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How to Grow Maidenhair

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017
Maidenhair fern

Maidenhair ferns have fronds that reach over 2 feet in length and are covered with delicate-appearing leaves. Primarily a tropical plant, maidenhair grows best in warm climates with mild winters, but can survive colder areas, though the fronds will die back in the winter and come back in the spring. This graceful fern prefers moist soil and grows especially well around ponds and water features, but will do fine in other areas of the garden such as in borders and edgings.

Choose an area with well draining, rich soil in full to partial shade. Raise the planting bed 3 to 6 inches by working compost into the soil before planting.

Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball. Set the root in the hole and fill in with soil so that the crown of the plant where the leaves emerge is level with the soil surface.

Water in well after planting. Keep the soil moist at all times but not soaking wet.

Place a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the planting bed and under the fern to help preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds. Use wood chips, compost or any other type of organic mulch.

Remove dead fronds and those that yellow and wither from where they emerge from the soil.

Mist the leaves with a mister attachment on your garden hose during hot, dry weather. Maidenhair prefers humidity.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Mulch
  • Mister attachment


  • Brown leaf tips signify the humidity is too low for your fern and that it's time to mist.
  • Divide the rhizomes of the maidenhair every 3-5 years.


  • Overly wet soil will cause the root system to rot.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.