Maidenhair ferns: is it even doable to maintain them alive?

This is what a maidenhair fern is supposed to look like.


That is what a maidenhair fern is meant to appear like.

I attempted the whole lot: watering it daily, watering it sparsely, placing it in filtered mild, placing it within the near-dark.

I purchased a sprig bottle with which to mist it. I spoke kindly to it, and tried by no means to slam any doorways.

And nonetheless its fronds curled and went brown. Its construction grew to become spindly, a far cry from the “lush carpet of inexperienced” I’d been wanting ahead to seeing. I broke off needle-thin stems and waited for the regrowth to come back in thick, lovely and wholesome.

This sad and sorry specimen apparently doesn’t like the bathroom.

Joanna Davis/Stuff

This unhappy and sorry specimen apparently doesn’t like the lavatory.

Alas, my maidenhair fern has a loss of life want.

* Houseplants looking sick? The plant doctor answers your questions
* Burn The Fern: Can setting fire to your maidenhair bring it back to life?
* Seven finicky houseplants for beginners to avoid (and what to get instead)

Google provided little in the best way of certainty. The gentlest method I noticed the plant care recommendation put was “they require a gardener’s tender contact to develop properly”.

I feel we are able to safely say I don’t possess that.

I seem to be able to keep many other houseplants alive.

Joanna Davis/Stuff

I appear to have the ability to hold many different houseplants alive.

Crowd-sourced recommendation

Nevertheless, what I do have, to cite Liam Neeson, is a really explicit set of expertise; expertise I’ve acquired over a really lengthy profession. That’s ‘choosing the brains of others’.

I’m a member of two Fb houseplant teams; primarily I take advantage of them for plant porn, admiring the work of others, often committing to reminiscence the identify of a plant I could like to accumulate a while. However in all honesty, I nonetheless cannot inform a pothos from a syngonium.

On-line, my plea for assist was met with a lot recommendation:

  • Water from the underside, transfer it round in numerous spots till it’s joyful.
  • I put it in a big pot downstairs below the home subsequent to a retaining wall. It will get blasted by the wind however little solar or rain, and it’s now large, thriving even.
  • I noticed a publish on right here (Houseplant Lovers NZ) which suggested utilizing banana water and hold moist and to spray with water repeatedly, so I bit the bullet and purchased one other . . . one final attempt. Had it now 4 months and is rising brilliantly.
  • Minimize it absolutely again and water usually and plenty of it. Maintain soil moist.
  • Don’t allow them to be in a breeze ever, don’t have them someplace they’ll be bumped, mist every day in summer season and a minimum of weekly in colder months.
  • Maintain soil moist however do not let it sit in water.
  • My baby likes to over-water the vegetation and a few have suffered from this. So I sat a drink bottle subsequent to the maidenhair fern and stated simply water this one everytime you like, go away the remainder alone. Child and fern are very joyful.
  • Chilly black tea – they just like the tannins in it. And in the event you do neglect to water it and the fronds dry up and go crispy, chop them off on the base, give it water and it’ll come away once more.
  • Do not point out inside earshot she’s lovely . . . ever!
  • Maintain them by your mattress. They feed off your vitality whenever you sleep. For those who get up feeling drained then it is working.
  • Straightforward as . . . tears of pleasure from a cat, or mermaid if cat it unavailable, forge a jar made out of diamonds, which must be made in a cauldron of the leprechaun guarding the gold. As soon as jar is created, acquire colors of rainbow whereas standing on the again of a rainbow-coloured unicorn.
  • Smartest thing for them is the bin.
  • Unhealthy, dangerous karma plant. All have died and it’s banned from my residence.
  • Do not take a look at it, do not contact it, do not let it hear you breathe, do not say something to it.

Effectively, that was a combined bag. My subsequent line of enquiry was with a really skilled plant-lover.

Sarah Forsyth is able to keep all these plants alive, but even she bows down before the death wish of a maidenhair fern.


Sarah Forsyth is ready to hold all these vegetation alive, however even she bows down earlier than the loss of life want of a maidenhair fern.

Recommendation from a plant-mad collector

Even plant-lover Sarah Forsyth, who has more than 300 plants in her Nelson home, says maidenhair ferns are “diva vegetation”.

She says she has purchased just a few “as a result of they’re so lovely”.

“The final one I purchased was two months in the past and I used to be like, ‘sure, I will hold it moist within the lavatory and hold it alive’. I went away on boat journey and it did not get watered for 4 days and utterly dried out and shrivelled up.”

Tie a newspaper cone around the fronds and set it on fire: Perhaps best done outdoors, with a hose handy.

Lynda Hallinan/Stuff

Tie a newspaper cone across the fronds and set it on hearth: Maybe greatest executed outdoor, with a hose useful.

Our inhouse knowledgeable’s recommendation

NZ Gardener editor Jo McCarroll says her favorite tip is from gardening author and former NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan, who in flip heard it from a girl who referred to as in to a radio present Hallinon fronted.

“You probably have nearly killed one, tie a newspaper cone around the fronds and set fire to it. Actually. She’s executed it and it got here again to life however, she did admit, she killed it once more afterward.”

McCarroll says chopping all of the fronds off will work equally.

The results after you have burned off all the frond. This, believe it or not, will regenerate.

Lynda Hallinan/Stuff

The outcomes after you’ve gotten burned off all of the frond. This, consider it or not, will regenerate.

“As long as the underground rhizome is okay, they may push out some new fronds. It’s simply not as satisfying as setting them on hearth.”

McCarroll says the principle downside folks have with maidenhairs is watering, both an excessive amount of or not sufficient.

“They should keep damp however not sodden, or they get root rot.”

Develop a minimum of six vegetation per individual to get an honest bowl full ripe without delay.

Recommendation from a retailer

Kings Plant Barn on-line plant physician Lee Gutzewitz calls maidenhair ferns “a little bit choosy”.

She says it’s greatest to know the right care from the beginning.

“The primary factor is that they’re ferns, in order that they at all times must be barely moist.”

She recommends placing a saucer beneath that at all times accommodates a little bit water. Rocks usually are not vital: they’re extra for vegetation that want excessive humidity.

Gutzewitz says neither is there any must mist the vegetation. “It’s not unsuitable to spray them, nevertheless it’s further work that you simply in all probability needn’t do. I might relatively hold them in a spot that’s barely moist already, like the lavatory or the laundry.”

She recommends beginning the plant off in a draft-free place with oblique mild, not close to a heater.

“In addition they don’t prefer to be moved round quite a bit. The plant will kick up a fuss and can look even worse for some time.”

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