Evelyn’s Corner

The most beautiful delicate fern but forget to water just one time. Oops, it’s not so pretty. Here are Evelyn’s tips for keeping your Maidenhair Fern happy.

#1 Location Give it a bright spot away from strong sun or excess heat. The Kitchen window or your Bathroom counter is a favorite place.

#2 Water, All ferns like to be kept watered but Maidenhairs’ really hate to dry out.

Two choices: Choose a pretty saucer, add pebbles and water. Set your pot on the pebbles. Mist it often. Or— Evelyn’s easier way. My fern lives happily in about a half inch of water. I know you are not supposed to let roots sit in water. My fern doesn’t know the rule. I give it a half strength Weidner’s Good Stuff feeding once a month. Either way your fern will reward you with grace and beauty. You can also plant it outside in any shady moist spot.

That’s right. The Latin name Adiantum actually means ‘Unwetted’. Run some water over your ferns foliage and not a drop will stay on the leaflets.

The Latin name ‘Adiantum’ means Repels water. Your fern loves to be misted because that raises the humidity and your fern loves that. If your Maidenhair does dry out first put it to soak in a pan of water. Make sure that the soil is well watered. The Latin name is Adiantum. There are over 200 different Adiantum’s. Some have bigger leaflets and are not as delicate.

Maidenhair ferns are native to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa but you will find them growing anywhere in the world. Often found growing besides streams in moist shady spots. Not too hot and not too cold. Believe it or not I have seen a maidenhair fern living in a shady creek side spot in the desert of Borrego Springs. Amazing. They have black shiny stems. As they get older, they develop rhizomes. Outdoors they slow way down in winter and start up again in April. You can divide and multiply your ferns, just make sure you have at least 3 or 4 stems, some good roots and rhizomes. Plant your Maidenhair into a basket and let it grow. You can create a beautiful basket and the fronds will hang gracefully down. So, what happens if you do forget to water and you now have a bunch of dried up fronds. Soak first and see what comes back. Cut back all the bad stems. Find a shady spot where they will be happy and eventually you will have new growth. Or you can just throw it away and buy some more. If you have the right outdoor planter or ground bed your ferns will multiply and you could end up with a gorgeous bed of ferns. Add some regular impatiens for color. May be a coleus in the background even some other moisture loving shade color.

So how did the name Maidenhair come to be the common name. Well, Adiantum venusta is the full Latin name. Venusta —Venus, beautiful maiden. The lore says that perhaps because the beautiful Goddess of love, Venus is always portrayed as a young maiden with lovely soft curls. It’s a bit of a stretch but that is how ‘common’ names come along. Incidentally that is why the Latin name is so important. Anywhere you go in the world that Latin name stays the same. The Swedish Botanist Linnaeus is credited with developing the official way that plants are classified. Don’t worry, what ever you call it, your Maidenhair fern is the most beautiful fern in your garden.