Complete guide to maidenhair fern care
Call it a labour of love. Maidenhair ferns need daily attention but those dreamy leaves are worth the effort.
Venus the maidenhair fern is beautiful, but she can be a bit high-maintenance. Luckily, we can tell you how to keep yours happy.
- Put her in the bathroom – or mist her regularly
- She likes bright light but not harsh sunlight
- Check her soil every day to make sure it’s moist
- A plastic pot will help to keep her hydrated
- Give her fertiliser once a month in spring and summer
About maidenhair ferns
With small fan-shaped leaves on slender black stems – the fronds of maidenhair ferns waft in the breeze, like a lush, tousled head of hair.
In the wild, you’ll find maidenhair ferns in tropical regions, on rocks around waterfalls. That’s why, when they share a home with us, they’re happiest living in nice humid bathrooms.
Are maidenhair ferns easy to care for?
We’ll be honest with you – maidenhair fern care can be tricky. A little like Goldilocks, Venus wants everything to be ‘just right’. Lots of water, but not too much. Plenty of light, but not so much that her leaves scorch. She’s a bit needy but if you take good care of her, she’ll reward you with healthy growth and lush leaves.
How often should I water my maidenhair fern?
If you do forget to water your maidenhair fern, you’ll know about it. Her fronds will shrivel up and go brown in a matter of days. The golden rule is never let her soil dry out. But she doesn’t like being soggy either. (See, we said she was fussy!) We recommend poking a finger in her pot every day to check that her soil is moist.
Venus also adores humid air. That’s why you’ll usually find her in bathrooms, because the moisture from your showers and baths is just like her natural habitat. But if you really want to keep her somewhere else, you can give her a daily spritz with a mister.
How much light does my maidenhair fern need?
Venus likes to be able to see the sky, but frets about sun damage. So she’s happiest near a window, but out of harsh sunlight. A bit of morning or late afternoon sun should be alright, but anything stronger could scorch her leaves.
Help – my maidenhair fern is turning brown
Don’t panic about the odd brown frond or leaf, especially at the bottom of the plant. You can carefully trim them off with clean scissors. But try not to handle the rest of her foliage, because touching the leaves can cause them to turn brown. Yes, she’s really that dramatic.
If her leaf tips are looking dry or curling up, that’s a sure sign that she needs more humidity. More misting should do the trick.
What else can I do to keep my maidenhair fern happy?
One simple way to help keep your maidenhair fern hydrated is to keep her in a plastic nursery pot. This is because plastic, unlike other materials such as terracotta, won’t soak up moisture from her soil. You can still put her plastic pot inside a more decorative one.
As for feeding, Venus will be grateful if you give her a dash of liquid fertiliser once a month throughout the spring and summer. She also appreciates daily compliments! Just kidding – but we wouldn’t be surprised.
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