How to Care for Adiantum Aleuticum (Maidenhair Fern)

Adiantum aleuticum, also known as Maidenhair Fern, Serpentine Maidenhair, Aleutian Maidenhair, Five-Fingered Fern, and Western Maidenhair, is an attractive and delicate-looking fern that belongs to the Adiantum genus, commonly known as Maidenhair Ferns. This plant is native to North America and is prized for its semi-evergreen foliage and elegant appearance. It has earned the Plant of Merit status for its showy and semi-evergreen qualities. In this article, we will explore the main caring considerations, ideal growing conditions, and other essential aspects of growing and maintaining a healthy Adiantum aleuticum in your garden.

Main Caring Considerations


Maidenhair Ferns require average watering to thrive. They prefer consistently moist soil, but it is essential to avoid overwatering or letting the plant sit in standing water, as this can lead to root rot. During hot and dry periods, check the soil moisture regularly and water as needed to maintain the desired moisture level.

Light Care

Adiantum aleuticum grows well in partial sun to full shade. It prefers dappled sunlight or a location where it can receive filtered light throughout the day. Too much direct sunlight may cause the delicate fronds to scorch, whereas insufficient light can lead to weak and spindly growth.

Soil Care

This fern thrives in moist but well-drained soil, with a preference for slightly acidic to neutral pH levels. It can adapt to various soil types, including chalk, clay, loam, and sand. Proper drainage is crucial to prevent root rot and other issues associated with overly saturated soil.

Growing Region

Adiantum aleuticum is native to North America and can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 1 through 8. This fern is suitable for various climates and can adapt to different growing conditions as long as its basic requirements are met.

Growth Rate, Height, Size, and Spread

The growth rate of Maidenhair Ferns is moderate, and they typically reach a mature height and spread of 1 to 3 feet (30 to 90 cm). The delicate, arching fronds can extend up to 30 inches (75 cm) in length, creating a beautiful, cascading effect.

Season and Temperature

Adiantum aleuticum is a semi-evergreen fern, which means that it retains some of its foliage throughout the winter months in milder climates. It can withstand temperatures down to USDA hardiness zone 1, making it a relatively cold-hardy plant. However, it is essential to protect it from harsh winds and freezing temperatures, particularly in colder regions.


Pruning is not usually necessary for Maidenhair Ferns, as they maintain a naturally attractive shape. However, you can remove any dead or damaged fronds to encourage new growth and maintain the plant’s overall health and appearance.


As a fern, Adiantum aleuticum does not produce flowers. Instead, it reproduces through spores that form on the undersides of the fronds. The spores are typically brown or black and are situated in clusters called sori.


Maidenhair Ferns are relatively pest-resistant, but they can occasionally be affected by common garden pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Regularly inspect your fern for signs of infestation and treat any issues promptly with appropriate measures, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Adiantum aleuticum is deer-resistant, making it an excellent addition to gardens where deer are a common problem. Its attractive foliage and delicate appearance can also add visual interest and contrast to various garden styles.

Garden Styles

Maidenhair Ferns are suitable for various garden styles, including informal and cottage gardens, prairie and meadow gardens, and traditional gardens. They can be used in beds and borders, patio containers, pond and stream plantings, and as underplantings for roses and shrubs.

Companion Plants

Adiantum aleuticum pairs well with other shade-loving plants, such as hostas, astilbes, and hellebores. Its delicate foliage provides an excellent contrast to the bolder textures and colors of these companion plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Adiantum aleuticum easy to grow?
Yes, Maidenhair Ferns are relatively easy to grow as long as their basic requirements for light, moisture, and soil conditions are met.

Can I grow Adiantum aleuticum indoors?
Yes, Maidenhair Ferns can be grown indoors as houseplants, provided they receive sufficient light and humidity. Be sure to place them in a location with indirect light and maintain consistent soil moisture.

Are Maidenhair Ferns toxic to pets?
No, Adiantum aleuticum is non-toxic to pets and is considered safe for planting in gardens where pets may be present.


Adiantum aleuticum, or Maidenhair Fern, is a beautiful and delicate-looking fern that can add elegance and visual interest to various garden styles. By providing the appropriate care and growing conditions, you can enjoy the graceful beauty of this fern in your garden for many years to come.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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