by Jessica Hill
Do you enjoy tending to your plants every need? Or are you more of a water once a month type of person? Well, if you're the latter the Maidenhair fern might not be for you. If I'm honest, I've killed a few in my time. But I always buy a new plant and try again. It’s impossible to resist their delicate, lacy leaves.
But luckily, I’ve recently discovered the maidenhair fern has a trick up its sleeve. It can come back from the dead. So, if you find your plant is suddenly more brown than green, don’t chuck it out straight away. The maidenhair is only dead if it hasn’t had any new growth for 18 months.
If you catch it early enough, when the fronds have only just started turning brown, simply put the pot into water and leave it immersed until all the bubbles stop coming to the surface. This will rewet the soil and root ball and should be enough to keep it going.
If it’s looking really sad, cut the fronds off level to the ground, move it into a shady spot outside and, if you’re lucky, it will start growing new, green fronds within a couple of months. You can also give it an extra boost by repotting your plant using a good quality potting soil.
There's a few different subspecies of maidenhair fern, some that do better indoors and some that like the outside. To give your plant the best chance at growing to its full potential (they can grow up to 3 feet tall if you take care of them,) be sure to check the subspecies of the fern before you buy to ensure it will be happy when you get it home.
Maidenhair ferns hate being in a draught so keep yours away from windows and doors, and don’t put it in the hallway. It's also a good idea to plant your maidenhair fern in a self-watering pot, or stand the pot on a tray of pebbles and water, to keep it from drying out.
Maidenhair ferns also hate the dark, and they hate direct sunlight (I told you they were temperamental). But they do love growing in brightly lit spaces. They are also extreme risk from frost, so if you intend to grow yours on a balcony or patio, make sure you bring it inside during the winter months.
The maidenhair fern takes a little more work than a lot of other plants, but it’s definitely worth it. And if you forget to water it for a couple of weeks, you can always bring it back from the dead. #itsplantporn
Jessica Hill is a freelance journalist who is interested in the relationship between plants and people. Follow her on Instagram @plantsunknown.