There are about 200 different species of Adiantum ferns. Mine is the species capillus veneris, or Venus-Hair Fern. They are tropical natives and like to live in the misty shade near waterfalls, so I keep mine indoors by the living room window and spray it with a spray bottle a lot. My spray bottle always has just a tiny bit of Miracle Grow in it, which I only use on house or potted patio plants. I have read that you should never spritz the leaves of your Maidenhair Ferns, but I only do it near the base of the plant and it’s thriving so I’m not going to question my decision to break that rule. It seems to like what I do and my orchids seem to like being near it so I keep them all together.
Every once in a while I give it an aggressive haircut. There is always a moment of panic that it will not grow back, but it always does. In between the more aggressive cut, I keep the older, leggy and browned parts cut back which stimulates brand new little green furls of ferny happiness.
They can be propagated by diving the plant. Mine should probably be divided since it’s been in this pot for several years. I imagine it may be claustrophobic so maybe I’ll do it next Spring. They tend to go a bit dormant from September to March, so don’t get discouraged if it looks a little ‘off’ during those months. Propagation can also be done using the spores, the little tiny brown button things on the underside of fern leaves. The spores and the part of the leaf that they’re on turn brown when ripe. Since I always cut off the brown parts, I never have spores. No problem though, because I have never really wished for two ferns, always being happy with just the one to take care of.
They definitely do not like to dry out and don’t really like direct Sunshine, just lots of light. The profile they make against the window is charming and always cheers me up for some reason. It’s one of my ‘happy plants’ I suppose.
This is the picture I took of mine this morning. As you can see towards the center there are some larger brownish leaves. This is where the spores will be. It has been a while since I trimmed it and it looks healthy and lush. I’ll probably leave it alone until next Spring except for a little trim here and there. The pot that it lives in has no drainage and, although it seems fine and is thriving, I should give it some room and proper drainage eventually. For now, it’s pretty.
A bit of folklore…Adiantum is a Greek word and basically means ‘unwetted’ since the plant can be immersed in water and come out with completely dry leaves. This is how it came to be called Venus Hair representing how tidy her hair was when she arose from the foamy depths of the sea. As a plant of Venus it is said to grant grace, love, beauty, and fabulous hair to anyone who wears it, or so it was believed.