Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rough Maidenhair Fern, Rosy Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum hispidulum

Family: Pteridaceae
Genus: Adiantum (ad-ee-AN-tum) (Info)
Species: hispidulum (hiss-PID-yoo-lum) (Info)

Synonym:Adiantum pubescens

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BayAreaTropics On Aug 1, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I would say this is the second easiest of the common maidenhairs to grow..only the southern maidenhair will grow larger and faster. A.hispidulum is a little more resistant to slugs and snails-but be on watch. Its darker coloration is a nice contrast to the southern maidenhair. I haven't noticed any special soil needs.Generic fern conditions are fine..the better the soil,more water and fertilizer will get you a bigger hispidulum. Perfect for the bay area.

Positive emmit On Aug 1, 2007, emmit from Canton, OH wrote:

I am not positive on the identification of my plants, but they match the photos closely. The young fronds are a pinkish-copper turning dark green. If it is not actually Adiantum Hispidulum it is a closely related species. It is definitely an Adiantum.
I grow this plant from spores, which it produces copiously. Spores will not grow in a household humidity, but sprout readily under terrarium conditions.
Collect the spores by simply leaving a small pot of moist potting soil under the plant for a week or so.
Set the pot in a saucer of water until the surface of the soil is wet. Then place the pot in a small clear container. Seal the container with plastic wrap and place it in a well lit place out of direct sunlight.
After about a month, small mossy looking plants will appear. This is the gametophyte generation of the fern. they will take the form of a small, flat, ruffled disk. In my experience, you can expect several hundred of these, many more than you can raise to maturity without a large greenhouse. Thin them out to as many plants as you think you can handle. Space them about 3/4" apart. After thinning, seal them back into the container.
After about another month, small fronds will appear out of the center of each prothallium. these are the sporophyte generation and will grow into the full size plant. when about an inch to 1 1/2 inches tall, transplant to 2" pots, but keep them in a terrarium until they reach a 4" pot size for maximum growth. Then slowly open the terrarium and acclimate the plants to room humidity.
These ferns, I have found, tolerate low humidity about as well as a Boston fern if kept reasonably moist, but they need to be carefully watched. Once the surface of the soil becomes dry, they MUST be watered immediately. Their leaves do not wilt, so you get no warning. They die in a matter of hours once the soil in the interior of the pot is dry. They have no way of storing water in roots or stems.
But there is one relief. If the plant is mature, there will be viable spores. Place some of the dried leaves in a white paper envelope and shake vigorously. A dark brown dust will fall out. Sprinkle this dust on the surface of a pot of moist soil and treat as above.
I find this fern is a good companion for African violets and other low light plants. Cultivation is not hard as long as the plants are kept evenly moist. Large plants can be divided like any herbaceous perennial, but will not survive frost. Use as a house plant in the north.

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 24, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Runion, Malaysia, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Positive palmbob On Nov 9, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not personally grown this fern, but discovered it on a recent garden tour here in So Cal- turns out to be an excellent garden plant requiring a lot less moisture and care than 'standard' Adiantums, and the new red leaves are a great added bonus. Native of New Zealand

Positive Toxicodendron On Jul 3, 2003, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Here in zone 6, I must grow this as a houseplant. It dislikes the low humidity of winter, so I cut it back in spring and set it outdoors for our muggy summers, which it loves. The new growth is a lovely copper color.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wetumpka, Alabama
Hayward, California
Bartow, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Marietta, Georgia
Conway, South Carolina
Arlington, Tennessee
Spring, Texas

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