why is my fern dying

Why Is My Fern Dying? Easy Prevention Tips That Actually Work!

In Plant Problems by Ana M

Inadequate watering is the reason why your fern is dying. Too much water will cause yellow and droopy leaves while underwatering provokes browning and leaf loss resulting in a dying fern. Water your fern when the soil is slightly dried out and ensure good drainage.

Although all ferns need good drainage as well as a period of dryness between waterings – some types of ferns thrive in a very wet soil while others need less moisture.

Also, growing conditions are different for the ferns grown indoors or outside. You can find a fern that prefers growing in a wet and humid environment or pick up a plant that does well in dry and rocky locations. Keep this in mind when choosing ferns for your greenhouse.

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why is my fern dying

Whether your fern is dying or you just want to prevent this for happening, here’re simple tricks to make your ferns thrive.

How do I know if my fern is dying?

Brown and droopy leaves is a sing that your fern is dying. It’s normal for outer fronds to die when they are 2-3 years old. Also, outdoor ferns die back in winter and start to grow again in winter. If the fern doesn’t have emerging new fronds in a month, your fern is dead.

It’s important to check the roots of your fern for any signs of new growth. To do so you need to remove all dead fronds at the base of your fern.

How do I know if my fern is dying?

Be careful with the fleshy root crown – that’s where the new leaves start to grow.

Disinfect your pruning shears in one part bleach and nine part water solution. Once you trimmed off dead leaves, you can check the fern’s base.

If you see pale numbs, that’s a good sign! These will then uncurl into new graceful, green fronds.

Why is outdoor fern dying?

If you are growing a fern directly in the ground in your garden, most likely your outdoor fern is dying from lack of water. The problem can be with the soil – ferns don’t do well in clay soil because it is dense. Also, your plant could have a sunburn.

The water in the clay soil will filter through the soil very slowly. Also, if you grow ferns outdoors next to the big tree, it might be lacking water on the hot days.

It is important to check the type of soil in your garden before planting out. The best soil for planting is loam. Ferns grow well in slightly acidic to neutral soil.

You can easily test the pH of the soil with a 3 in 1 soil meter. If the soil is not suitable for growing, you can build a raised bed and mix 30% peat moss, 30% vermiculite and 40% compost

To bring a drying outdoor fern back to life is easy – you need to dig it up and add some compost to the hole to improve the drainage of clay soil.

Then move the fern back in, water it properly and in a few weeks you should see new growth. Don’t add fertilizer to soil as ferns receive all nutrients from the ground when growing outdoors.

Why are my indoor ferns dying?

Most likely indoor ferns are dying because of lack of moisture – whether from the soil or air. Most popular household ferns love humidity so try not to keep your fern in overheated and overly dry locations and unclog the pot’s drainage hole often.

Popular fern houseplants are moisture-loving and can’t tolerate dry conditions for long times. It’s a good idea to put a fern in the bathroom – the most humid place in the house!

Also, make sure to give your plants a mist every morning. It’s worth keeping a mister next to your plant so you can spray it as you pass by.

Why Is My Fern Dying?

Watering is also very important – keep your soil damp but not soggy. As a rule of thumb, you need to touch the soil and water your plant if the top feels dry.

Quite often an indoor fern can be dying because of the pot. Here are the most common reasons:

  • your plant has outgrown the pot
  • the drainage hole got clogged

These problems can be easily fixed. I recommend re-potting your plant in spring before it goes into its main growing stage. Grab a pot that is 2-4 inches larger in diameter, put your plant in, add some fresh soil and watch it grow!

It does happen quite often that drainage hole gets clogged. To check if that happened to you, take a pencil and stick it up the drainage hole. You can cover the drainage hole in your planter with a piece of plastic mesh to keep it from clogging.

Follow this easy step-by-step guide if you want to learn more on how to revive a dying or a dead fern.

I hope that you found the information in this post useful and feel free to share it with your family and friends!

Let me know in the comments section down below if you’re growing your ferns indoors or outside?

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Happy Growing 🙂

With Love,


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