Heart Fern

A Beginner's Guide to Heart Fern Plant Care | All you Need to Grow!

Family: Pteridaceae
Common Name: Heart Fern
Botanical Name: Hemionitis arifolia

This indoor fern makes us feel warm and fuzzy because its glorious arrow-shaped leaves remind us of those little paper hearts we used to make in elementary school! The compact shape and the gorgeous black stems are just a few of the stand-out qualities of this indoor fern, Heart Fern is also a lover of warmth, high humidity levels, and brightly lit rooms. This indoor fern likes to wear its heart on its stem, so be kind! Learn more about their care requirements!

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Medium to bright indirect dappled light will bring out the best in your Heart Ferns (picture them under a thick canopy of trees on a sunny day). Avoid direct sunlight, especially in the summer when the sun's rays are intense! The less light your ferns receive, the slower they will grow, and they may become leggy and thin. If you see this happening, immediately relocate them to a brighter spot! Learn more about what light is right for your indoor plants!


Hemionitis arifolia needs constant moisture, but don't let them sit in standing water; you will regret it!  More importantly, do not neglect to water your Heart Ferns because the require consistently moist soil. Try this little trick if you are unsure how often to water them. Water frequently, but lightly. Instead of soaking your Heart Fern once a week or whenever you water your plants, give them a little bit every few days, or just enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. If the watering riddle still has you scratching your head, consider planting your ferns into self-watering planters, and don't forget to fill the planters when they dry out! The onus falls on you to ensure that their delicate fronds get the water they need to frond on!


Heart Ferns adapt quickly to most household temperatures, but they thrive between 75-85°F.  When the temperatures are hot and stagnant, we recommend using a fan to provide good air circulation! Moving air helps keep pests and diseases, and fungus away!


Heart Ferns need potting soil that can retain moisture but still drain excess water to avoid the roots from rotting (not a pretty sight!). Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soil containing moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your Heart Fern into a compost-rich soil mixture. Learn how to make your own indoor plant potting soil!


Humidity is a M-U-S-T to keep your Heart Fern strong and vigorous! If you think about the tropical rain forests where they naturally grow, it's easy to understand why. A humidifier will be the best solution to raise the humidity in your home during the cold months when the forced-air heat is cranking and dries out the air. We do not recommend misting your ferns -- or any plants --as a source of humidity. Misting does almost nothing to help raise the humidity for your plants, even though it feels therapeutic and relaxing to do! Heart Ferns do very well in a terrarium or small greenhouse as this keeps the humidity levels high! A stylish and practical way to increase the humidity in a small area is to place them on a tray filled with pebbles and water so the evaporating moisture can reach the foliage. Learn how to increase humidity around your indoor plants!


Fertilize your Heart Fern with a ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season. You can add organic compost, worm castings, or a slow-release fertilizer. Keep in mind that ferns are sensitive to being over-fertilized, so always dilute any concentrated fertilizer before applying it! Do not feed during the winter or in the colder months.

Growth Rate

Hemionitis arifolia are slow-growing ferns that can grow up to 6-8" with the proper light, temperature and care!

Pet Friend or Foe

The Heart Fern non-toxic to pets! friend.

Pro Tips

  1. Only fertilize your indoor plants after you've saturated the soil with water; this avoids burning the roots and foliage.
  2. Group your ferns together to make caring for them easier.
  3. Leave your Heart Ferns in the grow pots or plant in nonporous pots as this helps keep their soil moist, but make sure your pots have drainage holes!
  4. Avoid doing these 7 things to your ferns!
  5. Indoor Ferns can become root-bound which leads to stunted growth. Re-pot your ferns when they become root-bound, into a container that is 2" wider in diameter, using organic-rich soil when re-potting them!
  6. A great time to divide your Heart Fern is when you are re-potting them; take a sharp sterilized knife and carefully slice the root ball in half, and plant each division into their own new pots!
  7. Find out the do’s and don’ts for your new indoor plants!

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