Who doesn’t love palm trees? A shady palm along a golden beach is all that it takes to light up a seaside vacation. But what if you could bring these leafy palm trees inside your walls to brighten up your indoors? Eyelash fern, aka Actiniopteris australis, is a mini version of palm trees with beautiful fronds. This compact plant has unique lime-green to dark-green foliage. The leaves seem like a bundle of eyelashes radiating from a central base.
It is a tropical houseplant that grows best in moist and humid environments. Whether it is a terrarium, steamy bathroom, living room, or kitchen, this miniature fern looks stunning in all spots. You can give a tropical look to your indoors with these beautiful houseplants.
- Order: Polypodiales
- Family: Pteridaceae
- Genus: Actiniopteris
About the Genus Actiniopteris
This is a genus of ferns of the Pteridaceae family. It includes 5 species that closely resemble each other. It is often impossible for a beginner to distinguish between the different forms. Most of them grow in warm and arid climates on rocks or shady surfaces. These tropical plants are popular as ornamental houseplants due to their stunning foliage and texture. The plants of this genus are endemic to Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Origin and Distribution
Eyelash fern is primarily found in Réunion, Mauritius. It is widely distributed in the following tropical regions: all around Africa, Madagascar, India, Arabia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Iran, and Australia.
Eyelash Fern Features
Foliage and Stem
This compact plant has dark-green foliage that sometimes exhibits a lime-green shade. It has numerous fronds as its leaves. The gorgeous fronds are fan-shaped leaves. These fronds grow out of a central base and radiate outwards, resembling human eyelashes, hence the name, Eyelash Fern. The fronds are smooth in texture.
This stunning foliage is held by herbaceous stems that are soft and slender. All the stems grow straight and arch outwards.
This tropical plant is from the evergreen plant community. It is protected and safe from the falling spell of autumn. It stays healthy throughout the year. Eyelash fern never loses its green fronds all at once. It only sheds its leaves when they are old and dry.
It is a mini-palm tree that attains a maximum height of 8 inches. Eyelash Fern plant matures at merely 15 centimeters. Its compact size is ideal for indoor pots collection. You can place your cute, little Eyelash fern on your bedside table and watch it flourish.
These remarkable plants also take care of you as you take care of them. These are air-purifying plants that remove unnecessary toxins from the air and provide you a clean, fresh environment.
Ferns are really delicate plants that like to stay warm and moist. These are tropical plants that are not temperature-tolerant. Eyelash fern is incapable of tolerating low temperature; frosts are lethal to these. Temperatures that are higher than average room temperature can scorch the foliage of this Actiniopteris australis.
When it comes to the matter of tropical plants, high humidity is always is big Yes. These Eyelash ferns love to be kept moist and humid. They can tolerate high humidity but surviving through a dry day is not their favorite task.
Ferns are from the Pteridaceae family that includes plants capable of growing in an arid climate. These plants are quite drought-tolerant. Eyelash fern can tolerate droughts and dry conditions.
These delicate and soft plants are not hardy. These need to be handled with care. These must not be kept at risk of damage due to external pressure. Place your eyelash fern at a place where it can breathe and grow freely.
Disease and Pest Resistance
These pretty plants are self-defensive. These are not prone to any pests. However, some mealybugs might bottle your little planting. For such insects, mix a little neem oil with water in a spraying bottle and then spritz your plant all over.
These ferns are not big fan of soggy soils. Over-watering or standing water is like poison to them. Soggy soil can leave the plant at risk of getting root rot or fungal diseases. It is wiser not to water your plant more than it needs.
Eyelash fern grows at a pretty slow rate. It takes several months to reach its mature height. However, this plant is small and compact; you won’t even notice its growing pace. The lovely, dark-green foliage occupies a width of 8 inches, while the stems reach a height of 6 inches.
The preferred USDA plant hardiness growth zones for this miniature fern are 10a to 11.
Eyelash fern contains Filix elements that are poisonous to cats and dogs. If the fronds of this plant are ingested by any pet, it might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. However, it is not toxic to humans. So, you should keep your pets away from this mini-plant.
Ferns are pretty durable plants. Eyelash ferns have a lifespan of several years. These can stay fresh and green for quite a time.
Finding a beautiful plant that is also low-maintenance is nearly impossible. But now you know one! Eyelash fern does not need you to be on your toes all time to maintain and care for it. It can pretty much grow on its own once you understand and master the basics. You just need to take care of its humidity requirements. It does not need frequent feeding or watering.
Due to the drop in temperature in winters, these tropical plants go dormant and save their lives and energies. Their growth nearly stops, and no new outgrowths come out. This dormant period ends at the beginning of spring.
Eyelash Fern Care
Eyelash fern care includes watering it once a week and misting it regularly and frequently. It must be placed in a slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 6.1-7.5. 2-4 hours of daily light exposure is necessary for the lush growth of this lovely plant. The ideal USDA growth zones are 10a-11.
The lush foliage of this plant does not much water to grow. If you water it once every week, it will still thrive well; it is from a genus that prefers to be grown in an arid climate.
Before watering the plant, make sure that the upper 2-3 inches of the soil are completely dry. Never over-water your Eyelash fern; it does not like to be planted in a soggy and extra-damp soil; standing water is harmful to it.
These beautiful plants love filtered or partial sun. They need to be placed in a spot where they receive 2 to 4 hours of daily sunlight. However, never place them in direct light exposure. Direct and bright sunlight can burn its shiny, smooth foliage.
The ferns are fond of slightly acidic soils. Eyelash fern needs to be planted in well-drained soil that is slightly acidic to a pH level of 6.1-7.5. There are many ways by which you can regulate the acidity of its soil. Just add two drops of vinegar in one gallon of water, and keep spraying this water on its topsoil.
Neutral soil will also do fine. The pH of the soil can also be kept between 6.6 and 7.3. Your plant will flourish in both of the pH ranges as long as the soil has proper aeration.
Eyelash fern likes to be kept warm. It is a tropical plant that prefers a tropical temperature. The optimum pH range for your little planting is from 18°C to 24°C. If the temperature exceeds this range, water you plant more often. However, too hot days are hazardous for this plant. Heat can scorch the delicate fronds of Actiniopteris australis.
Somewhat cooler nights are also tolerable. Never let the temperature drop more than 10°C below. In case you are growing this tropical plant in your home garden, move it indoors in winters to save it from extreme cold.
The normal humidity of houses is just 10%. This proportion is really less for these beautiful plants to grow properly. In their natural habitat, they have humidity levels of 70% or more; you surely need to regulate your indoor levels of humidity. Install a humidifier or place the pot in a group with other plants; terrariums and pebble trays are also effective for this purpose.
These perennial plants are not foodies. You need not feed them occasionally. Add a little amount of diluted fertilizer to your plant’s soil every month. Houseplant fertilizers that are low in nitrogen will work best for eyelash fern. Too much nitrogen will cause its roots to burn. There is no need to feed this plant in winters.
Grooming and Pruning
Pruning your little fern will help it grow and flourish. Cut the old fronds off your plant so that the new ones have space to bud out.
Eyelash fern needs to be re-potted every 12 months. It reaches its maximum height in a year, and its roots start to come out of the drainage holes. This is the time when you should move your mature fern to a new, larger pot.
You can increase your collection of eyelash fern by propagating them. These tropical plants can be propagated by divisions or cuttings. Just follow the following simple steps to propagate your fern houseplant.
- Gently take out the plant from the pot.
- Cut some clippings off the plant along with rhizomes and fronds.
- Each clipping must have lower rhizomes and upper leaves.
- Place the parent plant back into the pot.
- Take a smaller pot and fill it with 1 1/2 inches of soil.
- Plant the clipping into the pot by placing its base 1 inch below the surface of the soil.
- Place the pot in a shady corner that receives 2-4 hours of sunlight daily.
- Water it once a week and watch it grow into a fresh, new Eyelash fern.
If you are looking for a unique houseplant that is beautiful, compact, low-maintenance, and durable, Eyelash fern is your best option. These pretty ferns have fan-like fronds that are smooth in texture. The dark-green leaves are pretty much capable of purifying your surrounding air. The lush foliage is not prone to any pests. All these remarkable features are the reason why plant-growers fall in love with this alluring fern. You can grow this plant inside your home to adorn your terrariums or living rooms.