Adding heart fern into your fern plant collection is a good idea. This plant is a tropical plant. By creating similar conditions, you can easily grow and care under the roof. For detailed information read our below heart fern care guide.
To care at home, you need to give it the right amount of light, temperature, water, and humidity. Indoor plants need less fertilizers if grown in organic-rich soil.
Pruning, trimming are the necessary steps to make the fern plants in good shape.
Below you’ll also learn about the different fern plant diseases and pets.
Let’s dive in
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What is heart-shaped fern plant?
Heart fern plants have a beautiful botanical name and that is Hemionitis arifolia. The plant is also famous by many other names like tongue fern, etc.
It is native to Southeast Asia. Their natives grow it for medicinal purposes. It is believing that the plants have diabetes curing properties.
But in the USA, we grow it for its beautiful heart-shaped leaves and green bright color.
Its epiphyte nature makes it suitable for outdoor gardens as well. Because it can easily climb on another large trees.
Under excellent growing conditions, it can grow a maximum of 15 inches in height and spread 10 inches wide.
Best heart fern care guide
In the jungle, heart fern grows on the floor and the large canopies of trees do not allow much sunlight to fall on the ground. This clears that the plant needs low light and mostly filtered light.
Place the plant pot near the north-facing window. Because there we have low light. putting it on the east-facing window will not be beneficial at all. In fact, direct sun rays can damage plant leaves.
Once the leaves get damaged you cannot revive them with any methods. The only possible methods left were removing them and waiting for new growth.
If you only have an east-facing window then you can use sheer curtains to give it shady light.
Do not use grow light to grow and care for heart-shaped fern plants. These plants cannot tolerate the heat released by artificial light. Grow lights can damage the soft foliage.
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Heart fern required alkaline soil to grow. The soil must be rich in organic material.
The good news is you can use your normal garden soil to care for heart fern. The only condition is you need to sterilize it first to kill the harmful microorganisms. Also, you need to amend it with organic materials like compost.
Organic soil amendments increase its fertility and make it well-draining soil. This type of soil holds water for a long time by draining the extra water out through the bottom hole.
The best home-made soil formula is equal parts of three ingredients
Soil + organic matter + perlite or sand.
This mixture is well-draining with excellent aeration properties.
If the pH of the mixture is low then you can add lime to it to increase the reading. This lime makes the soil alkaline. Add it in small quantity, wait for 2 hours, and then check the soil pH.
For heart fern care you need to keep the soil well moist. Which is only possible by giving more water to plants. But as we all know extra water in the plant pots can cause root rot. And underwater conditions are not good for its growth.
In low water conditions, the heart shaped fern plants show signs of weakness like wilting.
Therefore, you need to consider few things before watering the plant.
If the room temperature is high means about 20 degrees c then you need to give more water. Because hot temperature makes the soil dry in few hours.
On the other hand, if the temperature of the room is cool means below 18 degrees C. Then you need to check the soil conditions first and then water it.
Because the water evaporation rate is slower below the 18 degrees C temperature.
Also, make sure you give the right water to the plants. In simple words, the water needs to be clean and drinkable. Some tap water contains heavy salts like chloride and fluoride. These are not required by the plants to grow.
When they get collected in the root area they start to build-up. This collection of unwanted materials on roots blocks the absorption of water and nutrients. Hence your plant becomes nutrient deficient and stops growing.
Heart fern care at home required high humidity. This plant grows in high air moisture in its native place. There are many ways of increasing humidity. You can choose any of the following and save your plants in low humid conditions.
These machines increase the humidity in the room within few minutes. We call this technique an instant solution. But this does not mean there are no other ways to increase air moisture.
If you have a humidifier at home good. But do not buy it only for growing one or 2 plants. Use the below methods.
Grouping the plants
Put all the ornamental plants together in a place. They will get help from each other’s moisture. This technique is good if the humidity is only 10% lower the recommended.
Misting water & Pebble tray
Use these techniques together if the humidity is 30 % lower than recommended. Take a tray put some pebbles in it and fill it with water. Then put the plant on it. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom hole of the plant pot.
On hot summer days mist water on plant leaves. This will keep them cool and they get relief from the hot environment.
For best Heart fern care keep the temperature a little warm. Set it between 18 to 23 degrees C. It can tolerate the low temperature to a max of 10 degrees C. But the high temperature increases its watering needs. High temperature also reduces air moisture. So keep the room temperature in the normal range.
For plant protection, follows the below techniques.
On summer days use the air conditioner to keep the room cool. On winter days turn on the heater to keep the room warm. Just remember that the use of an air conditioner and use or heater increase the water needs of plants.
You can also trim the plant foliage to protect it from sudden high temperatures. Few leaves mean good air circulation. This air keeps the plant cool.
Add mulch to the plant pot. Just make a thick layer of mulch on the topsoil layer of the plant pot. This will keep the plants warm in the cold season. Also, protect them from hot air.
Heart fern plants do not need much nutrition to grow. They are fine with organic-rich soil. If you do not use organic soil in the plant pots then you need to give them nutrient boosts. For fertilizing heart fern use normal houseplant liquid fertilizer.
Always dilute the solution more than the guideline. For example, if the nutrient bottle says to mix one cup in 1 gallon. Then you need to mix 1 cup in 1.5 gallons.
This is because the organic nutrients are highly concentrated and potted plants do not have enough space to spread.
Nutrients help plants to stand and win against many diseases. Plants that are strong always grow healthy and produce beautiful vibrant foliage.
You have two ways to propagate heart fern plants. Both the methods have the same success rate. Chose which one you feel is easy for you and you need to work less.
But according to my experience, the division method is simple and easy. This technique gives me 100% success all the time. Therefore, I decided to write about only this method.
Propagation by division
This is a simple technique of propagation. In this method, you need to take out the plant from its pot. Remove the soil from the roots. Do not use water to wash the roots.
Now cut the roots into different sections and plant them in different pots. This way you will have a guaranteed success in propagation.
Put the plant pots in a warm location and give indirect bright light. High humidity is required to establish the plants in potting soil.
Pruning is best when the plants grow overly or they do not grow. Remember that pruning encourages plant growth.
In the case of heart fern care, you need to remove the old plant leaves to encourage new growth. Because the plant foliage is its real beauty. Old leaves look lifeless and lose their natural color.
So, you need to cut them off and threw them in the garbage bin.
A common problem with heart fern care
If the heart fern is not growing dense then you need to thin the plant. By removing some leaves, you can speed up its growth.
Mealybugs, Aphids, Scales are the common enemies of heart shaped fern plants. to get rid of them spray the neem oil on the plant’s leaves. You can also use rubbing alcohol and cotton cloth to wipe them. Baby wipes are also helpful to kill them and to remove them.
Root fungus is a common disease in almost all houseplants. It can be controlled by limiting the water. It is often the result of improper care and extra water.
Heart fern yellow leaves
Root rot turns the plant leaf color to yellow. Because the infected roots die and stop functioning. This affects the entire plant. Overfertilization also causes heart fern yellow leaves. Do not give nutrients to plants in the winter season.
Spring and summer are the growing seasons and the best time of fertilization.