Indoor Maidenhair Fern Care – Growing A Maidenhair Fern As A Houseplant

Indoor Potted Maidenhair Fern Houseplant
maiden fern hp
(Image credit: Sammy Jones)

Growing the maidenhair fern inside has provided some challenges for the houseplant enthusiast, but it is possible to grow successfully with a few tips. The indoor maidenhair fern requires a little more attention than most houseplants, but with some extra attention, it is well worth the effort for a beautiful plant.

Maidenhair Fern Indoor Growing

The most critical part of growing the maidenhair fern inside is careful attention to soil moisture and humidity. Your fern’s soil must absolutely never dry out or it will very quickly produce many brown fronds. It is recommended to grow these plants in pots with drainage holes. When you water a maidenhair fern, take it to a sink, give it a complete and thorough soaking, and let all the excess water drain away.

Monitor your soil moisture carefully. Aim to keep the soil damp at all times, but never soggy, and never let your plant sit in water. As soon as the surface of the soil feels slightly dry, it is time to water again. If you wait too long, especially if you have a small pot, it can quickly become a disaster.

The maidenhair fern loves warmer, humid air. Aiming to keep temperatures above 70 degrees F. (21 C.) and higher humidity is beneficial. To increase humidity set your plant on a moist pebble tray, group multiple houseplants together, and/or also run a humidifier.

As far as light goes, maidenhair ferns like shadier locations but it is best kept directly in front of and close to a window. It is fine to give it a couple of hours of direct sun, just avoid hot midday sunshine. The morning sun is best. The more light your plant receives, the more quickly it will dry out, so you’ll need to be vigilant with watering.

Keep in mind that an occasional brown frond is normal, even with good care, so don’t worry when you see one. You must keep this plant away from any cold drafts and away from heating vents as these can be detrimental and cause your fern to suffer.

Fertilize your maidenhair fern from spring through summer with a dilute houseplant fertilizer. If the soil is too dry, moisten it with plain water first in order to avoid fertilizer burn because these plants have exceptionally fine roots. You can also divide your plant at the roots in the spring if you wish to propagate your fern. 

If your plant has suffered and looks awful, you can cut all the fronds off at the soil level to rejuvenate your plant. Pay attention to good light and watering practices and it will start to grow back. 

If you follow all the tips in this post, you will surely be much more successful in growing the maidenhair fern as a houseplant.