Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Adiantum Capillus Veneris or the Common/Venus Maidenhair Fern is perhaps one of the most popular of indoor ferns. With pale green new growth this fern is excellent for glasshouse or indoor use. In the summer months, I take most of my ferns out and place them in sheltered areas, normally under larger plants to allow them to ‘breathe’. The plant requires humid conditions, and air movement, but will not tolerate hot, dry winds. I find my bathroom to be the perfect place for my ferns as the temp there is quite constant. However, IF you have a cold bathroom, I don't recommend you put your ferns there as the temp wil fluctuate when you have a shower and this may 'shock' your ferns.

The fern will grow to about 40 cm. Although it is not as easy to maintain, don’t let this put you off. The fern is very regal in its looks and will brighten up any part of your home.

Quick reference guide:

 Requires an abundance of moisture in the air (humidity) and in the soil, though the soil should be well-drained. Provide humidity indoors by standing the pots on top of pebble filled trays or saucers, keep the saucers filled with water to JUST BELOW the bottom of the pot. This way the evaporating water provides humidity but the pot and potting mix does not become waterlogged from standing in the water.

 Likes a position with plenty of light but dislikes full sun. Prefers a sheltered shady position. Maidenhairs prefer a situation that has stable temperature and humidity levels.

 If the plant dries out temporarily. it will lose most of its fronds, though it will usually re-sprout from the base. Keep them evenly moist all year round and from September to March (Australian warmer months) feed them every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. I use Fish Emulsion and find this to be the best.

 Plants are not very hardy outdoors except in tropical areas. They only succeed in areas with little or no frosts. Cannot stand direct sunlight.

 About every two years Maidenhair ferns need to be potted on. If they are very large they will need to be divided at the same time. Re-pot from September to February using a potting mix containing good amounts of sand and peat. Be careful not to pot the crown of the plant below the soil level as it is from this point that the new fronds develop.

 When re-potting, remove the plant from its old pot and cut off the bottom 40% of soil which contains a few roots. Put a good scoop of the organic mix on top of the gravel, but not too much as the plant will sit too high in the pot. Put the plant on top of this and place more potting mix around it. Don't firm down the mix, just give the pot a shake to settle it in place. Snip off any dried fronds with scissors.

 The main problem is finding the right position for the fern to grow in. They do sometimes get aphids which can be controlled with a Pyrethrum spray, or Disyston granules.


Hong said...

Yours look so healthy. Mine died in humid Malaysia ok !!! After reading your post I will buy another pot. I love how the leaves float when the wind blows gently, instant lightness for any flower arrangement too.

VG said...

Thank you Hong. Sorry to hear that your plant died...it is quite a fiddly plant hence the title "Not so easy care"!!

As long as you keep the water intake up (wind and heat dry the plants quickly) and spray your plant occasionally, it should thrive. Also it loves fish emulsion. As you said, it's a lovely plant.