Adiantum aleuticum

Western maidenhair fern

  • © Rick Peterson / Great Plant Picks

  • © Rick Peterson / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

The Western maidenhair is one of the most graceful and beautiful of our native ferns. Bright green fronds open like the fingers of a hand perched atop contrasting wiry black stems. Gradually becoming a lush clump of uniquely horizontal and layered fronds, maidenhair softens the shade garden.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: upright fern

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 2 ft. 6 in. (0.76 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 6 in. (0.76 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 9

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: light to deep shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Resistant to: deer

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, Omphalodes verna, Trillium ovatum, Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’, Beesia deltophylla, Asarum caudatum

Great Color Contrasts: lavender, blue, white, yellow

Great Color Partners: green, black

Culture Notes
Adiantum aleuticum looks best in light to deep shade with regular watering. Avoid hot afternoon sun to prevent leaf burn in summer. A location with well-drained soil is best, but this fern will tolerate sandy and clay soils. Avoid water-logged garden sites.
Geek Notes
Closely related to Adiantum aleuticum is the Northern maidenhair, A. pedatum; in fact, they were once grouped together under one name until botanists separated them. However, the east coast species does not grow well in the Pacific Northwest. The plants gradually lose vigor and fade away. How to tell the difference between the two? A. aleuticum has deep sinuses in the blade lobes, but A. pedatum does not.