Maidenhair Fern

Plant Data Sheet: By Sarah Short

Maidenhair Fern (Adiatum aleuticum)


Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Canada. (5)

Climate, elevation

2-3 pinnate temperate, sea level to mid-montane. (2)

Local occurrence

Found in moist, shady sites throughout our region, especially on wet cliffs, near waterfalls, and on stream-banks. (2)

Habitat preferences

Woodland, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge, Ground Cover. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil. (1)

Plant strategy type/ successional stage

Information not available.



Associated species

Adiantum pendatum, Adiantum subumilum, Adiantum anceps, Adiantum bellum, Adiantum capillus-veneris, Adiantum caudatum, Adiantum concinnum, Adiantum diaphanum. (3)

May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions,ect)

The most satisfactory method of propagation is by spores, but division in spring or autumn is also practicable. (3)

Collection restrictions or guidelines

Should not be removed from natural areas unless they are a bona fide salvage sites. (4)

Seed germination

Information not available.

Seed life

Short life, best if sown within a few hours of collection. Can be stored for 2-4 weeks. (5)

Recommended seed storage conditions

Store in an airtight plastic container in the non-freezing compartment of a refrigerator at about 40 degree F. (5)

Propagation recommendations

Relatively easy to produce from spores. Spores best sown as soon as ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep them humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old and then only in a very well sheltered position. (1)

Soil or medium requirements

Greenhouse maidenhair ferns may be planted in rockeries or grown in pots or hanging baskets in a mixture of one-half peat moss or leaf mold, one-quarter loamy topsoil, one-quarter coarse and or perlite, with scatterings of chopped charocoal and perhaps some dried cow manure added. Container must be well drained. (3)

Installation form

They like shady conditions (3)

Recommended planting density

Information not available.

Care requirements after installed

Misting on dry days does much to prevent desiccation of the foliage. (3)

Normal rate of growth or spread: lifespan

This deciduous fern grows 1-2 feet tall. (2)

Sources cited


(2)        Kruckeberg, Arthur R. 1982.  Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific

Northwest: An Illustrated Guide.  University of Washington Press, Seattle,


(3)        Everett, Thomas H. 1980. The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated

Encyclopedia of Horticulture. Garland Publishing, New York,  New York.

(4)        Leigh, Michael. 1999. Grow Your Own Native Landscape. Washington State

University Press, Olympia, Washington.

(5)        Jones, David L. 1987. Encyclopaedia of Ferns. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.