Open the Advanced Search

Ladder Brake

Pteris vittata

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Pteridaceae (Maidenhair Fern)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ferns do not have any flowers. They reproduce by means of spores.
The spores ripen in April and May.
The 1-pinnate leaves (fronds) are composed of paired linear leaflets. Ribbon Fern (Pteris cretica) is a similar-looking species but that has 4 to 7 pairs of leaflets whereas Ladder Brake has got 10 or more pairs of leaflets. Also, the lowest leaflet is never forked.
Other Names:
Chinese Brake, Chinese Brake Fern, Chinese Ladder Brake, Striped Brake Fern.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Pteris vittata, also known as the striped brake fern or Chinese brake fern, is a species of fern that is native to tropical regions of Asia and the Pacific Islands. It is a popular houseplant and is known for its attractive, striped leaves. Pteris vittata has narrow, lance-shaped fronds that are light green in color and are striped with pale yellow or white bands. The plant reproduces by producing spores, which are produced on the undersides of the fronds. Pteris vittata is a hardy plant that is easy to care for and is well suited to growing in pots or containers. It prefers a well-draining soil and likes to be kept moist, but not soggy. The plant prefers a humid environment and does well in bright, indirect light. Pteris vittata is also known for its ability to remove harmful chemicals from the air, making it a popular choice for use in indoor environments.


If you're looking to bring some greenery into your home, consider Ladder Brake, also known as Pteris vittata. This fern is an attractive, hardy species that can thrive in a variety of indoor environments.

Ladder Brake gets its name from its unique fronds, which resemble ladders with their regularly spaced pinnae. The fronds grow up to two feet long, giving the plant a lush, full appearance. In addition to their ornamental value, the fronds of Pteris vittata are also useful in removing indoor air pollutants, making them a great addition to any home.

One of the best things about Ladder Brake is its versatility. It can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, from low to bright indirect light. However, direct sunlight can scorch the fronds, so it's best to place the plant in a location that receives bright, indirect light.

Ladder Brake is also relatively easy to care for. It prefers moist, well-drained soil, and should be kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. It's best to water the plant thoroughly, then allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. The fern also benefits from occasional misting to increase humidity.

In terms of temperature, Ladder Brake is comfortable in normal room temperatures and can tolerate temperatures down to 60°F. It's important to protect the plant from cold drafts and fluctuations in temperature, which can cause the fronds to turn brown.

In addition to its ornamental and air-purifying benefits, Ladder Brake is also a popular plant for propagation. It's relatively easy to propagate by division, which is the process of separating a mature plant into smaller sections, each with its own roots. Simply remove the parent plant from its pot, gently separate the root mass into smaller sections, and plant each section in its own pot.

Ladder Brake is also a great choice for terrariums, as it can thrive in a closed environment. Its ability to tolerate low light and high humidity makes it a good option for terrariums, which can be kept in a location that doesn't receive much natural light. Just be sure to keep the soil moist and mist the plant regularly to maintain the necessary humidity levels.

When it comes to pests and diseases, Ladder Brake is relatively resistant. However, it can be susceptible to spider mites, which are tiny pests that can damage the plant's foliage. To prevent infestations, it's important to inspect the plant regularly and take action if you see any signs of pests.

In conclusion, Ladder Brake is a versatile, attractive fern that can add both beauty and improved air quality to your home. With its ease of care and ability to thrive in a range of indoor environments, it's a great option for both beginner and experienced gardeners alike.