Maidenhair Fern: A Delicate Beauty

One of my favorite plants is the maidenhair fern. Though there are many species of maidenhairs, I particularly like Adiantum capillus-veneris for it’s arching delicate fronds and the contrasting dark, almost black wiry stems. Many say that this plant is only hardy to zone 7a, but I do grow it in my 6a garden. It’s somewhat sheltered and near the house, so maybe there is a small microclimate which allows it to thrive.

Maidenhair Fern

Many plants can be brought inside for the winter. Here are 5 basic tips to consider when bringing them indoors.

I also grow it in a pot on my shady front porch every year and bring it in for the winter. Inside, it sits in my office near a sunny curtained window. At first it will brown up a little as it gets used to the transition, but all I do is cut back the dying foliage and it bounces right back with new growth.

The maidenhair fern is a great choice for indoor gardening. The most interesting fact is its ability to bounce back from the dead.

The maidenhair fern is a great choice for indoor gardening. The most interesting fact is its ability to bounce back from the dead.

new growth

The name Adiantum capillus-veneris comes from the Greek “Adiantum” which means “not-wetting,” the Latin capillus for “hair,” and veneris for Venus, the goddess of love. This came about due to two characteristics of the plant. One is the fact that the surface of the leaves has a waxy layer which allows water to bead up, and the second refers to the shiny black stems that resemble a maiden’s hair. So Adiantum capillus-veneris become commonly known as Venus Maidenhair, and also Southern Maidenhair, as the plant is native to the southern parts of the U.S.

 The maidenhair fern is a great choice for indoor gardening. The most interesting fact is its ability to bounce back from the dead.

One important fact: This plant hates to dry out. I water it every 2-3 days. If you forget to water it and it looks bad, try cutting it back and watering well. It has an amazing Lazarus effect of returning from the dead. How great is that? I have also read that this fern has been used to treat a variety of ailments like so many plants, but I’m just happy to enjoy its beauty indoors while I wait for spring.
Makers Mix Planters - Maiden Hair Fern in pot

The maidenhair fern is a great choice for indoor gardening. The most interesting fact is its ability to bounce back from the dead.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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Comments

  1. This fern is a favorite of mine. I love how delicate it is. Great information, house plants that is an area where I fail. I guess it’s because our warm weather out numbers the cold. Great post.

    Carole @ Garden Up green

    • Thank you Carole. Don’t give up on the Maidenhair. Just cut it back and give it lots of water. Houseplants can be difficult but it is so nice to have some fresh greens in the house during the frigid winter we have here in PA.

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