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Adiantum pedatum

Maidenhair Fern /

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Dainty bright green fronds are held aloft on shiny black stems creating a light, airy texture in the woodland garden. In rich soil and bright shade it will spread by shallow rhizomes to form a dense groundcover. Found in the humus-rich woodlands and moist woods of Eastern North America. Easy to grow as long as the soil is loose and rich.


  • Perfect for deep shade and moist soils
  • Spreads slowly to create a lush groundcover
  • Easy care and low maintenance once established
  • Perfect accent for rock walls and shady water features
  • Provides outstanding cover for small animals and birds

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow Maidenhair Fern in part or full shade and acidic to neutral, moist, well-drained soils. It does not tolerate clay. Happiest in shade, but it can take more sun in northern zones and with adequate moisture. Spreads by shallow rhizomes. Adiantum pedatum goes dormant in periods of drought, but will return the following spring.

12-18 Inches


12-18 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Found in moist woodlands and along streams, Maidenhair fern is native to most states east of the Rockies. Distribution Map

Native Trivia

Maidenhair Fern was believed to have numerous medicinal qualities utilized by several Native American tribes, from a cough medicine to a rinse for shiny hair. Certain tribes used the stems for designs in basketry and packaging for travel. Smoky Mountain folklore says if a maiden handles a stem and the leaves don't flicker, her virtue is assured.

"Maidenhair Ferns provide shelter for toads, salamanders, newts and other small amphibians."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Low Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Shade
  • Acidic
  • Humus-rich
  • Well-drained
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Amphibians
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Songbirds
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Songbird
Native Habitat
  • Forest
Foliage Color
  • Dark Green
  • Green
  • Border
  • Container
  • Erosion control
  • Ground cover
  • Mass plant
  • Naturalizes
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin