How to grow a maidenhair fern
The preference in aspect and position of your maidenhair depends on whether you're growing it indoors or outdoors. Indoors, they prefer a brightly lit position – though this doesn't mean direct sunlight. Outdoors, however, your maidenhair will need a well shaded and protected spot.
Maidenhair ferns prefer cool climates, but if there's one thing they can't stand, it's fluctuating temperature! So, try to keep the warmth and humidity the same as much as you can. This may involve a bit of trial and error, so don't be afraid to move your maidenhair around (if indoors) to find the right spot.
Most importantly, the soil needs to be well-draining, but it's also good to aim for soil that's slightly acidic with plenty of organic matter. If you're opting for a pot rather than in-ground, choose a good-quality potting mix.
One of the most important rules of maidenhair care is this: do not let your fern dry out. If the soil is left to dry out, the fronds will shrivel and die. Conversely, too much water and your plant will rot! So, aim to keep the soil moist, but not wet, and ensure the soil drains well. If your fern has dried out, it is possible to bring it back to life. Try trimming the fronds way back to soil level, popping it in a shady spot, and keeping it moist.
During warmer months, dose your maidenhair with blood and bones or liquid fertiliser. In the cooler months, pare it back to once during the entire season.
Maidenhair fern pests and disease
While the most common causes of leaf drop and yellowing fronds is neglect or the wrong conditions, there are some pesky insects that can plague your maidenhair fern. Keep an eye out for these annoying pests and treat them with insecticide, physically removing the pests as you go if possible.
- Scale, which appears as brown or black lumps on the stems or leaves
- Mealy bugs, which are white, fluffy insects that look like little pieces of cotton wool
- Aphids, which will cause the fronds to blacken and shrivel
How to propagate a maidenhair fern
Looking to double or even triple your maidenhair? When repotting, use a clean knife to divide the roots, ensuring at least two fronds per part. Then, plant each piece in a new pot with a good-quality potting mix and water well.