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Why Does My Bird’s Nest Fern Have Brown Tips?

The bird’s nest fern, or Asplenium nidus, is a very popular houseplant. You can avoid problems such as brown tips through proper watering, providing the correct light conditions, temperature, and humidity, as well as fertilizing according to recommendations.

What Causes Brown Tips On Birds Nest Ferns?


This plant prefers soil that is consistently moist but never soaked. If your plant has excess water, you might see the leaves turn yellow and eventually brown as they die. The plant also needs adequate drainage to prevent root rot, fungal infections, and pest infestations.


The birds nest fern is a tropical plant native to the rainforest of the Amazon, so underwatering can quickly lead to drooping fronds and crispy brown leaf tips.

Overwatering or underwatering can cause brown leaf tips.

Over Fertilizing

If you apply too much fertilizer or fertilize too often, your birds nest fern can get brown spots. As epiphyte plants, they burn easily if overfed.

Root Bound

Sometimes the solution to your problem plant is as simple as repotting. The bird’s nest fern does not like to be root bound, and it can be remedied by repotting it in a slightly larger pot. Be certain the pot you choose has good drainage holes and plenty of room for the rootball.

Wrong Light Conditions

This type of fern prefers indirect light. Plants that grow in the wild of the rainforest became acclimated to low light, partial shade conditions. If you put this indoor plant into direct light, it can scorch the leaves, turning the tips brown.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for the plant to thrive is 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper bird’s nest fern care also includes providing enough humidity. Humidity levels between 30-50% are ideal for these ferns. Cool, dry air can cause brown leaf tips.

A properly cared for birds nest fern has bright green, wavy leaves.

Should You Trim Brown Tips From A Birds Nest Fern?

These indoor plants do not generally need much pruning. If leaves die, you should cut those portions off to keep the plant healthy as well as make room for new growth.

The fronds grow out from the center, also called the rosette of the plant. Cut the brown leaves from as close to the stem of the plant, taking care not to cut the center.

Anytime you prune, you should use either clean gardening shears or a clean, sharp knife. Start trimming at the base of the plant and work your way up. This helps you to maintain the structure of the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Birds Nest Ferns Like To Be Misted?

Misting is an important part of the bird’s nest fern’s care. These tropical plants enjoy high humidity and moisture. You can also put a humidifier or a pebble tray in the room where you are growing this plant for added moisture.

What Type Of Soil Is Best For Birds Nest Fern?

Ferns prefer a loose, well-draining potting mix. They prefer acidic soil with a ph between 5.0 and 5.5. Most gardeners choose a peat moss-based potting soil mix.

How To Water A Birds Nest Fern

When the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, it is time to water your bird’s nest fern plant. Don’t wait until your plant’s leaves are wilting. You can top water your plant in the traditional way, adding water until it starts to come out of the drainage holes. If your plant has a tray under the drain holes be certain to empty it. Never let this plant sit in standing water.

You can also bottom water the plant, which involves dipping the bottom of the plant in water and letting the water work its way up through the plant. Make sure there is adequate soil moisture working through the entire plant if choosing this method. Also, remember to empty the water after about 20 minutes.

How Much Sun Does A Birds Nest Sun Need?

This plant will not do well in too much light, nor does it tolerate direct sunlight. You should place it where it can receive medium to bright indirect light. A north-facing window is an excellent choice for this plant.

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