» Adiantum raddianum -The ‘Delta
The Adiantum is one of the most delicate ferns for growing
indoors. Its common name of Maidenhair Fern describes it well.
It has few likes and dislikes. Take care of these as set out below
and you should have years of pleasure from your Maidenhair fern as a
houseplant. Most of the Maidenhair Ferns we grow indoors (there are
several types) are from tropical and sub-tropical climes, and they
should not be confused with the hardy Adiantum ferns that can be seen
growing in woodland or on walls.
Tender Maidenhair Ferns are normally at home in wide range of
habitats, including the edges of woodland areas, in dense shade of
forests. Basically it is one of the shade or semi-shade loving groups of
Delicately waving light green fronds on thin black stems. The
Delta Fern, is fully evergreen, so loss of foliage is a sign
that something, somewhere is wrong!
Advice and information for successful care of Maidenhair fern.
Its needs: Maidenhair Ferns
need a draught-free shady spot, which should not be too
hard to find for your prize indoor plant. A window sill is the last
place to put it, unless it is totally away from the sun, and then only
for short periods. Here we have a house plant which is for the darker
areas of the house!
So, no direct sun. It prefers a free-draining
organic-based compost, rather than the soil type composts (Its'
natural habitat is normally richly organic. The compost should be kept
moist kept moist from spring through to
autumn, but not stood in a permanent saucer of water. Less water required during the winter rest period,
but do not let it dry out completely.
monthly except during winter, using a general liquid feed. Be
careful not to overfeed this or any other ferns you might grow. They
depend upon the slow release of nutrients from organic soils generally. Cool humid conditions, but avoid
temperature ‘swings’. In very dry conditions, use a fine mist
spray of cool water on the foliage of your Maidenhair Fern.
of Maidenhair Fern:
Cut off dead or fading fronds as
they appear. Other than keeping the plant tidy, this will allow
space for new shoots to emerge. Do not allow the compost to dry out,
but neither should it be kept soggy. Remember its' natural
habitat. It is not a bog plans.
If it needs re-potting, then
this should be carried out in the spring, trying to match the
existing compost type. It should not be re-potted in the winter.
Mature Maidenhair Ferns produce
spore-sacs, (sporangia), on underside of the leaves. Do not
confuse these with leaf scale, (brown ‘blimps’ on leaf
Adiantum - Maidenhair
Fern - is decorative on its own and can be a good specimen house
plant. It is also suitable for adding to indoor plant
arrangements, or good for texture/softening a
display. The foliage is normally a bright green.
Problems with Maidenhair Fern
Scale insects on the stems - hard to see because of the stem
colour. Also prone to
mealy bugs which hide in any stemn or foliage crevice they
can find - white fluffy little insects. Also
red spider mite, which is almost impossible to see indoors,
but the first sign is normally a mottling of the small leaves or
general look of 'something not being right!'
Propagation of Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum as an indoor plant, is best propagated by carefully
dividing the root ball in the spring. You may also find a few
small clumpy offshoots at the base. The y\do not grow from
The spores can be scattered on peat compost as soon as ripe, and
kept in a well shaded area with heat at minimum of 15C. The
better way, is to cut a full leaf of ripe spores and lay on the
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By David Hughes -