants to care for. By looking at their natural habitat you can quite quickly start to see that there are really only two things that matter when it comes to growing this super lush fern. Light and water!

Maidenhair ferns can be found natively around Melbourne. After some research, and trial and error we have figured out how to grow the perfect maidenhair fern and are ready to share our secret with you.Light/ Position:

Cool direct sun either in the morning all year round, or direct afternoon sun in winter provides a huge boost to the growth speed without burning the plant. Our maidenhair fern receives direct morning sun everyday which is how it managed to grow to this size in only three months.

This extremely fine-textured, delicate, airy fern is a graceful addition to shady, moist outdoor landscapes or bright, indirect light locations indoors. Its light grey-green, soft foliage adds a quieting feeling to any landscape, particularly around a water feature in the garden. It is best planted in mass on two- to three-foot centers, but can be used as an edging or specimen in a small garden area. A North American native, maidenhair fern also makes an excellent groundcover, spreading easily on creeping stems.

Needing above-average humidity, maidenhair fern grows in partial to full shade on well-drained soils with high organic matter but does not tolerate dry soil. The southern maidenhair and brittle maidenhair grow best in alkaline soils while others grow best in acid soils. It will cascade over the side of a container in a shady garden spot.

Some of the available species include: Adiantum capillusveneris, southern maidenhair, 1.5 feet tall; A. hispidulum, rosy maidenhair, one-foot-tall, young fronds rosy brown; A. pedatum, western maidenhair, 1 to 2.5 feet tall, most popular one grown; and A. peruvianum, silver dollar maidenhair, 1.5 feet or more tall, leaf segments quite large, up to 2 inches wide.

The small size, tiny leaves, and delicate form of the Maidenhair fern make it perfect for containers and small scale, special spaces in the landscape. Companion plants should have larger, smooth leaves to contrast with the tiny multiple leaves of the fern. Simple forms and dark green or smooth foliage of companion plants will highlight the delicate foliage. The medium green of the fern leaves will work well with different flower colors, but deep or bright colors will show better than light pastels. Simple small or medium size flowers will contrast more with the tiny foliage without adding too much detail.

a, Lengths of different repeat components in the indicated eight representative species across land plants. b, Distributions of nucleotide distance (D) calculated for LTR among three ferns, A. capillus-veneris, A. filiculoides and S. cucullata. c, Violet plot showing gene characteristics of ferns. The upper and lower edge of white frame in the violin plot represent the 75% and 25% quartiles, the central line denotes the median value, and the black square shows the mean value. The upper and lower terminal of line in the violin indicated the upper adjacent value and lower adjacent value, 1.5 the interquartile range and outliers (solid points).

The domains of BRI1-BRL (TM, LRR, ID, and KD) and its closest gene family EMS1 (TM, LRR, and KD) were identified from all main land plant groups (in different colours). Maximum-likelihood tree was constructed with parameters: WAG + F + R6 model and 1,000 bootstrap replicates. Whole genome assemblies from 24 species were used for identification of BRI1-BRL and EMS1 homologs, including 9 bryophytes (Mpo, Marchantia polymorpha; Cpl, Calohypnum plumiforme; Fan, Fontinalis antipyretica; Cpu, Ceratodon purpureus; Ppa, Physcomitrella patens; Psc, Pleurozium schreberi; Aan, Anthoceros angustus; Aag, Anthoceros agrestis; Apu, Anthoceros punctatus), 3 lycophytes (Ita, Isoetes taiwanensis; Smo, Selaginella moellendorffii; Sle, Selaginella lepidophylla), 3 ferns (Adc, Adiantum capillus-veneris; Afi, Azolla filiculoides; Scu, Salvinia cucullata), and 9 seed plants (Pab, Picea abies; Pta, Pinus taeda; Gbi, Ginkgo biloba; Ath, Arabidopsis thaliana; Atr, Amborella trichopoda; Csa, Cucumis sativus; Osa, Oryza sativa; Vvi, Vitis vinifera; Zma, Zea mays). The detailed information is provided in Supplementary Data 19. 041b061a72


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