June 29, 2007
This is my favorite plant. Well, my favorite plant type. Not my favorite plant friend, because I don't currently own one. And, considering I currently own over 40 plants, you might think this odd. But, this guy--the maidenhair fern--is REALLY hard to grow and maintain. No matter how green my thumb gets, I can't keep these dudes alive. They're so delicate and soft to the touch. And their wiry stems and funny little leaves dance every time the slightest breeze cruises by. But, they like darkness and dampness (I've heard you can see these guys flourishing in the drab street-side gutters in Portland and such), and So Cal just ain't that.
If you do happen to have a dark, damp basement, you could probably hang on to a maidenhair fern in a lil terrarium--filled with mosses and lichens and such. One other solution that some friends of mine have had success with is companion planting. You can try placing a small maidenhair in the same pot as a bigger, large-leafed plant, which will hopefully help shade the little guy from the hot sun. In general, though, it almost angers me when I see maidenhairs in the local Home Depots and OSHes, because the liklihood of them making a solid go of it in the average Los Angeles home is slim to none. But, I am a sucker... I love them so much that I am constantly buying them (and supporting the plant vendors), just hoping that this time I'll find just the right environment for my new little buddy to thrive.