The maidenhair ferns are delicate ferns with very small fronds and a lacy appearance. These are considered hardy ferns, rather than tropical ferns, but don't let the description fool you: these can be difficult plants to keep in good health indoors. They are particular as to their conditions, with an especially high requirement for humidity. No matter, though, because they are beautiful and lend a very exuberant look to their rooms.
Light: Shady. Do not expose to any direct sunlight or even especially bright light.
Water: Water freely in summer and keep moist in winter. Place the pot in a tray of pebbles to keep humidity elevated and spray frequently.
Temperature: These are best kept above 70ºF. Do not expose to cold drafts or temperatures below 60ºF if possible.
Soil: Rich, loose, organic compost.
Fertilizer: Feed biweekly with weak liquid fertilizer during growth season.
By spore or division. Larger plants can be divided during repotting.
Annually or biannually, depending on the pot size and growth rate. They don't mind being a little underpotted, but repot when the roots fill the pot. Divide the plant during repotting to increase your collection.
There are a number of maidenhair ferns available, all with pretty much the same cultural requirements. The delta maidenhair fern (A. raddianum) is considered one of the easier varieties to grow, but the Venus maidenhair (A. cappillus-veneris) is also popular. The A. hispidulum, or Australian maidenhair, features interesting reddish foliage on young fronds.
Maidenhair ferns are widely spread throughout the world and grow wild in many temperate countries. To thrive indoors, it is essential to provide enough warmth and moisture to keep the plant active. If temperatures fall too low, or the plant dries out, it will likely go dormant, just as it would in the wild. Many growers have success keeping these plants in a shady corner or under a plant bench in glassed-in solariums or sun rooms.