Australian Sword Fern - Knowledgebase Question

Fairbanks, AK
Question by dmalbright10
June 2, 2006
My A.S.Fern was very green when I first bought it. I have kept the soil moist and repotted w/ store bought potting soil and peat moss. I have kept it watered, although when I first bought it I did let it dry once to the point that leaves began wilting. Watered it and they bounced back although three fell off.
Now, the leaves are turning a tan/ brown color at the stems. The new growth looks healthy but the older leaves are turning color. What am I doing wrong/not doing to cause these leaves to turn from the beautiful green they were? I try not to overwater but then I don't want it to dry out either. I keep the soil moist.
Thank you, Marsha


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Answer from NGA
June 2, 2006

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Your Australian Sword Fern is one of the most adaptable of all ferns grown indoors. It likes heat and humidity, and moist soil so don't let it dry out again. It also thrives on a constant source of nutrients so try feeding your plant with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. It's normal for the oldest fronds to die off. As long as you have new growth emerging from the center of the plant, your sword fern is healthy. Prune away the dead fronds to make room for healthy new ones; if the air is dry (as is often the case during winter indoors), mist your plant everyday. When the weather warms, take it outside and hose it off periodically, both to discourage spider mites and to remove any dust from the fronds. I think once you regularly increase the humidity around your fern it will grow lush and thick and lovely. Enjoy!

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