TREES & plants

Maidenhair fern

Maidenhair fern is a unique, airy fern with fan-shaped fronds growing around a horseshoe-shaped stem. Maidenhair ferns spread to form dense patches.

Botanical name: 
Adiantum pedatum
All Common Names: 
Maidenhair Fern, Northern Maidenhair fern
Family (English): 
Maidenhair fern
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Ground cover, 
  • Perennial
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Foundation, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer
Shape or Form: 
  • Creeping, 
  • Irregular
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 


1 to 2 feet high and 1 to 1 1/2 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Excellent plant for naturalizing and shade garden
Prefers moist, humus-rich soils in full to part  shade.
Plants tend to burn in full sun.
Divide clumps when patch gets too crowded.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious insect or disease problems

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 10
Native to the eastern half of the United States.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Delicate fronds emerge in spring.
Green, fan-shaped fronds on horseshoe-shaped rachis 

Flower arrangement, shape, and size


Adiantum pedatum or Maidenhair fern