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All About Maidenhair Ferns

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By Ricardo Elisiário | Jul 17, 2019

Ferns are now still as trendy as ever before. Since Victorian times they’ve been used for the nice and exotic looking houseplants they are, displayed either by themselves or inside a terrarium or greenhouse, where the environment can be made most appropriate to raise these plants.

This one is very common. Probably because of how easy and fast it grows, for it sprouts without any trouble, with its light-green curly buds unfolding from within the earth to rise tall, as high as the plant’s age allows.

Temperature

For maidenhair ferns, temperatures should be neither too chilly nor hot — keep it at 15-20 degrees C.

Care to shield the plant from the outside’s hostile weather that creeps in from any open windows during the peak of winter. Temperatures beyond this cozy interval might cause yellowing and stunt this fern’s growth.

Light

In truth, ferns are made of light much more than they are of darkness, so don’t let their misty, crawly appearance fool you into thinking otherwise. They prefer the brightest spots, though ideally never direct sunlight as it can easily and irreversibly burn the paper-thin leaflets.

Be thus really careful with the sun and especially with the heat. I once saw mine suddenly droop and little did I know that it only needed a bit more water than I had given it — it was then the high of summer, a very hot day even indoors.

Water

A lot of species like this one don’t require their potting mix to be soggy but you cannot let it ever dry either. What they also enjoy is a high level of moisture in the air because the stems of the maidenhair fern are fragile and vulnerable to drought.

The supplement this water that’s constantly evaporating into the room, spray the leaves daily or place the flowerpot on top of a larger container with a thin layer of water (which should however not be always in contact with the bottom holes of the pot, or rotting might occur).

Soil

Use any kind of mix but preferably one that’s light and rich in organic matter. These plants aren’t picky in regards to where they sink their roots in, they only need to be able to do so unobstructedly, also because the rhizome grows at a shallow depth underground.

If you can, use a potting soil meant for ferns and mosses, that contains a bit more of the usual ingredients plus some vermiculite and sphagnum turf. These parts will make the humidity in and around the pot much higher and the need for watering hopefully less frequent.

Transplanting

Whenever you feel that the vase is depleted and roots are already coming out of the bottom, it might be time to renew the mix and divide the plant’s rhizomes. You can do this every year or two because the fern grows wildly during the warmer seasons.

One rule to follow is not to bury the crown of the rhizome beneath a too heavy layer of soil, for the new sprouts come all green and ready from there mostly. However, I actually tend to cover that crown just enough for it to be hidden below the surface, since I find it less neat to see the whole budding mess that’s going on underground.

This way, the only shape that appears is that of the actual shoots, one after the other. And it’s quite impressive how fast they come out and unfurl once the plant is well-rooted.

Propagation

Maidenhair ferns are best multiplied by simple division of their convoluted mass of rhizomes. By spreading the bulk apart you’ll get many new roots, almost as many as you’d like, that you can then replant in multiple pots.

Do this procedure on spring and only if the fern has grown enough new rhizomes. Also, unlike some other ferns, this plant doesn’t produce new plantlets directly from its fronds.

Place and Decorative Purposes

Being suited for both suspended or simpler ground level pots, this fern’s leaves are based on firm, thin brown stems with an erect tendency that’ll keep them from dropping down too much.

Preference aside, this plant goes well with every kind of decor and room type. It’ll maintain its form and growth if your house is heated, and if not, then wait a couple of months for spring and it shall then burst again like ever before.

The maidenhair fern makes for a great houseplant for those who like it simple, elegant, and very easy and gratifying to tend to.

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