Hemionitis (Heart Fern) - Expert tips

How to Care for Hemionitis (Heart Fern) - Expert Tips for Thriving Plants

We love Ferns. Green, bushy and fluffy: what’s not to love? Do you also like Fern plants? Then let me introduce you to another fern family: the Hemionitis family! This is a genus of fern that originates from tropical America. Some of them also come from Asia.

There are several varieties of Hemionitis in this family, but one of the most common is Hemionitis Arifolia. Because of its heart-shaped leaves, it is also known as the Heart Fern. It requires some specific care requirements, but with some practice, it's easy and rewarding!

What's cool about these ferns is that they're epiphytic, which means they naturally grow on other plants but don't worry - they're not parasites. They love hanging out on tree trunks and branches in their native environments! As they’re all Fern-like, these plants grow pretty quickly and get a significant size.

Hemionitis Arifolia

Heart Fern Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully

  1. Hemionitis loves the shade. It's best to place this in a spot out of direct sunlight, like a north or east-facing window.
  2. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, as Hemionitis doesn't like its feet wet all the time. It’s best to wait until the top half of the soil is slightly dry before giving it water again.
  3. While it's tempting to water on a set schedule, it's really best to check the soil each time. The needs of your Hemionitis change with the season and even the weather.
  4. High humidity is key to its heart. The humid air of rainforest is what your Hemionitis craves! Bathrooms or kitchens work well, or you can use a humidity tray or a room humidifier.
  5. If you see its leaves are curling, it's probably due to low humidity, too much water or underwatering. Just try to change your care routine a little.
  6. As Epiphyte, Hemionitis loves chunky, well-draining, and airy soil. Try using a blend of orchid bark, peat moss, and perlite to make it the happiest.
  7. Feed your Hemionitis lightly but regularly. Fertilise during the growing season (spring to summer) once a month with half-diluted nutrition and try to avoid overfeeding.
  8. You should only repot when necessary. Hemionitis plants generally don't like to be disturbed, so only repot when the plant has outgrown its current pot.
  9. If you're a fan of creating your own mini-ecosystems, Hemionitis is a great choice for your terrarium. Its love for humidity makes it a perfect choice.
  10. Keep your eye on pests and diseases. Like many houseplants, Hemionitis can attract pests like spider mites and aphids. If you notice anything suspicious, act immediately!

Hemionitis plant care tips

Light requirements

Your Hemionitis plants will love some bright but indirect light but can even thrive in shaded areas. Direct sun can scorch its beautiful leaves, so be careful with that. It is usually best to place these plants near a north- or east-facing window.

If a Hemionitis is kept in too dark conditions, it may become leggy, with long stems and smaller leaves. The plant is stretching out to try and reach more light. Just try to find a brighter spot for your dear plant!


The Hemionitis genus originates from humid locations, so we can understand that they like inconsistently moist soil but not too wet! This usually means watering once or twice a week, but it can vary depending on the temperature and humidity of your home.

If you overwater your green friend, your Hemionitis will show it to you in a dramatic way by curling her leaves. The plant's leaves may also turn yellow, wilt, or drop off because of this.


Species in the Hemionitis genus are not very hungry, so your plants don’t need to be fertilised frequently. However, it will never say no to a little nutrient boost during Spring and Summer. You can give her half the amount of PLNTS Nutrition needed for any other plant once a month.

Hemionitis Arifolia close-up

Temperature & humidity

Hemionitis plants love warm and humid spots, just like in the rainforest! Keep the temperature around 18-24°C and humidity above 50% to keep it the happiest. It will also enjoy a spot in your bathroom or kitchen. But if you decide to put your green friend in place with a weak amount of humidity, don’t forget to spray often with room temperature water in your water sprayer or place a Geurwolkje Humidifier!

Repotting & soil

Your Hemionitis plant usually needs a repot every 2 to 3 years or whenever it starts outgrowing its current pot. It's a fan of the epiphyte lifestyle, so it would really appreciate a potting mix that reminds it of home. We recommend trying the epiphytes potting mix kit that includes tree bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, and charcoal.

However, your Hemionitis won't throw a tantrum if you plant it in regular houseplant soil - it's adaptable like that. To really see it thrive, give it a chunkier mix.

Hemionitis propagation

Just like all kinds of ferns, you can propagate them only by letting their spores sprout. However, this way is really long and complicated, and we know our beloved PLNTSlovers are way too impatient (just like us) to wait for so long. So we are happy to tell you that you can also propagate your favourite Hemionitis by division! Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Make sure to loosen the soil before, so the roots can be divided more easily as they’re originally really compact.
  2. Use clean and sharp pruning shears, scissors or a knife to slice through the part you want to repot.
  3. After reporting every part, give it a good splash of water.

Little PLNTS tip: cover your newly planted Hemionitis with a dome or plastic bag to decrease the stress on your plants. Once it starts growing happily, you can treat it like any normal Hemionitis!

Hemionitis Arifolia leaf

Most common pests on Hemionitis

Like most houseplants, Hemionitis Ferns are sensitive to pests like scales, aphids, fungus gnats and whiteflies. These pesky insects attack them and slow the growth of your green beauty by absorbing the nutrients that are supposed to make her thrive. So be sure to often check your plant to prevent your green friend from being weakened by pests. For that, you can check our PLNTSdoctor page to recognise and eliminate your plant pests!

Is Hemionitis poisonous for your pets or children?

The Hemionitis family is considered safe for your dogs, cats and your children. The only thing you have to fear is your beloved furry partner to chew your plant!

Buy your new Hemionitis online at PLNTS.com

Here at PLNTS.com, we have the most widely known Hemionitis, the beautiful heart-shaped lady: let me introduce you to the Hemionitis Arifolia! The good thing is that we have a Baby Hemionitis Arifolia, if you want to see her grow in a beautiful and mature hanging plant, but if you are too impatient, we also have her in a mature size. Here at PLNTS.com, we cover all your crazy plant dreams - buy Hemionitis online at PLNTS.com

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Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!