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Openwork Adianthum Is A Popular Room Fern

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The airy laces of the most common adianthum fern seem weightless. They are so different in appearance from the austere and elegant vi of the usual garden ferns that the plant is not easily recognized by everyone as their closest relative. Adiantum is so popular that it is firmly entrenched in the lists of the most unpretentious crops. In fact, it is quite demanding to conditions. But if you remember that this is a forest and tropical plant and create him a proper care, even a novice florist will have no problems with it.

Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
The openwork adianthum is a popular indoor fern

Adiantum - plant description

Subtlety is the main characteristic of Adiantums. They are delicate and reverent in almost everything. The thinnest petioles, the translucent lobes of the leaves, the sprawling fountain-like form, the feeling of almost weightless opulence are the main characteristics of this delicate plant both in appearance and in character.

Adianthums have earned the nickname "Venus hair" for their exceptional airiness and the fine lines of the soruses and petioles. Among themselves florists often call this fern and in other ways: curly, curly, curly, maiden, Venus and simply adianthus. Adianthums got their botanical name for their non-wetting leaves, from which even small drops of water easily run off (from the Greek "not wetted").

Adianthums are on the list of classic indoor and greenhouse plants and have been popular for quite a long time. Over the past decades their popularity has declined somewhat, but today they have regained their status as fashionable plants, fitting perfectly into modern interiors.

These ferns represent the genus and family of the same name, Adiantaceae (Adiantaceae), one of the most modest monotypic families of the Ferns class. They are tropical ferns, widely represented in East Asia and South America. In nature, the plants are found mainly near water, retaining their moisture-loving nature in room conditions as well.

Adianthums are ferns that are not large, but very spreading. At a maximum height of 50 cm in girth, they are much larger. That said, adiantums still seem visually small and don't overwhelm the space. All adianthums are characterized by noticeable sprawl thanks to creeping shoots, and powerful, though very thin, compact rhizomes with unusual scales on the bark. The long leaves curve gracefully in arcs and droop, creating a green waterfall effect.

The finely branched wyes of Adiantum with the not quite usual shape of the lobes make this fern look very lush. Both petioles and viages are shiny, thin, brown, and very pretty, with only scales visible at the base of the leaves. The viages are quite densely arranged, they are broad, smooth, repeatedly pinnate, fan-shaped dissected.

With leaves several tens of centimeters in size, their lobes, just over 1 cm, seem even more touching. Rounded-triangular, wedge-shaped or inversely ovate, with an irregularly jagged edge, thin, fluttering, on slender petioles, the leaf segments create seemingly asymmetrical viens. But a closer look reveals their strict patterned structure.

Soruses (sporulation organs) in adiantums are located on the underside of leaf segments, covered by a false covering along veins, linear or rounded, little noticeable.

Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
Adiantums are ferns not large, but very spreading. © Mats Ellting

Species of indoor adianthums

Although adianthums are considered special and easily recognizable ferns, they are not at all monotonous. There are over two hundred species in the genus Adiantum, though only a few of the more compact Adiantum species are common in room culture.

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Adiantum capillus-veneris) is the calling card of the entire genus. A fern with thin petioles reminiscent of shiny brownish-black hair, translucent through the greenery, and with brightly colored leaves creates lush, airy laces of curtains. The wedge-shaped lobes make this plant especially ornate.

Adiantum beautiful (Adiantum formosum) is the main competitor of venereal hairs and the largest of indoor adiantums. With a maximum height of 1 m in nature and 50 cm in the room, it differs from the other species in its purplish-black powerful petioles and classic "fern-like" triangular, densely pinnate strict leaves. The plant looks more austere and massive, and is more often found in complex greenhouse compositions than alone. It is more resistant to dry air, but also not as showy.

Not the most popular, but the most delicate plant of the genus Adiantum is Adiantum tenerum (Adiantum tenerum). It is a surprisingly graceful fern with fan-shaped spreading viata and rounded delicate leaves. The bright lettuce-green colors of Adiantum tenderum dominate any background and create patches that look fresh and eye-catching. The fern is very responsive to care, it changes the intensity of coloring depending on conditions and vividly signals discomfort, allowing you to correct conditions and care in time.

Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris (Adiantum capillus-veneris). © pete veilleux
Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
Adiantum beautiful (Adiantum formosum). © keywordbasket
Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
Adiantum delicate (Adiantum tenerum). © Bukalapak

Conditions for growing indoor adiantums

Adiantums are considered plants that are not capricious and can grow well in any room. But this myth often leads to great disappointment. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most demanding ferns in the world, extremely sensitive to humidity and temperature stability.

Adianthumas, in fact, need the atmosphere of a winter garden or a flower cabinet, a moist florarium or a terrarium. When growing in rooms, the plant needs to recreate similar conditions, trying to compensate for all negative factors and balance the environment as much as possible.

Lighting and placement

Adianthums are true fans of penumbra. Like their delicate appearance, it is also worth choosing the mildest possible growing conditions - with diffused light, but sufficiently bright locations. Adiantums are afraid of direct sun rays and suffer in a strong shadow, but in bright rooms they can be placed not only on window sills.

The adiantums do not tolerate direct sunlight, they signal about lack or excess of light by changing color, which makes it easy to choose the most comfortable places inside the interior of rooms. Also ferns feel good near eastern windows.

Adianthums do not like to change places, they need to be moved very carefully and gradually. It's best not to touch or turn the plants unnecessarily, remembering their location in relation to the light source and keeping it the same after hygiene procedures.

Temperature and ventilation

Despite the often advertised versatility, adianthums are quite demanding on the environment they are in. They are thermophilic ferns, which cannot bear air temperature lower than 15 degrees of heat, but such decreases are allowed only for a very short time.

This fern prefers stable temperatures from 20 to 25 degrees during the whole year, even in summer and winter. The plants reach their highest decorative value at temperatures no higher than 22 degrees. Any lowering of these indicators fern perceives as a stress and accordingly reacts with changing of appearance and problems in growth.

Adianthum is capricious not only to the general regime of keeping, but also to "details". This plant does not tolerate drafts and prefers a stable sheltered environment. Adiantums do not like polluted air, they will not cope with tobacco smoke or fumes, with hot air in the kitchen.

Adiantums like rooms with clean, fresh air, need ventilation, but with the protection of the plants themselves from drafts. In the summertime, on days that are not hot and if a sheltered location is selected, adianthums can be moved out into the fresh air. Taking them to the balcony or garden helps to stimulate growth of old and strongly damaged plants.

Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
The adianthumas can't stand direct sun, they signal about the lack or excess of light by changing their color. © Galina Timchenko

Home care of adianthum

Maintaining the correct moisture regime of both soil and air is a very complicated task. Adianthum is easy to grow only in the greenhouse-vitrine regime. If it is placed in a room, it is worth being prepared for regular care, not allowing the soil to dry out. Beginners should not be afraid to get this fern: it requires attention, but is not too difficult to care for, as it itself signals problems and perfectly recovers.

Watering and humidity

The most difficult thing in caring for Adiantum is to maintain stable soil moisture. This plant reacts very painfully to stagnant water or complete drying of the substrate. Throughout the year it is undesirable to completely dry out the soil, in summer watering the adianthum after the top layer of soil dries out and not letting the water stagnate in the trays, and in winter reducing watering by half and drying out the substrate by half. In spring and summer, classical watering can be replaced by dipping in water with complete soaking of the ground ball.

Like all room ferns, adianthum loves high humidity. Bright colors and lush foliage, its attractiveness in proximity to heating devices, in dry air, it quickly loses and literally dries out. The delicate leaves require an appropriate environment, similar to natural forest conditions.

Minimum humidity - 50%, optimal - from 60%. For adianthums you can be satisfied with the simple method of spraying, carrying out the procedures as often as possible in summer and when the heating systems are running.

But if there is a possibility to put the plant near room ponds, an aquarium, in a group with other moisture-loving plants or place in a flower cabinet in a fern collection (that is anywhere with installed humidifiers or special environment), it's better to use it.

If it does not exist, adiantum will not refuse to grow in double vessels, installation of any home analogues humidifiers, trays and vessels with moist decoration materials (in addition to spraying).

And for watering and for spraying adiantums can only use warm water - only 1-3 degrees warmer than the air in the room. A sharp contrast between water and substrate temperature is unacceptable. Water for watering can only be soft, preferably rainwater.

Feeding and fertilizer composition

Adianthums are extremely sensitive to excess nutrients. Feeding for them is not carried out from October to February. And during the period of active growth they prefer standard fertilisers with a frequency of once every 2 weeks, but with a halved dose of fertiliser. When using universal fertilizers, only preparations with a complex organomineral composition and containing not only macro but also microelements are acceptable.

Trimming and shaping the adianthum

On this fern only a sanitary pruning is performed. If the leaves are severely damaged, the tips dry up, withering, severe loss of color, the affected parts are gently removed, stimulating the growth of new leaves. Pruning on adianthumas can be done only during the period of active growth. After severe pruning, air humidity is raised or greenhouse conditions are created for the fern.

Openwork adianthum is a popular room fern
On this fern, only sanitary pruning is performed. © Alexei Nemchinov

Potting, containers and substrate

Potting this fern should be done only when necessary. Instead of the usual early spring transplanting strategy, it is better to monitor how the fern is settling into the container. And transplant it only when the roots show up in the drainage holes. Repotting the adianthum can be done at any time during the active growth phase.

For adianthums, choose special earth mixes for ferns with a mildly acidic reaction. Purchased substrates are preferable, because adiantums grow better in soils with a complex composition and texture. When mixing the soil yourself, it is better to prepare it on the basis of peat and leaf soil with sand (proportion - 2:1:1) with the obligatory addition of crushed sphagnum or fern roots, inert loosening additives and charcoal. Soil for adianthums should be water permeable, loose, coarse, not prone to compaction when wet.

Special attention should be paid to containers. Adiantums not only prefer "breathing" natural materials, but also can normally develop in sufficiently wide pots. The diameter of the container should exceed its height, and the pot itself should be spacious enough.

When transplanting an adianthum, it is important to make sure that the level of submergence of the plant remains the same. Contact with the roots is best kept to a minimum, trying to keep the clod intact and removing only the loose soil, only removing the substrate gently to separate. The substrate should not be tamped around the plant, only lightly crimping the soil.

After transplanting, it is advisable to keep the plant in secluded light with increased air humidity and maintain a light soil moisture, gradually resuming the usual care.

Diseases, pests and problems in growing Adiantum

In improper conditions, especially with very dry air, Adiantums often attract pests. Fighting them by simply washing them is difficult, so if you see symptoms of spider mites or aphids, it is better to start insecticide treatment right away.

Adianthums often signal problems themselves. Sluggish leaves call for more intense watering, curled leaves call for less watering or controlling the air temperature. Leaf loss and drying out is always caused by sunshine, high temperatures and dry air.

Reproduction of Adiantum

This is one of the easiest plants to propagate, it takes root quite well when divided and allows even from relatively small parts to get healthy highly decorative plants.

The ground clump of ferns is almost completely dried before the separation procedure. The separation is done by hand, possibly without cutting, examining the points of growth and leaving enough roots in the pieces (the minimum pieces for separation should have 2 - 3 wyes).

After separation, the care is similar to the usual transplanting, but the plants will need careful watching and careful moistening for longer, as the adianthums may not show signs of growth and adaptation for several months. The spores are sown into a peat substrate common to ferns, superficially, after drying out and in as thin a layer as possible. Spore seeding is carried out in small bowls and under low heat. Under glass or film, in the shade, at 24 degrees Celsius and constant humidity, spores can germinate in 5-6 weeks.

The glass or film is removed as soon as sprouts appear, moving the plants to diffuse bright light. Seedlings will need thinning; they are transferred to individual containers only after they begin to grow actively and reach a height of 3-4 cm.

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