Adiantum (Maidenhair Fern)

ADIANTUM (Maidenhair Fern) Polypodiaceae A. species

HABITAT:  Tropical countries, U.S.A.  Zone 10 or as noted below.

USES:  Shady wild garden, greenhouse pots, terrariums.

HABIT:  Dainty, delicate fern plant with compounded fronds on thin, 12-26", wiry stems with individual leaves forming a flat, fan-shaped pattern.  Fern 'croziers' arise from a creeping and branching rhizome growing just below soil surface.

SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE:  Be sure container has drainage holes.  Firm moistened Park's Grow and level the surface, then sow the dust-like spores on the surface and lightly press them in with a clean board.  Do not cover with soil or mix.  Cover container with a piece of glass or plastic and set in a saucer full of water.  Maintain a soil temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A green, moss-like growth (resembling algae) will show up within four weeks.  A few weeks later, thin green, heart-shaped structures (prothalli) will be seen and from these the fern plants gradually develop.  At this point, set small clumps of the 'prothalli' one inch apart in pans of finely sifted composted, keep them shaded and moist.  Pot them separately, before they become crowded, to 2-1/4" pots and shift when well rooted to 4" pots.  Grow in a rich, loose, well-drained humus (peat moss, leaf  mold, compost) enriched soil and keep moist a all times. Though Adiantum Fern spreads, its outward growth is slow. Grow in a partly shaded area, indoors, or in a greenhouse; grow in a diffused light to prevent burning of the young fronds.  Dense shade, however, produces weak growth.  Grow with a minimum 50-55°F and in a high humidity area during the growing season.  To deter damping off do not syringe (mist) the fronds.  Indoors grow in a shady window using a pebble-filled tray of water for added humidity; be sure that the water does not touch pot bottoms.  Ferns grow well in terrariums.  Pot in a commercially prepared soil mix or equal parts of peat moss, leaf mold, loam and a small mound of coarse sand with a few pieces of charcoal added.  Repot in March or April when the new fronds (croziers) begin to uncurl.  Gently firm the new soil added to the slightly larger pot and top dress the pots with fresh compost.  Feed every month with a diluted liquid plant fertilizer (1/4 strength) May to August.  Gradually reduce the water from September to March during their resting period, adding just enough to prevent soil from drying completely.

SPECIES: A. bispidulum (rosey Maidenhair Fern) 6-12". zone 10.  Tropics of eastern hemisphere.  Fast growing. Good greenhouse plant.
A. Capillus-veneris (Southern Maidenhair Fern) Zone 9.  18".  Southern USA and British Columbia, tropics. Good greenhouse plant.  Creeping rhizomes.  Glossy, purplish-black stalk.  Foliage fan shaped and lobed.
A. cuneatum (Delta Maidenhair Fern) 15".  Zone 10.  Good florist pot plant.  Good for cutting.  Brazil.  9" wide fronds.  As cuts, select older fronds to prevent wilting.  Immerse in water overnight before using. Partial shade.  Minimum 55°F growing temperature.
A. pedatum (American Maidenhair Fern) 18-26".  Zone 3.  North America.  Shiny, purplish-black stalk branching at top.  Leaflets borne horizontally.  Dainty. Creeping rhizomes.  Cool, moist, shaded soil.  Spreads slowly.

INSECTS: Aphids, Beetles, Mealy Bugs, White Fly, Scale; Use an approved insecticide, such as Malathion. Caterpillar;  Use an approved insecticide, such as Sevin. Crickets;  Use an approved insecticide, such as Diazinon.  Orthezia;  Use an approved insecticide, such as Malathion.  Destroy infected plants.  Slugs;  Clean up debris used for hiding places. Metaldehyde Bait. Beer placed in shallow saucer attracts slugs and causes them to drown.

DISEASES: Rot; Destroy infected plant parts. Use sterilized growing medias. Leaf Spot;  Spray with Bordeaux Mixture. Captan, Fermate.  Keep foliage and flowers dry.  Destroy infected leaves.

PROPAGATION:  Division (spring), spores.