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How to Grow and Care for Pacific Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum pedatum

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsA Pacific Maidenhair Fern Growing in Hummingbird House, Adiantum pedatumHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Depending on where you live, the Pacific Maidenhair Fern may be called
an American Maidenhair or Northern Maidenhair Fern.
This popular, deciduous fern from North America will add a bit of graceful elegance
to any partial to fully shaded area of your garden.
The distinctive, palmately fan-shaped fronds emerge as deep pink or burgundy colored fiddleheads
in early spring before unfurling atop shiny black, wire-like stems that reach 18-24 inches.
Maidenhair Ferns spread by creeping, branching rhizomes and will eventually form large colonies.
Mort the Garden Gnome

Growing Requirements for Hardy Maidenhair Ferns

Adiantum pedatum is a very easy to care for plant when grown in the right conditions.
The Pacific Maidenhair Fern is hardy in USDA zones 3-8. Unlike most tender Adiantum species,
Pacific Maidenhairs do not grow well in planters and won't survive as a house plant.

Maidenhair Ferns grow best in an area with good air circulation and light to partial shade
but they can be grown in full shade as well.
They should be planted in a light, compost rich, slightly acidic soil.
Provided constant, even moisture... especially during the first growing season.

Never allow the soil to become soggy.
The old fronds can be removed after new growth begins in spring to keep the plant tidy,
but this is not necessary. In nature, ferns do their own maintenance and mulching.

Provide a heavy top-dressing of chopped up fronds, well rotted compost or manure each spring.

How to Propagate new Maidenhair Ferns

Maidenhair Ferns grow from rhizomes that spread under the surface of the soil, making them very easy to propagate by dividing the roots in early spring, just as the new fronds begin to emerge. Each section should contain a minimum of two or three healthy fronds.

Ferns do not produce flowers, therefore they cannot produce seeds.
They reproduce with spores that form on the underside of the fronds.
Propagating ferns with spores is a fun and fairly easy method of growing new ferns, but it can take 3-4 years to grow a mature plant.

Propagating Ferns with Spores


Pacific Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum pedatum
A Pacific Maidenhair Fern Growing in Hummingbird House, Adiantum pedatum A Pacific Maidenhair Fern in Early Spring, Adiantum pedatum