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Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair)

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Hardy fern grow sheet
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Adiantum pedatum

northern maidenhair

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.

Adiantum pedatum LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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12-24 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-8

northern maidenhair Interesting Notes

As far as native ferns go, there is no comparison toAdiantum pedatum. This unique and stunning deciduous fern has no peer in our native woodland plant palette, except of course for its southern counterpart,  Adiantum capillus-veneris. Its delicate, vibrant green fronds are held aloft on shiny black stems, creating a distinctive light and airy texture. 

If you're lucky you'll see this fern in the humus-rich, moist to mesic woodlands in eastern North America. It can be found in both acidic and neutral soil conditions. 

Adiantum pedatum is tucked into sheltered shady spots in our shade trials where it spreads slowly by shallow rhizomes. We've found that it displays its best foliage in northern climates with cooler summers.  

Adiantum pedatum Growing and Maintenance Tips

A. pedatum can be found in humus-rich woodlands and moist woods in acidic to neutral, moist, well-drained soils. Does not tolerate clay. Happier in cooler climates and can take more sun in northern zones. Spreads by shallow rhizomes. Propagate by dividing rhizomes in spring or from spores. 

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative (FAC)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Ornamental Foliage
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Tissue culture