How to Propagate Maidenhair Fern

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Things You'll Need

  • Maidenhair fern leaves

  • Paper sacks

  • Peat moss seed-starting medium

  • Plastic bags

  • 2-inch pots

  • 3-inch pots

Maidenhair ferns, part of the botanical genus Adiantum, are tender stems covered in thin, lacy green leaves. Often associated with woodland and forested ground covers, maidenhair ferns can be grown in doors in diffused lighting and proper humidity levels. Maidenhair's fan-shaped fronds provide textural interest alongside more typical, linear-foliage houseplants. Propagating maidenhair fern is a rewarding process when new ferns emerge from spores of your existing plants.


Step 1

Cut fronds from the mother maidenhair fern plant in summer when spores are ripe. Ripe spores appear as dark yellow or brown dots on the underside of the frond.

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Step 2

Place fronds in a paper sack and close it. Allow the frond to shrivel. The spores will dry, dropping from the frond into the sack.


Step 3

Fill plastic bags with peat moss seed-starting medium. Lay the spores on the top of the medium. Water well to evenly moisten the growing medium. Close the bags. Place them in an area where the temperature is maintained at 65 to 75 degrees.

Step 4

Remove the baby ferns from the plastic bags when they are 1 inch tall. Pot them in groups in 2-inch pots. Keep the potting medium moist, but do not overwater -- algae can quickly form and kill the delicate starts.


Step 5

Transplant the maidenhair fern starts to individual 3-inch pots when they have reached a height of 3 inches. This process may take time, so patience and regular watering is critical to success in the propagation process.


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