The Q&A Archives: Tips Drying On Maidenhair Fern

Question: I keep my maidenhair fern in the kitchen for the past year
my problem is the tips get brown. I would like to know more about this type of fern.

Answer: Browning tips is fairly common on many ferns. When leaves brown around the edges, the problem is often salt burn. Salts in the water and in fertilizer build up over time. Browning usually occurs on the old leaves first. This excess salt accumulates in the leaf edges, where it kills the tissue and the leaf dries out and turns brown. It's important to water deeply and slowly. At least once a month, water deeply enough to "leach" or push salts well below the root zone. Frequent, light "sprinklings" allow salts to accumulate in the top layers of soil, where the roots are, which is bad news. Similar symptoms occur when too much fertilizer has been applied. Always water plants thoroughly before and after applying fertilizer to help prevent burn.

Also, if maidenhair ferns are in too much direct sunlight, foliage can yellow and then turn brown, as it is basically "burning."

Ferns also do better with increased humidity. Set the pot on a shallow tray of water on top of pebbles to keep the water from soaking into the pot.

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