How Much Sunlight Does Maidenhair Fern Need in Winter: Key Tips

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Maidenhair ferns are popular houseplants known for their delicate appearance and graceful fronds. These tropical plants require specific care to thrive, especially when it comes to sunlight exposure. To keep your maidenhair fern healthy during the winter months, it’s essential to understand its sunlight requirements and adjust accordingly.

In general, maidenhair ferns flourish in indirect sunlight, particularly when emulating their natural habitat of tropical forests. Too much sunlight can scorch the plant’s delicate leaves, while insufficient light can cause the fronds to lose their vibrant green color. During winter, providing the right amount of sunlight is critical, as the angle and intensity of sunlight change.

To ensure your maidenhair fern receives ample sunlight in winter, position it in a well-lit area with filtered or diffused light. Avoid placing the fern close to a window with direct sunlight, as the cold drafts combined with bright sunlight can harm the plant. By maintaining a proper light environment, your fern has better chances of thriving during the winter months.

Maidenhair Fern Overview

Maidenhair ferns belong to the Adiantum genus, which includes over 200 varieties of ferns found across the globe. These delicate plants are known for their ability to repel water, thanks to the unique properties of their leaves.

When it comes to sunlight requirements during winter, it’s important to provide your maidenhair fern with bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause damage to its foliage, while insufficient light can lead to sparse growth. Maintaining a balance between the two will help your fern to thrive during the colder months.

In addition to sunlight, it’s essential to consider temperature and humidity for proper maidenhair fern care. They thrive best in temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16- 21 degrees Celsius). Maidenhair ferns need humidity to survive, so maintaining a moist environment by misting the plant or using a humidifier can be helpful.

It’s worth noting that if you’re keeping your maidenhair fern outdoors, it could die back in winter if the conditions get too dry or cold. However, these ferns are quite resilient, and they should recover and grow back once the weather becomes more favorable.

In summary, to ensure your maidenhair fern thrives in winter:

  • Provide bright, indirect sunlight
  • Maintain temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Keep the plant in a humid environment

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of your maidenhair fern all year round.

Winter Sunlight Requirements

Natural Sunlight

Maidenhair ferns typically grow in the shady understory of forests, which is why they can tolerate lower light levels. During winter, as the days get shorter and the sunlight becomes less intense, it’s important to provide your maidenhair fern with the right amount of natural light. Ideally, they should be placed near a window with filtered or indirect light. It’s a good idea to avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near windows that receive strong sunlight, as this can cause the delicate fronds to burn and turn brown.

Some easy ways to provide indirect light include:

  • Placing the fern behind a sheer curtain
  • Positioning the plant a few feet away from a sunny window
  • Using a light-diffusing window film

Artificial Light

During winter months, when natural sunlight may not be sufficient, supplementing with artificial light can help maintain the health of your maidenhair fern. Fluorescent lights, specifically those designed for plant growth, can provide the necessary spectrum of light to support photosynthesis. They should be placed approximately 12 to 18 inches above the fern and left on for about 12 hours per day.

Keep these tips in mind when using artificial light:

  • Choose a full-spectrum fluorescent tube or bulb
  • Set a timer to ensure consistent light exposure each day
  • Monitor the fern’s health and adjust the light distance if needed

In conclusion, ensuring that your maidenhair fern receives the proper amount of indirect natural sunlight and supplementing with artificial light when necessary will contribute to the health and vibrancy of the plant during winter months.

Indoor Care Tips During Winter

Temperature and Humidity

Maidenhair ferns prefer a consistent temperature and humidity level during winter months. Ensure your fern is not too close to windows or doors, where cold drafts could reach it. Also, keep it away from fireplaces, air vents, and other heat sources to avoid sudden temperature changes. Maintaining the humidity is crucial, as the fern thrives in moist air. You can achieve this by placing a humidifier near the plant or misting it regularly.

Watering and Soil

Proper watering is crucial for maidenhair ferns, especially during winter months. To water your fern effectively, soak it thoroughly in a sink, allowing the excess water to drain away. Make sure the soil remains damp at all times, but not soggy. Avoid letting the plant sit in water, as it could harm the plant. Routinely check the soil’s surface; if it feels slightly dry, it’s time to water the fern again. Using room temperature rainwater or spring water for watering is recommended.


During dormant winter months, fertilization is usually reduced for maidenhair ferns. It’s crucial to follow a schedule that allows for the plant’s most optimal growth. One way to ensure your fern receives the necessary nutrients is to use a slow-release fertilizer. These are available in granular or liquid form and are designed to feed your fern for an extended time.

In conclusion, taking the appropriate steps to maintain constant temperature and humidity levels, effective watering techniques, and proper fertilization will help ensure your maidenhair fern thrives indoors during winter.

Outdoor Winter Protection

Maidenhair ferns can be grown both outdoors and indoors. While they are sensitive to temperature and light changes, with proper care, it is possible to help them survive and thrive during the winter months. This section will discuss some methods you can use to protect your outdoor maidenhair fern in winter.

Mulching and Insulation

One way to protect your maidenhair fern during winter is by using mulch. Mulch can be an effective insulator, helping to maintain soil temperature and moisture. To protect your fern:

  • Choose an organic mulch, such as shredded leaves, pine needles, or straw.
  • Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of your maidenhair fern, but avoid piling it directly against the stem to prevent rot.
  • Monitor the soil moisture beneath the mulch, as it may retain more water than usual, and adjust your watering accordingly.

Using insulation like frost blankets or a temporary cold frame can also provide additional protection for your fern during freezing temperatures.

Sheltering Strategies

Sheltering your maidenhair fern from harsh winter weather can help it survive the colder months. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Plant your maidenhair fern in a sheltered location, such as near a building or under the canopy of larger plants, to protect it from strong winds and snow.
  • Consider planting your fern in a container and bringing it indoors during winter. This allows you to provide consistent temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions.
  • If you’re unable to move your fern indoors, try creating a wind barrier using burlap or a similar material. Attach the material to stakes surrounding the plant, leaving enough space for air circulation around the fern.

Maidenhair ferns prefer bright, indirect light, so ensure that your outdoor fern receives an adequate amount of light during winter. Positioning it in an area where it can receive dappled sunlight is a good idea.

By following these mulching, insulation, and sheltering strategies, you can help protect your outdoor maidenhair fern during the winter months.

Signs of Insufficient Sunlight

Pale Fronds

One sign of insufficient sunlight in maidenhair ferns during the winter months is the appearance of pale fronds. When the fern isn’t receiving enough light, the fronds may lose their vibrant green color and appear washed out. Ensure your fern is placed in an area with bright, indirect light, or dappled sun beneath the trees, as suggested by Bob Vila.

Slow Growth

Another common sign that your maidenhair fern is not getting enough sunlight is slow growth. In the winter months, the fern may naturally slow down its growth due to lower light levels; however, if placed in an area with insufficient sunlight, this slowdown could be more pronounced. Make sure your maidenhair fern is in a well-lit area with temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16-21 degrees Celsius), according to Plantophiles.

Drooping Fronds

A lack of sunlight could also result in drooping fronds in a maidenhair fern during the winter season. Fronds may lose their structural integrity and appear limp if they are not provided with enough light. To maintain the health of your fern, ensure it is receiving the right amount of light as recommended by Apartment Therapy.

To summarize, signs of insufficient sunlight in the winter months for maidenhair ferns include:

  • Pale fronds
  • Slow growth
  • Drooping fronds

Remember to keep your fern in an area with bright, indirect light to encourage its healthy growth and development.

Helpful Video