Heart fern dried up – House Plant Journal

Heart fern dried up

Plant: Heart fern

How long have you had the plant? Less than 1 month


As you can see from the picture, the leaves are curled and dried.  I just got the plant from a friend about a week ago. Today, I got rid of some dead and brown leaves, watering the root to the top of the plant because I saw the soil is dried. I even put my mini humidifier next to my plant now but not sure whether it’s correct.

Light Situation:

The plant only receives indirect light from this location

How do you determine WHEN to water: I follow the schedule I was told/researched – once a week

Describe HOW you water: Pour a small amount of water onto the soil.

What fertilizer do you use? I have not used any fertilizer.

When was the last time you repotted? I haven’t repotted.


Thanks for the photos and info.

Unfortunately, these leaves are dead.  Heart fern soil cannot be allowed to get even halfway dry (just like a maidenhair fern) or else all of its fronds will turn crispy.

When you lift the pot, you can learn to feel the weight of fully saturated soil vs halfway dry vs completely dry.  For the heart fern, the watering strategy is “keep evenly moist”, which means you are cycling the soil dryness from ‘fully saturated’ and just slightly dry (i.e. don’t allow the soil to reach halfway dry).  This means your approach to watering should be to check the soil dryness on a daily basis and water when the soil is slightly drier than ‘fully saturated’.

All of the above only discusses knowing WHEN to water.  In terms of HOW to water, you should pour water slowly and evenly moisten all parts of the soil until it can no longer hold any more water – excess water should be dripping out of the drainage holes.  If you “pour a small amount of water”, you will inevitably leave dry pockets where roots will die and the corresponding leaves will dry up.

Humidity is fine but the key issue was maintaining soil moisture.

If you give your soil a thorough soaking and continue to keep the soil evenly moist, there is a chance that new leaves will grow but there won’t be as many leaves as when you first got the plant.  Alternatively, you can discard this plant and try again.  Heart ferns are notoriously thirsty so if you want a fern that is not as high-maintenance, I suggest a rabbit’s foot fern, which is far more drought tolerant.

My book and online course will teach you the fundamentals of houseplant care so you can feel confident in caring for any plant – rather than trying to follow random do’s and don’ts.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

One response to “Heart fern dried up”

  1. My heart fern only dried out slightly and the leaves have curled. I watered it. Will the leaves uncurl now that the soil is moist or is the curl permanent?

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