Ask a Question forum: Help me save my friends!

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San Francisco, CA
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Aishlamir
Oct 16, 2017 12:36 PM CST
I have Bird's Nest Snake Plant and a Fern and they have both seen better days. I live in a low light apartment and have been watering them exactly how the man at the nursery told me to, but alas! They are unhappy. I even brought the Fern outside for a bit because it seems to need sun? I have no idea what I'm doing... Attached are photos. What can be done do save my friends?!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 17, 2017 10:31 AM CST
What you are calling a Snake Plant is an Aechmea, a type of Bromeliad. It looks fine in the photo with the exception of a couple of discolored lower leaves that can be trimmed off. That is normal. Keep it close to a sunny window. Allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering it thoroughly. That is all it really needs.

Your Fern is a Button Fern (Pellaea rotundfolia). Like most ferns, it likes cool temps, protection from direct sunlight and constantly damp soil. High humidity helps but is not essential if the soil is kept moist. Trim off the dried, dead fronds as they will not recover. Keep it fairly close to a bright window indoors and water it as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
San Francisco, CA
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Aishlamir
Oct 18, 2017 11:46 AM CST
Thanks Will!
This is extremely helpful. Couple quick follow ups:

1. I was told that when watering the Aechmea, I should just make sure that the hole in the top is full and that I didn't need to add more water to the soil. Is that not true?

2. As for the Button Fern, I don't get a ton of sunlight in my apartment. If I do, it is short-lived. Is there anything else I can do to help it thrive? Is time out in the backyard a good idea? (I also live close to the beach in San Francisco so the atmosphere is often very moist...)

Thanks again!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Oct 18, 2017 12:51 PM CST
The Button Fern will live outside year 'round at your house. Find it a place with dappled shade.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 18, 2017 2:19 PM CST
It is commonly recommended that Aechmea cups or vases be kept filled with water because that is what happens in their native tropical rainforest habitats. However, once they are put into pots with soil (In nature they are epiphytes and that means the roots do not grow in soil), they are able to absorb the water they need through their roots, like any other potted plant. Keeping water in the vase may cause the leaves forming the vase to rot.Personally, I think you are better off watering just the soil.

Your Button Fern should be fine outside year-round in your area, but it should be in light shade at all times, as Daisy indicated.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Oct 18, 2017 5:42 PM CST
Does your area ever get frost? Mine live outside all year, and I'm 10 mi. inland from the ocean, where we do get nightly fog for most of the year.

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