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September 17, 2020 3 min read

This is for the fern lovers among us! My first foray into the indoor plants was a tiny Maiden Hair Fern from a weekend nursery visit with my mum and aunty. I was 11, well out of my depth and totally smitten by those delicate fluttering fronds. I sat it in a small decorative cache pot and watered it E.V.E.R.Y. S.I.N.G.L.E day!

Needless to say - it died, probably within a week maybe, just maybe it lasted two. 

I've killed many a Maiden Hair since then and I have to admit, while I still love them they seem like too much work these days. Kudos to those who can keep them happy.

However, I couldn't resist this Heart Leaf Fern. As with all ferns this will need a little extra attention to keep happy. Perfect for a "helicopter plant parent"! (Not mine, saw it said on Instagram but can't remember who by - sorry)

A native to South East Asia this dwarf variety of fern, is an epiphyte. Meaning in its native habitat it will grow within the boughs and branches of trees and rock crevices. This gives you an idea of how to care for these little cuties.

As with other epiphytic plants such as orchids the Heart Leaf Fern or Hemionitis arifolia,for those of us who like to geek out on knowing the scientific names - likes moist humus rich soil (meaning they like a potting media with some organic matter like they would have in the jungle forests) a higher humidity and consistently moist soil.

However, as they are prone to root rot; do ensure that any excess water is drained off quickly. Another tip on watering (and this could apply to all your indoor plants who are susceptible to brown tips) always try to use soft water or at the very least water that has sat overnight to allow the chlorine and other chemicals dissipate.

Ferns in general, do not require a lot of fertiliser so err on the side of caution and only fertilise with a weak liquid solution at half strength once a month in the growing season or use our favourite, Munash Foliage Spray.

Humidity and warmth are going to be a deciding factor in the success of this indoor plant. If you already have a terrarium box set up these guys will be happy to join their humidity loving friends in there and then just treat them as you would the others. If you don't, no need to worry it just means you'll need to be a little more vigilant with your misting routine and using a pebble tray to increase the humidity around your fern will also help. 

Temperature wise these plants will only thrive by being kept on the warmer side with ideal temperatures between 15-29C. They will also benefit from bright but indirect light, ferns are not the plant for a dark bathroom, despite what much of the information out on the internet says.

Ferns are particularly susceptible to insect pests such as mealy bugs, scale and aphids. Remove these manually with a cotton swab doused in isopropyl alcohol or neem oil. 

Once, you've established a good care routine for these little plants they will reward you with their dark green, leathery foliage and the slight smugness that comes with keeping ferns alive. :))

 

 

 


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