Plant Care Guides 🌿

Heart Leaf Fern (Hermionitis Arifolia) Plant Care Guide

Hermionitis Arifolia is an epiphytic dwarf fern native to Southeast Asia that also goes by the name Heart Leaf Fern due to its leaves that resemble elongated hearts. 

Heart Leaf fern comes with relatively big leaves for its overall size that are colored in a darker shade of green. Its stems are quite interesting, as they are almost entirely black and feel dry and firm – wood-like. When it comes to new leaves, Heart Fern does it a bit differently, as the new leaf won’t unfurl like regular ferns, but will continue to mature into its final form.  

1. General Information

Scientific name:Hemionitis Arifolia
Common names:Heart Leaf Fern, Heart-Shaped Fern
Native to:Southeast Asia
Toxicity:This type of fern is not poisonous to cats, dogs, or humans
Category:Dwarf Fern
Height:6-8 inches (15 – 20 centimeters)

2. Heart Leaf Fern Care Guide & Growing Requirements

Heart Leaf fern is a bit delicate and will require more attention and care. So if you’re a beginner gardener and just bought or received this lovely plant, all you have to do is follow the care requirements below. Once you’ve got the basics, everything else will flow naturally! 

» Watering requirements

Heart Leaf ferns love moist soil, so it’s important to make sure the soil does not dry out. If its leaves suddenly curl, it means the soil is dry and needs watering. Since Heart fern is quite the sensible type, dry soil might cause serious damage to your plant – sometimes to the point of no coming back. 

However, too much water will hurt your Heart Leaf fern, as it has a shallow root system, which makes it susceptible to root rot. 

Rule 1: Keep the soil moist (not soggy) at all times. 

» Lighting requirements

Heart Leaf ferns are epiphytic plants, so they usually grow on top of other plants and trees. This means that in their natural environments, these plants are used to low levels of light. 

Indoors, Heart ferns should be placed in a spot with bright, indirect lighting or even some shade. Make sure to keep it away from the direct sun, as it will quickly dry out its leaves. 

Rule 2: Avoid placing your Heart Leaf fern in a spot with direct sunlight. 

» Soil requirements

Since Heart Leaf ferns require moist soil at all times and are also susceptible to root rot, the best option here is a loose, well-draining potting mix

However, since they are also epiphyte and grow on trees, they can be places in soilless environments like stones, tree bark or moss. 

Whatever option you pick, make sure to pay attention to the moisture levels. 

Rule 3: Place your Heart Leaf fern in a loose, well-draining potting mix.

» Temperature and humidity requirements

We mentioned water so many times in this article that it’s only natural your Heart Leaf fern will require a high level of humidity – somewhere between 60 and 80%. This is actually key to its survival, so if the air from your home is usually dry, your Heart Leaf fern won’t be too happy. 

Also, if you’re a terrarium master, you’ll be happy to learn that Heart Leaf fern is suitable for this type of environment due to its relatively small size and high humidity requirements. 

When it comes to temperature, this plant is also a bit fussy, as it prefers a warmer environment. Anything below  60°F (15°C) will cause damage. 

Rule 4: Keep the humidity levels high and don’t let the temperature drop below 60°F (15°C). 

» Fertilization requirements

You’d expect some heavy requirements here too, but that’s not the case at all. Just like most ferns out there, Heart Leaf fern doesn’t require extra fertilizer. 

However, you can feed it once a month with a water-soluble fertilizer, diluted in half. 

Rule 5: Feed your Heart Leaf fern once a month with a general fertilizer, diluted in half. 

3. Repotting and Pruning Your Heart-Shaped Fern

Since Heart Leaf ferns have a shallow root system, they prefer to be rootbound, so repotting will be necessary only when the plant outgrows its pot – usually once every few years. 

In terms of pruning, there’s no need for that, unless your fern has dead or yellow leaves.


Caring for a Hear Leaf fern can sound daunting, but that’s not necessarily the case. When certain conditions are met, your fern will thrive and recompense you with lovely, heart-shaped leaves. If we could put the entire plant care guide in a phrase, that would be “Loose, moist soil, indirect lighting, high-level of humidity and no temperatures below 60°F (15°C).” 

If you’ve got any questions about your Heart Leaf fern, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! 

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