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How to Save a Dying Fern (Indoor or Outdoor)

How to Save a Dying Fern (Indoor or Outdoor)

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It can be very frustrating to know that you have made a mistake with one of your plants. Sometimes you might get distracted and this can lead to one of your plants not being cared for properly.

If you have a dying fern that looks like it has seen better days, then you might be wondering if you can save it or not.

In many situations, it’s going to be possible to save a dying fern if you take the right steps.

How To Save A Dying Fern (Indoor Or Outdoor)

Keep reading to learn about what you need to do to try to save a fern from the brink of death. This should put you in a position where you can get the fern healthy again and you can learn how to keep it that way from now on.

Ferns Are Generally Hardy

Most of the ferns that you will encounter are considered to be incredibly hardy plants. They are able to bounce back very well from problems that would kill other plants.

There are many situations that can cause a fern to wilt or go through other issues, but this isn’t necessarily a death knell for your plant.

There are more than 500 species of ferns and these plants can thrive in so many unique environments. You’ll find ferns in rain forests and you’ll also find them in dry climates where you wouldn’t expect most plants to do well.

Knowing this, you should be able to feel more confident that your fern can get back to a positive state with a little bit of care.

Reviving an Indoor Fern

First, you will learn about what you’re going to have to do to revive an indoor fern.

Indoor ferns and outdoor ferns are going to differ when it comes to what they like and expect.

If your indoor fern has wilted or otherwise developed problems, then you know that you aren’t doing something right.

Don’t fret about what you have done wrong in the past right now. Just focus on learning how to properly care for your indoor fern now so that you can make the necessary adjustments.

If you’re able to start providing the fern with what it needs, then it very well might spring back to life.

Advice for Watering Indoor Ferns

Watering your indoor ferns shouldn’t be overly difficult, but you will need to remember to do it.

Certain types of ferns are going to do better with very wet soil while some others will do better with less moisture than that. You need to be mindful of the specific type of fern that you have if possible.

You don’t necessarily need to learn the genus of the plant to get good results, though. Just pay attention to how your fern is doing and then adjust your watering patterns from there.

If you’ve been watering too much, then dial it down a bit to see if the fern does better with a little less moisture.

Also, it’s good to know that all indoor ferns are going to need to have good drainage.

You want the ferns to have the soil in their pots slightly dried out in between your watering sessions.

If you wind up watering your ferns too much, then you might notice issues such as yellow leaves.

Another issue that can occur when watering ferns too much or not providing drainage is that the fronds will become droopy.

Both yellow leaves and droopy fronds are potential signs of root rot and you’re going to need to change how you’re watering the plant while fixing the drainage issues to get things right.

Watering and drainage are really two of the most important facets of being able to revive an indoor fern.

Advice for Indoor Fern Climate

Adding Moss To Fern

What if you’re watering your fern properly and it has the right drainage that it needs? Why would your fern be in a poor state even if you’re being attentive as a plant owner?

Well, it’s very possible that the indoor climate could be to blame for your fern’s issues.

Your fern is going to need to have access to an average amount of indirect sunlight so that it can do well.

If you have it placed in an environment that is too dark, then it might be causing your fern to become droopy or yellow. You can make some adjustments to where your ferns are positioned to get things right.

Too much sun can be just as bad as no sun at all and you need to pay attention to this.

If you’re worried that your fern is getting too much sun, then you should move it to a north-facing window. This small adjustment could be enough to help revive your indoor fern.

The temperature and humidity in your home can play a factor as well, though.

Normally you would expect a fern to do well when it has daytime temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with evening temperatures going as low as 50 degrees. If you do not have any air conditioning, then your fern could suffer if the temperature inside is regularly very high.

You can encounter issues with your ferns if your home is too dried out during the winter, too.

Sometimes your heating system might dry the air out and this can make it tough for your fern. If you’re noticing some of the leaflets or fronds turning brown, then this could be a problem that you will have to address.

Do what you can to increase the humidity around your fern to make it better.

You can mist the fern several times per day to give it some moisture. Another idea is to put the fern pot in another pot that is lined with moss to increase the humidity.

Fertilizing Indoor Ferns

Indoor ferns do like fertilizer and it’s a good idea to use it. You should wait six months to feed your indoor fern fertilizer, though.

Use something like a liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month once it reaches the six-month mark.

Just don’t use the fertilizer at full strength since it could wind up being too strong for your fern. Using the fertilizer at half-strength is much safer and will get you better results.

Too much fertilizer runs the risk of burning the leaves and you don’t want to have to cut off fronds because you used too much fertilizer.

Reviving Outdoor Ferns

Yellow Fern In The Forest.

Reviving outdoor ferns is possible as well, but you have to approach things a bit differently due to not being able to control the environment so much.

The first thing that you want to do is make sure that the fern has properly draining soil. The soil matters quite a bit and you want to get soil that drains properly so that the fern can spring back to life.

It’s also possible that the fern might be in direct sunlight too much. You could transplant the fern to a different location in an effort to save it.

Finding a spot with partial shade or intermittent sunlight will likely be good. The direct sunlight could simply be causing the leaves to brown and this change will give your fern a shot at surviving.

Another good thing to do for your outdoor fern is to put a layer of compost or wood chips around the base of the fern. This can make it easier for your fern to retain some moisture and it doesn’t take much effort to do this.

You’ll be able to give your fern the best shot at doing well outside if you take these simple steps.

Remember that you don’t really need to feed your outdoor fern with fertilizer either.

You see, outdoor ferns pretty much get all the nutrients that they need from the soil and you don’t need to go overboard.

Using fertilizer will just run the risk of burning your fern’s leaves and it isn’t worth it in the long run.

Take Care of Your Ferns

You know a lot more about what ferns need to be able to do well now.

If you’re able to take the above advice to heart, then you shouldn’t have nearly as many problems with your ferns moving forward.

Even if your fern is looking really rough right now, it’s still going to be possible to revive it in most circumstances.

Start treating your fern right and make the necessary adjustments to get things back to normal. You might just be shocked by how resilient your ferns truly are.

When you start giving your ferns what they need to thrive, it’s going to be easy to get the most out of them.

This guide was designed to help people who aren’t as familiar with caring for ferns and want to be able to turn things around.

Ferns are great plants to own and they’re actually some of the easiest to care for so long as you’re paying attention.

The hardy nature of the fern means that you can make a few mistakes and still come back from them.

In the future, you’ll know to be careful with fertilizer and you’ll avoid watering your ferns too much or putting them in direct sunlight for too long.

Once you know what these plants like, it’s so much simpler to take care of them. Just start putting your newfound knowledge to work and your ferns will be revived in no time.

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Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Thank you for writing this article about ferns and for sharing what you know. Ferns bring me so much joy! I recently bought an (unknown genus) indoor fern and then proceeded to mistakenly neglect watering it for two weeks, although I had been misting it everyday. As soon as the the crunchy brown leaves were observed, I quickly watered it but it's still not content. It's living but not thriving. After a week being in a different location in the house there is not noticeable change. I suspect that the soil is not porous enough even though the fern came from respected plant store. I suspect that when I bought it, the plant was about due for a watering, and of course my house would have been dryer than it was used to - the perfect drought-like conditions. Also it's in a plastic pot and I just read on another site that ferns prefer clay (or ceramic). I'll address the soil problem first. Something isn't right for this little love. Lesson learned: Even when I purchase a fern from a plant store, assume that its conditions for moisture, soil, and humidity need to be checked once I get it home and make adjustment mindfully in its early days.