heart fern care

Heart Fern Care: What You Need To Know Before Planting

There will always be a room for a new houseplant, said a plant lover. And yes, adding a new houseplant will excite us since it is like having a new kid that you can raise and see the growth process. Moreover, checking out your houseplant before going to the office is such a mood booster for you too.

So, if you want to add the new collection of perennial houseplants, you can have Heart Fern. Through its unique shape and requiring low maintenance care, it is suitable for those who want to see something fresh inside the house.

Also, we will give you some tricks to grow this plant more easily!

What Is Heart Fern?

This houseplant is native to Southeast Asia until southern China where it was first identified in 1859. If you go to India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the Philippines, you can see this Heart Fern is being cultivated too. This epiphyte plant has a scientific name called Hemionitis arifolia. When we mention the epiphyte type, yes, you will know that it can grow well on trees.

heart fern care
Source: Pinterest (@Pistils Nursery)

Heart fern has dark green color for its foliage and of course a heart-shaped fronds that you can see clearly. Usually, it will grow for around 2 to 3 inches long, and the height can reach up to 8 inches. It is not that high, yes, hence it is a perfect houseplant. You can plant it inside the pots or together with another tree and let Heart Fern grow on it.

Furthermore, you can have this one since it is a low maintenance plant and attractive to see for you and your guests whenever they visit your house since it has a unique shape. According to the researchers, the leaves of this plant are dimorphic, which means that some of the leaves are sterile while the rest are fertile as usual. You can easily see that the sterile ones are heart shaped and their size is around 2 to 4 inches with thick stalks. The fertile types are arrowhead shaped and the stalk is thicker than others. You can feel that the foliage of this plant is thick with a leathery texture and slight waxy. 

How To Care For Heart Fern

Well, you are interested in this stunning houseplant because of its shape, but you are confused about how to care for this plant, right? Say no more after reading this! You can save this article or even take notes to remember about how to grow Heart Fern properly. Remember that no matter how complicated or how easy the plant is to take care of, if you don’t know or are not sure how to do it, a chance to plant it successfully is low. 

1. Light Intensity

Since it is an epiphyte plant, it means that this plant only does well in low light or moderately bright. There is no chance to place this one under direct sunlight unless you just want to let it die. You can grow it under the pots and place it in the bathroom or living room but not beside the window since it still can be exposed directly to the sun at noon. Also, for you who want to grow Heart Fern outdoors, you have to make sure the environment is able to mimic the original habitat where the Heart Fern belongs. 

2. Temperature And Humidity Requirement

heart fern care
Source: Pinterest (@Lively Root)

You can keep Heart Fern in temperature between 60’ and 85’ F or around 15-29’ C. The reason why we suggest you place this plant inside the bathroom as well is because this plant needs high humidity around 60 – 90%. Also you can increase the humidity level by filling the drainage tray with gravel. This plant is also able to be placed in the green house. Just make sure the humidity level and the temperature meet the requirements. 

Tip: If you are not sure with the humidity level in your house, you can buy a humidifier and place it near the plant. 

3. Watering And Drainage

It is that simple to make Heart Fern always feel happy. You just have to keep the plant and soil moist but not wet. So, watering the plant once a week is enough in order to avoid the root rot if the soil is left wet for a long time. During summer, you can add the frequency to water this plant every 3 days in order to keep the plant hydrated.

Also, if you use tap water to water the plant, you can sit the water overnight first before watering in order to dissipate the chemicals that often appear inside the tap water. Once the soil is already moist after watering, you can stop it and let the water absorb or you can see the water go down through the drainage holes under the pots. 

4. Soil Conditions

It is not that hard to find a perfect soil type for planting Heart Fern. This evergreen perennial will be happy if you grow under well-draining soil which is moist, fertile and humus rich. Another recommendation for a combination soil is by mixing clean aquarium charcoal, two parts garden soil that is moist and drained, two parts of humus, and one part of sand. The main important one is, the soil is fertile and well-draining once you plant it for the first time. If it is so, then you just have to wait for Heart Fern to grow successfully. 

5. Fertilizing

We can tell that it might make you happy because this plant doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. It is enough for Heart Fern to get fed once a month. You can mix it with a chemical fertilizer that is diluted in water. The ratio of it is ¼ teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water. No need to fertilize it often or more than once a month since the effect is not that good for Heart Fern. 

6. Propagation

heart fern care
Source: Pinterest (@etsy.com)

It can be the easiest plant to propagate. Although the plant spreads through the spores, there is still an easy way to do it by division. Check out how to do it below. If you think you need professional help to support you propagate this plant, you may call them to help you.

  • If your heart fern is already dense and you think you have to propagate this perennial, you can start by uprooting the whole plant and dividing its root smoothly. 
  • After that, you can plant each division one by one in another pot. 
  • Don’t forget to mist it daily to keep the soil moist. 
  • Then let each of them settle and establish. 

Heart Fern Care Tips

You already read the whole steps to take care of Heart Fern above? Then, you must know which areas you want to place this houseplant once you have already prepared the soil, pots, and the seed of it. If you are still confused about where to place the pots or to grow them, then keep on reading here! A quick tip and a summary on how to take care of Hemionitis Arifolia is ready to always remind you of the importance of growing this plant.

1) Indoor Heart Fern Care Tips

Indoor Heart Fern
Source: Pinterest (@etsy.com)

Indoor area is an ideal place for Heart Fern to grow. Since it doesn’t need direct sunlight exposure, you are free to place it inside your house. Whether it is a living room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. The thing that you must consider first is, the humidity level in your indoor area meets Heart Fern need. Also, placing indoors will keep the humidity level more stable than outdoors. 

  • Moist soil is a must to keep the plant hydrated.
  • Plant it inside the pots to make it easier while you water this one.
  • Keep the light moderate, not too bright even if the sunlight is indirect already.
  • Make sure the drainage holes are available under your pots to avoid soggy conditions inside the pot.

2) Outdoor Heart Fern Care Tips

Outdoor Heart Fern
 Source: Pinterest (@etsy.com)

If you think there is a chance to grow Heart Fern outdoors, then you can remember that this plant is an epiphyte. So, you can grow it on the big trees and your Heart Fern will grow without worry of direct sunlight exposure. Another thing to remember is, you have to at least make the environment pretty similar to the original habitat of Heart Fern.

  • Plant it on the big trees so that the Heart Fern can avoid direct sunlight.
  • Make sure the light is still moderate although it is outdoors, the light should be enough during noon.
  • Water it once a week to keep the soil moist.
  • Always check the Heart Fern regularly since placing Heart Fern outdoors may influence the humidity level too.

Heart Fern Care Common Issues

Although Heart Fern is a low maintenance houseplant, there are still common issues that can happen to this plant. Dehydration causes the leaves to curl. Moreover, overwater will cause the root rots. Then, there are a number of creatures that might disturb the growth process. Check out the pests below:

  • Aphids. It is the common pest of the Heart Fern. These yellow bugs can be noticed easily since it causes the leaves to curl up. You can do a quick hard spray of cold water but please be careful that the leaves may feel shocked. Or you can use organic spray such as garlic oil, chili pepper or catnip to get rid of this pest.
  • Mealybugs. Noticing the powdery spots when you flip down the leaves? Then it is this pest. It causes your leaves to turn yellow. It’s a bit tricky to get rid of mealybugs, but you can cut off the infected leaves so this pest cannot spread wider.
  • Scale bugs. These pests will steal the nutrient from Heart Fern. This might be the harder pest to get rid of, but you can continually spray the plant using neem oil or insecticidal soap. The result is not instant since you have to repeat spraying once a month to see the progress.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why are my heart fern leaves curling?

It is because your heart fern is dehydrated. Heart fern should have moist soil and the plant needs high humidity. If you forget to water it for more than two weeks, the plant will get dehydrated and the leaves will curl. 

Why are the edges of my heart fern turning brown?

Dry soil is the main factor that causes your Heart Fern to turn brown. You can say that your plant is dehydrated since the moist soil and humid air always make this plant happy all the time. Brown leaves will cause the growth process to slow down and if you let this happen often, your Heart Fern will die.

How do you revive a dying heart fern?

  • First, you can increase the humidity with a humidifier as we mentioned before. 
  • When you think that the humidity level is already enough for Heart Fern, then you can move your fern to other potted plants since it is epiphyte and don’t forget to water or mist it daily. 
  • You have to mist it daily since you have to keep the soil and the plant moist but not soggy. 
  • Also, make sure the temperature is an exact degree and can be a slight cooler at night. 
  • Don’t forget to always check the progress of your Heart Fern, whether they can survive or not. 

Are heart ferns pets safe?

Yes, Heart Ferns are pet safe. There is no toxic or poison from this plant that can harm your pets, such as cats or dogs. So, if you have pets inside your house, no worries for you to grow this houseplant.

How do you re-pot a heart fern?

  • You can repot heart fern in a pot filled with peat mixture. 
  • Don’t forget to provide a dish of water since it is needed for repotting
  • So the plant can absorb the water easily. 
  • Always keep the soil moist by misting it every day or once every two days until the heart fern is established steadily. 

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