Maidenhair fern

SproutNYCSeptember 11, 2013

I have a Maidenhair a fern lover gave me as a housewarming plant along with a Boston Fern. It was absolutely beautiful when I got it but it has gotten very yellow despite treating it the same as my thriving Boston Fern (note: I am very much a beginner with ferns).

I think I have overwatered it (despite waiting between waterings and checking to make sure the soil wasn't sopping). I also moved it around my apartment trying to find a place where it wasn't getting direct sun, away from my AC, etc. It's now on a shelf along with some prayer plants, some trays of pebbles with water and a couple of glasses of water to keep the humidity high. I checked for root rot and as far as I could see the roots seemed okay. No weird smells or anything like that. It's also getting some small fiddleheads but when they get bigger they seem to shrivel.

I want to save this plant and not sure what to do. I just repotted it in new potting mix. Would moving it to a sunnier location help (my apartment has NE facing windows so it's not going to be in direct sun)?

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Michaela(z6+ TN)

Maidenhair ferns are not very well suited for indoor culture - in my opinion. They are lime lovers and grow where the soils are alkaline, not acidic, Many potting mixes are peat-based and are acidic. Maidenhairs don't seem to like stale air; they seem to like air movement which apartments might not have. In their natural environment they are shade-lovers and die back in the winter and come back in the spring. Your maiden hair is also going through the SHOCK of going from a nursery environment to apartment living. It doesn't like it and I would be surprised if it survives for you.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:36AM
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I'm going to stick it out till the bitter end. LOL.

Like I said, it was given to me as a gift and I would not have chosen this particular fern for myself given what I've read about how difficult they are. I went ahead and moved it to the kitchen (more humidity and light) and put it in a self-watering pot made from a recycled 2-liter pop bottle. I have it with some croton and a purple waffle plant with humidity trays, etc. So we'll see. It hasn't gotten worse and I still see small fiddleheads, so who knows. But if it dies, I'll just have to get an easier fern. I have four more--a Kangaroo Paw, a Rabbit's Foot, a Bird's Nest and a Boston. I have my sights set on a Button fern, a Brake Fern and a Japanese Holly . . . all seem to be be less hassle than the Maidenhair.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 12:11PM
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Michaela(z6+ TN)

You sound like a savvy plant person. Your choices for indoor fern culture are very good, and you should have some success with the species you mentioned.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Thanks. I ended up giving up on the Maidenhair.

I am learning what I can about houseplants and I was hoping to revive the Maidenhair, but I have limited plant space because I have to put my plants where the cats can't reach them. Also most of my plants love humidity, so I put them together so they can share. I was worried having a distressed plant would invite pests and I don't have the extra space to isolate a plant so I toss plants if they get a bad case of the creepy crawlies.

I did find a Lemon Button Fern on one of those street stands in NYC for $3 last week. She had a little bit of burn from being out in the sun but tons of fuzzy fiddleheads popping up. I groomed her and she's doing pretty well.

I keep wanting to get a Staghorn for my bathroom. I just don't know if it's going to be too much trouble. Especially when it gets bigger.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:25AM
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I spoke too soon. Popped into Home Depot on a lark today and they had a potted Staghorn which I had to take home!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 11:59AM
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