Problem With Crinkly Bird’s Next Fern

Zone 7 | mummom added on August 17, 2013 | Answered

Fern began showing brown spots along the edges of some fronds. Now yellowing is occurring at a fast rate. It is placed across from a window, kind of medium light. Am I watering too much? Can it be saved?
Thank you

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Answered on August 29, 2013

All that Ann says is true, but I'm going to take a stab in the dark anyway. The symptoms you describe could be from a number of causes, but the most likely (actually always the most likely problem with potted indoor plants) is overwatering. The one thing that will help you the most is to learn to test the soil moisture all the way to the bottom of the pot. Get a small wooden dowel, a kebob skewer, even a pencil, and stick it into the soil as far as it will go, then pull it up. Look at it and run it between your fingers to feel it. If there's a lot of soil sticking and the wood looks moist, and it feels wet, the soil is too wet to water. If there are only a few crumbs of soil and it feels only slightly damp, most of the water has been used (we say the soil is aerated), and it's a good time to water. If there's no soil sticking and it feels completely dry, you've let it get too dry (unless the plant is a cactus, which is a different story.)
Since ferns like to have moist soil, you should water when the probe feels damp (not wet), and there is some soil sticking. A second thing you can do to double check is to push a spoon into the soil as far as you can, pull up a spoonful of soil, and squeeze it between your fingers. There should not be any water that you can squeeze out, but the soil should stick together in a clump that holds together when you stop squeezing.
These guidelines hold true no matter what other kinds of environmental or cultural variables you have. By the way, ferns are considered high light plants, you should probably move it closer to the window. That will help it dry out also.

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Answered on August 18, 2013

How long has the plant been in that location? If it's just been placed there, (within the last month) move it back to where it was. While most ferns like bright light, but not direct sun (except before 11am or after 6pm), they don't like dark places. Ferns thrive in a humid environment, most homes have rather dry air. Ferns like moist soil. There is a vast difference between moist and soppy wet. Since I don't know the size of fern, size of pot, type soil, type container, air movement, temperature, light, how much water, or frequency of watering, I have no idea if the plant is getting too much water or not.

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