- Part shade
Adiantum is a large genus of approximately 200 terrestrial fern species distributed worldwide. The name of the maidenhair fern family, Adiantaceae, comes from the Greek 'adiantos' meaning unwetable, waterproof because the water runs right off the leaflets.
Adiantum pedatum is native to North America and Eastern Asia. It is easily recognizable due to its palmate look, hence its common name five-fingered maidenhair fern. The fronds (leaves) are about 30 cm (12 in) long, pinnate, somewhat triangular pinnules (leaflets) pinnate on one side only. The pinnules are borne on thin, shiny, black or very dark stalks.
Ferns are not flowering plants they are primarily grown for their foliage and the maidenhair fern in particular is highly ornamental, due to its fine and delicate pinnules that range in color from strong to soft green during their life cycle contrasting with the black stalks. The five-fingered maidenhair fern is primarily evergeen but can be deciduous in cooler climates.
Maidenhair ferns will do well in moist conditions, part to full shade, rich soils that can hold moisture but well drained, a pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.5 and hardiness zone from 4a to 9a, protected from wind, for best results plant in larger groups. Propagation is by spores or root division.
Adiantum species can easily be confused with one another, so remember the five-fingered clue for Adiantum pedatum.
Many cultivars and hybrids have been developed over the years, notable ones are: Adiantum pedatum 'Imbricatum', A.p. 'Miss Sharples', A.p. var. subpumilum, A.p. var. aleuticum.
The landscape architects and designers may choose this fern for woodland or shaded areas, water, rock or japanese gardens and even containers or living walls.
Photographed exclusively for Shapedscape. © AW