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5 Causes of Fern Drying out (Here’s How to Revive It)

Ferns (Nephrolepis) are an ancient superior plant class. They thrive in moist forests, ponds, and wetlands.

Bush division and spores are the primary methods of propagation. This plant will enhance any interior.

Pests like scale insects, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs can dry out an indoor fern’s leaves. Incorrect temperature, light, and humidity can also dry out ferns. Prevent the plant from drying out by keeping it between 65 and 75 degrees F and with 60% humidity. Apply a mix of soap, neem oil, and alcohol to get rid of the pests.

Indoor ferns are usually low-maintenance plants. But occasionally, you may notice yellowing and drying leaves. To resolve this issue, one must first identify the root cause.

Fern Drying out

Causes of Fern Drying Out and What to Do

Mistakes With Watering

If you can figure out why the indoor fern started to dry out in the first place, you can quickly bring it back to life.

But, unfortunately, most of the time, the fern dies because it doesn’t get enough water.

The ferns’ health can be harmed by either excessive or inadequate hydration of the potting soil.

Generally speaking, when you overwater a fern, the lower leaves turn yellow, and the tips dry out.

Your ferns’ roots are particularly vulnerable to fungal growth and rot because they are constantly submerged in water.

Lack of water makes the plant appear droopy and sluggish, and its growth slows significantly. The green leaves on this plant turn yellow and dry out.

You can tell if it’s time to water the plant by looking at the soil – if it’s dry on top, you can water.

You need to water your fern every two to three days in the summer when the weather is warm enough. 

I recommend watering with filtered or room temperature water. Using too cold, hard, or chlorinated water can cause leaf yellowing and curling. 

In the summer, water your fern in the evenings; in the winter, water in the morning.

After watering, the soil should be loosened if there is a noticeable crust.

For the most part, sprinkle your fern at least once a week using only lukewarm settled or filtered water. 

Fluctuation In Temperature And Humidity Levels

Check out the room where your fern is growing to see if it has stopped growing and if its leaves are drying out. The fern thrives best in the following conditions:

  • A temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
  • In the summer, the temperature should be 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A humidity level of 60 percent or higher is recommended.

The fern needs to be sprinkled more frequently when the temperature rises above 77 °F (25°C), as this will help to humidify the air further.

Reduce watering if the temperature drops below 54 °F (12 °C).

The yellowing of the leaves as they get older is a normal part of the aging process. Remove the dried leaves by snipping them.

If the fern’s foliage tips begin to wilt and die, the air in the apartment is too dry, and the fern is simply overheating. 

Dark brown spots on the leaves may also appear due to these conditions.

Systematic spraying twice a day – in the morning and the evening – is all that is needed to get comfortable indicators.

Fern should be given a quick shower if it’s too hot outside. Use polyethylene or other waterproof material to keep the soil from becoming too wet.

Additionally, expanded clay, sand, or peat can improve drainage.

Finally, keep ferns as far away from the heating system and heaters as possible when the weather gets cold.

Adding Too Much Or Too Little Fertilizer

If you fertilize the wrong way, it can cause many problems for ferns.

Only feed the flower when it is actively growing, from March to September.

Feed your indoor fern once or twice a month, and I recommend reducing the dosage to half of the recommendation on the package.

You can use any fertilizer suitable for ornamental and deciduous plants.

Stop fertilizing from October through March, when plants are in dormancy.

Another possible cause of fern leaf dry out, or growth cessation is a lack of nutrients or root system space in the pot.

If the fern is in a small container, it is best to move it to a larger one or feed it.

Incorrect Lighting 

If the leaves are exposed to too much direct sunlight for an extended period, they will lose their attractiveness and aesthetic appeal.

If you don’t provide diffused light, your fern’s growth will be stunted.

Leaves exposed to too much sunlight will lose their color, become faded, and eventually dry out.

It’s only allowed to be outside in the sun for two hours a day, and not more.

Move your ferns with dried and fallen foliage to the north or east of the room, where they’ll be more comfortable.

Is It A Pest Or A Disease That Causes Leaf Spots?

Symptoms such as yellowing and discoloration of your fern’s fronds indicate the need to inspect the flower for pests or diseases.

You must take urgent action and the proper steps to get rid of these signs as soon as possible.

Consider that if you care for your ferns correctly and give them adequate attention, the risk of disease is extremely low.

Common Pests of Ornamental Fern


The scale is the most common pest of Nephrolepis, but, unfortunately, it is not always possible to notice the presence of the scale in time by the appearance of the fern.

At the peak of infestation and begins to dry out and fall off the foliage.

The problem is that the scale settles at the base of the leaves, and it is almost impossible to distinguish it from the flower spores.

First, cut off the infested leaves under the petiole and carefully remove the scales with a brush.

Next, the fern is subject to spraying with Horticultural oil. Prepare the solution at the rate of 20 drops per 1 liter of water.

Spider Mites

Your ferns may die as a result of this insect’s presence. In addition, spider mites sucking sap from the fronds cause significant damage: the fronds dry out, turn pale, and drop off.


They get into the root system because of poor watering. Therefore, nematodes can only be eradicated by replanting new soil enriched with organic compost.


If the air in the apartment is too dry, this insect will attack the plant.

Treatment of leaves with insecticidal soap solutions, neem oil, or rubbing alcohol will help if the infestation is widespread.

If the infestation is severe, remove the infected parts of the plant.


The mealybug also sucks out your ferns’ juices. As a result, the fern’s growth and development are slowed.

Furthermore, the insect can colonize a wide range of plants, from cacti to azaleas and orchids.

In appearance, it is a small, nimble bug with an off-white covering.

Typically, you can find them in groups on young shoots, buds, or the back of fronds.

You can use a variety of infusions containing laundry soap, alcohol, and oils to get rid of the pest.

The most crucial step is to combine all ingredients and allow them to infuse thoroughly.

Next, use warm soap and alcohol to clean leaves off of fronds.

Finally, simply wipe the areas where cocoons gather.

As an alternative to using olive oil, you can also use a tincture of garlic. Some gardeners say that calendula tincture is also suitable for wiping.

Ferns Drying out Due to Diseases

Low temperatures and excessive watering can cause gray rot, sooty mold, and other fungal infections.

It’s pointless to seek advice from experts on dealing with them because there will be no cure by the time you discover the disease.

So, it’s crucial to quickly separate the infected fern from the healthy ones to keep them from getting sick. 

Fungicides are unlikely to save the fern, and it is doomed to dry out and die. Prevention is the best medicine in these types of situations. 

So make sure your soil and air are kept at the proper temperature and humidity and water your plants properly to help fight disease before it starts.

Newly Replanted Ferns Turn Yellow and Dry Out

As long as the fern is well cared for, it will need to repot it.

Until the plant reaches the age of three, I recommend that you perform these procedures annually between April and May. 

After that, it’s only once every few years. This necessitates a pot that is not too deep but wide enough to accommodate the plant’s root system without being overly large. 

Remove all dried leaves and twigs with care before continuing. No matter how careful you are, the fern may not always be willing to put up with such rough treatment. 

It will take some time for the young fronds to grow. You just repotted the fern, and it began to dry out, so what should you do? 

The first step is to create all of the necessary conditions for the fern’s growth and then wait a few weeks for the fern to adjust to the new environment.

When transplanting ferns, be especially careful with the tips, as these are the plant’s primary growth points. Ferns will soon wither and dry out if these growth points are damaged.

Finding out what’s wrong, what’s missing, and why an ornamental fern turns yellow and drying out can be difficult at times, but it’s not impossible.

Overwatering and pests are two other factors that can damage a plant’s overall health. 

To keep your ferns healthy, you’ll need to figure out what’s causing the issue and gradually create the necessary comfort conditions.

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