Bird's Nest Ferns

Bird’s Nest Fern Is Grey

Connie K added on August 18, 2014 | Answered

I have a rather big bird's nest fern that I have had for 5 to 7 yrs. It has big plastic like leaves but they are not a nice green - they are almost grey like. Maybe I should take the granular fertilizer off the surface that surrounds the plant. It isn't in direct light at all. What is the problem, please?

On another subject, I have a big infestation of white flies. I have sprayed neem oil probably 10 times in the past 3 weeks with hardly any results. What do you all suggest?

Thanks, Connie

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Answered on August 20, 2014

Re bird's nest fern, if you've had it for several years, you aren't having a problem with watering or light. However, that you say there is fertilizer on the surface leads me to believe that your problem may be with over-fertilization and build up of salts. The first thing you could do (after you've removed the granular from the surface,) is leach the soil - run a lot of water through the plant, about 5 X's the volume of the pot. The other thing to do would be to repot the plant, if you haven't done so in the past couple of years.
I prefer liquid fertilizer granular for houseplants, and birds nest fern doesn't need much of either:
Re: white flies - they have become a much more serious pest in the last couple of years than they used to be. Make sure you spray anything you use up onto the undersides of the leaves, and spray till the plant drips. Here are some recipes for organic insecticide you can make yourself.
You can also consult with your local county extension service, who might suggest chemical sprays that are available in your area. This article will help you find an office:

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