Adiantum is a well known genus of ferns, commonly known as “maidenhairs”. There are about 200 species worldwide with around 9 native to Australia.
A.hispidulum is popular in cultivation and grows into a small, upright clump to about 45cm high. The young fronds are often pink and mature to green or a green-bronze colour. They are branched with fan-shaped pinnules (leaf segments) and have a rough texture.
This a hardy fern which performs best in soils containing appreciable organic matter with plenty of moisture. It will, however, tolerate a surprising amount of dryness. It will respond favourably to regular applications of general purpose fertilizers. Like most ferns, A.hispidulum makes an excellent container plant but should not be kept over-wet, a common cause of failure of container-grown ferns.
Propagation is usually carried out by division of the rhizome. Propagation can also be carried out from spores (see “Australian Plants online” March 1999 issue for simple propagation methods).
Photo: Fred Johnston