Houseplants forum→Maidenhair Fern Problems

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newbyplantmom
Jun 6, 2020 3:33 PM CST
Hello,

I recently ordered a Maidenhair Fern from Amazon, and it's been about a month since I got it. It looked very healthy since the beginning. Once it got here, I first left it alone in well-moistened soil for about 4 days. I then trimmed any dead leaves or shoots, repotted it into a self-watering pot with MiracleGro indoor potting mix, and placed it next to a West-facing window in a spot with lots of bright indirect light. I made sure it was in a corner, with no drafts, and where no direct light can reach it. I mist it every couple of days to make sure its humid enough, and the tray under the self-watering pot is always topped with water.

I feel as though I got at least most of its ideal conditions right, but I haven't seen any new growth in the past month. The fronds it already has look good, and it's lost maybe one each week; they become crunchy and slightly darker, at which point I just cut them off at the bottom. I tried a couple of drops of diluted liquid fertilizer in its water a couple of days ago, but still no difference. I noticed the new shoots look brown-ish before they just die off.

Does anyone have any care tips or suggestions for what I should do? Confused Could it be root rot? Or overpotting? Is it dormant or something? Anything helps!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 7, 2020 7:46 AM CST
As houseplants, Maisdenhair Frens grow quite slowly and they cannot be forced into faster growth with larger pots or fertilizer.

You seem to be providing for it very well, although I am always a bit suspicious of "self-watering" planters. How is yours set up? Or what is its trade name?

The tiny leaflets bruise very easily even with slight touching so be very careful in handling it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

newbyplantmom
Jun 7, 2020 12:16 PM CST
Hi, thanks for responding! Thank You!

The planter is from an Amazon seller called HBServices and it's described as "UV stabilized polypropylene plastic". It has large open slats on the bottom that provide aeration, along with four "legs" that attach onto some grooves on the saucer. This way, some soil is always in contact with the water, but most of it isn't waterlogged. I refill the saucer once a week, more or less.

Sometimes, I'm afraid the soil is a bit too moist, because when I squeeze it, lots of water comes out. Do these ferns like to have soil that is that wet?


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 8, 2020 8:16 AM CST
That is not a self-watering planter that I would recommend. The soil for your Ferm should remain damp, but not soaking wet as apparently, yours is. The constant supply of water from the saucer seems to be keeping the soil constantly soaked.

You might consider leaving it in that planter, but stop using the bottom watering technique. Water from the top as soon as the top quarter to half-inch of soil feels dry to your touch. Give it just enough water so that it dries out similarly again in about one week. Experiment a bit to learn just what that amount of water is.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

newbyplantmom
Jun 8, 2020 8:36 AM CST
Okay! I'll try that and update later on! Thank You!

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