Bird’s Nest Fern Turning Brown & Drooping

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I’m hoping to save my birds nest fern – I’ve had it for about 4 months, and within the past few weeks more and more leaves are drooping and browning. I’ve been careful to avoid getting the crown wet. The soil is a mix high in peat moss, and is kept moist. There’s drainage in the pot, and I’ve been misting/ using humidifiers. It’s kept 5 feet from a North facing window, so no direct light. Not really sure what to do!


Hi Jennifer,

Long, wide, erect apple green fern fronds that never splitat v

There could be a couple of things causing the problems your fern is having.

A north facing window may not provide enough light for a Bird’s Nest fern, especially during the winter. Try moving the plant to  a brighter area.

High humidity is essential for a Bird’s Nest fern. The higher the humidity the longer the fronds grow, indoors this can be up to 18.”  Lack of humidity causes major problems: the entire leaf may turn yellow, the tips of the leaves may turn brown, and the plant may stop growing. If the humidity in your home is too low, consider putting your fern on a wet pebble tray, be sure the plant is sitting on pebbles and not in the water. If you need directions on making a wet pebble tray, please let me know. You can also increase the humidity by placing the pot inside another larger pot that you have lined with moss. Keep the moss barely mist.

A Bird’s Nest fern likes temperatures between 70°- 90°F (21.1°-32.2°C) during the day and about 10° cooler at night. These ferns grow slowly when the temperature is not within this range and leaves are damaged by hot or cold drafts. The base of the fronds turn yellow when the temperature is too warm.

You can read all my care tips for a Bird’s Nest fern in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.