maidenhair fern

Way back in May when Country Living came and shot the house, one of the best things they brought was this gorgeous maidenhair fern. Side note - I just found out my house will be in the April 2016 issue.  I've always loved these ferns but have never been able to keep one alive for more than a month.  I'm not sure what I did that killed them off so quickly besides over watering and putting them in the wrong location. Apparently I've got it figured out because this one is not only still alive but it's thriving.

One of the things you read about them is that they don't like to be moved around.  Well this one was put in the back seat of our car and driven 700 miles to northern Utah where it was met with several days of blizzard weather conditions.  I placed it in our bedroom which has eastern light and low and behold, it didn't die.  It went through quite a few extreme weather conditions while there and none of them bothered it.

We shoved it in the backseat again on the way back and then put it in its current location which gets mostly eastern light and OMG, it's still living.  So to keep one alive I'd...

1.  Place where it would get ample eastern light if at all possible.

2.  Water deeply just before it gets completely dry.  About once a week depending on weather conditions.  You want it to stay pretty evenly moist.  Not soggy and not dry.

So far that's all I've done to keep it alive.  Have you had any luck with them?  I'd love to know if you've fertilized or any other tips you've used to keep them alive.   x


  1. Looking so forward to your Country Living issue. By the way, your new grandchild is adorable. I am a first time grandmother since Sept. It's the best!!!

  2. I'm so excited! No. I don't even try with house plants. I think I'm too fussy with them and they'll do anything to get out from under my smothering care. But they are so pretty! I love how delicate the maidenhair is.

  3. I killed a maiden hair fern by putting it in our bathroom...I thought it might like the didn't!
    I'm so excited to see your home in CL...
    You know I think I'll try again with that's so exquisite.
    Thank you for the tips.

  4. I think you have it figured out - lighting placement and watering. I'm trying my best to keep a potted gardenia alive and thriving, I rejoice at every new bloom!

  5. I have not had luck with the two times I bought these ferns. I will try again using your placement/water recs. I just love the dainty look of these ferns. I can't wait for the magazine exciting :-)


  6. I have a question. Does your pot have drainage?

  7. Well just have to say love your blog, I have been reading you for a while now. Ok years...... But please tell us about your old wood floors and what you use on them? I know we bloggers ask the strangest things!
    Thank you

  8. I've had great luck with Maiden Hair ferns. Mine stays outside unless the temp is going to be below 40. It stays in a saucer of water at all times. It gets no sun, just natural light from outdoors. Inside, I would keep it in a dish with pebbles covered in water. Also, they don't like to be watered from the top. I have 2 right now that are huge - one I'm trying to find a home for! Lisa

  9. When we lived in the western Piedmont area of NC, I knew several people who grew Maidenhair ferns outdoors as a groundcover around their shrubbery. I've been to Redlands and am inclined to think they would also thrive there in the great outdoors.

  10. I've had some luck but they do seem temperamental. I have an atrium area that will sometime revive one that seems a bit distressed. Yours looks great. I'm so eager to see your Country Living feature. I love your style.

  11. Ah, all is still serene and calm at your end, all of my ferns are outside in the dank dark shade so I'm no help.

  12. Oh Janet your fern looks so beautiful there! So classical and yet so friendly!

  13. I love the fern. Perhaps, I will look for one. I have a great spot with eastern exposure in our dining room. Will be fun to see your cottage in print. Can't wait. I like your gold mirror. I believe it is a new addition to your dining area. Nice to have you home!

  14. I have a Peace Plant that refuses to leave my kitchen sink. Every time I move it to the kitchen or dining room window, it begins to look wan and sickly. When I place it back on the sink, it thrives. Looking forward to the Country Living spread. It is such a great magazine.

  15. Can't wait to see the photos of your home in 2016! Exciting! I kill all ferns and other indoor plants x

  16. Janet you are doing good by it... I would take mine when I lived in Northern Ca and just before it was dry soil I would fill the sink a bit way up and set the potted fern in the sink of water to drink up on its own for a few hours, then let drain in the sink and then through the couple of weeks just mist it with my misting bottle. So it sounds like your doing a perfect job no better then my job at keeping them alive.

    So excited to see your home, inside and out, it's going to stand out on the country living pages.... As well as, inspire how much beauty one can live with in a much smaller space. With such a small way of living these days you are going to set the trend on fire as to ones saying " look at this amazing black cottage, I want one too! "

    Well my dear, I am not living with and plants indoors at this time, yet so want to add a draft lemon tree in the kitchen somewhere in the corner :)

    See you soon...PS. The wicker table and parson chairs fit so sweetly in your home:)


  17. Your home is lovely, so serene and beautiful. Your tips have inspired me to buy another fern!

  18. As I recall, ferns do need a certain amount of humidity, thus sitting the pot on damp, watered rocks sounds good; misting may help, but don't overdo; filtered light from the east, preferably morning and no direct sun; lastly, a cool room. Looks like yours is doing great now. Keep us posted. :-) P. S. I'm no expert, but the few plants I have to bring inside in the winter do well in my windows facing southeast where they pick up the morning sunlight. I used to keep African Violet's in Eastern muted morning sunlight and they bloomed their little heads off. Also, they bloom more when their roots are pot-bound.

  19. Hi Janet, sorry I am a little late commenting here. I've been so busy lately...I read blog posts with the intent to leave a comment later and then next thing I know a few days have passed. In regards to your prior post, I did want to say that your granddaughter is adorable. I bet you are so happy to be home.

    I tried to grow a Maidenhair fern once and it not do well, must have been the light because it was near a south facing window. The only east facing windows in my house are in the bedrooms. Glad to see your fern is thriving!

    I have a ZZ plant now where the fern used to be and that thing is doing great, I've had it for almost 2 years now and I can't seem to kill it.


  20. Perfect advice for me, Janet. I just bought a small one a few months ago. The lady at the store said it would tolerate low light. I bought it for our bedroom which is North. It suffered so I moved it into a brighter room. It's still kind of brown. I'm hoping to revive it. I'll maybe put it on my desk which is the brightest spot in the apartment. Ya know, I never should have bought the poor thing. It seemed too delicate. Your post has inspired me to not give up on it though. Thank you!

  21. I'm excited about the magazine. I wonder if we can get the US version here. Ferns grow freely in our garden but I've never had much luck with them in the house. Yours is gorgeous, I reckon the road trip did him good. xxx

  22. you're killing me with that maidenhair fern. I can never, ever, keep one alive in my house.

    I live in the East but I don't think I get any Eastern light.

    April huh? Can't wait . I just subscribed so i didn't miss it.

    See how good you are for business?

    xo J

  23. Amazing isnt it? I still have a thriving Arrowhead plant we moved here from Los Angeles in 1980. I won it on Good Morning LA. With Stephanie and Ralph Story sometime in the 70's. It lives on water only.
    Glad to have you home sis,

    1. OMG, I loved that local/L.A.-based show! That's a LONG TIME AGO!!! We SoCalifornians fondly remember Ralph & Stephanie (I was a teen!) and didn't Steve Edwards come into the picture at some point? Gosh, he has to be pushing 70 and Stephanie must be over 70 by now; she does THE BEST Rose Parade coverage on TV.

      I can't shed any light on ferns (except that I have an asparagus fern doing fairly well outside on the north face of the property against the house) and I seem to have had NO LUCK with indoor plants in the last few years (they tend to get buggy, even the spider plants..?..). However, we recently put a ficus in the ground after it had been in a pot for probably 35 years. It's been outside in the pot, inside in the pot, neglected, shut up in dark trailers when moving too many times...thru two marriages...I feel like I've talked about this ficus before (it's been outside continuously, in the container, for 23 of those years, exposed to terrible heat and humidity, but also frost and icy-cold, below-freezing temps). Doing really well at present, high as the rooftop; again, like the asparagus fern, on the north side of the house. My south-facing side gets too much sun and heat for much of anything but roses, hawthorn, lantana and hibiscus.

      I like the maidenhead is so lacy and pretty. A girly kind of plant (smile). Maybe I'll give one a try. Thanks for the tips, Janet!

  24. I'm late with this comment, but I have good luck with maidenhair ferns outdoors, can't keep them alive indoors. I live by the ocean in Orange County, we do get frost in Dec and Jan, if they turn brown, I just cut them back and they grow back beautifully. They like filtered light and get quite large. I've had the same plants for 10+ years.

  25. I have no green thumbs but I managed to keep one alive for 4 months with just some water regularly... Sadly it died last week when we were away for a few days, but I have no idea why....

  26. What a stunning space. I'll make a note to get that issue!


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