My fern doesn’t seem to be doing so well – House Plant Journal

My fern doesn’t seem to be doing so well

Plant Parent

I live in the UK and have recently fell in love with houseplants! I have bought lots of plants and love them so much, but I worry about their care. I recently bought your book ‘The New Plant Parent‘ and also have started following you on Instagram – love it. Anyway I bought a Boston fern (I think it’s a Boston fern). I have Burt in the bathroom that has a NNW facing window and he lives on the windowsill but he doesn’t seem to be doing very well. I have a tester to check soil moistness and it seems okay. Not sure what else you need to know.


I hope you enjoy my book – thank you!

This isn’t a Boston fern but I’m not quite certain exactly what kind of fern it is. Nevertheless, I can tell from the plant structure that this won’t be one of the ferns that stay “nice looking” for very long. Every plant has leaf turnover – meaning, older leaves will die off as new ones grow in. Unfortunately for most ferns, this means you will INEVITABLY be cleaning up a mess of leaflets – exactly how often depends a lot on light, soil moisture, and humidity.

Listen carefully – I’m NOT suggesting you raise humidity in a futile attempt at preventing leaf loss – I’m saying you should do your best with care but EXPECT to pick up dead leaves every now and then. The overall “bushiness” of the fern will eventually become sparse because the inside of your home is nothing like a greenhouse. The plant isn’t dying but rather, it is trying its best with the conditions it gets. I’d say, for this fern, enjoy it while it lasts. If you’re looking for a longer-lasting fern, I would suggest rabbit’s foot fern – their leaves die off more cleanly than other ferns.

Allow me to provide some perspective on dying leaves: read this article!

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

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