If your Bird’s nest fern has brown tips, then this article is for you. There may be various factors causing the leaves of your fern to brown. Some of them may be related to the care that you are giving your plant, while others may be connected to the environmental conditions around her. In this article, we are going to go one-by-one so you can find out what your plant is trying to tell you and how to help her feel better.
8 Common Reasons for Bird’s Nest Fern Brown Tips + Solutions
1. Too much light
One reason for brown tips may be related to light. In order to understand the ideal light conditions for your plant, we need to think about the plant in the wild.
When you think about it, these ferns are actually covered by large canopies in the wild. So they are usually in full-shade or partial-shade.
And when providing light for our plants at home, we want to imitate this. This plant will thrive in full-shade or partial-shade.
I can tell you, in my experience this plant will also be okay with bright light, but always avoid direct sunlight.
If direct light hits the leaves of your plant they will scorch, and they may develop brown tips. So if this is the case with you, and you feel that your plant is getting lots of direct sunlight, you can move her to a place with more shade.
This will be for example, away from the window, to another room that is not so bright, or you can also add curtains to your windows so you can filter the light.
After that, just observe your plant for a couple of weeks and see how she reacts.
Brown tips on the leaves may also be related to watering issues. And the first one is dehydration.
This plant likes the soil to be moist at all times. And note that I am saying moist and not super wet because we also don’t want to overwater our plant.
However, always remember that the soil should be moist at all times. In particular, this fern is very sensitive to drought.
So if the roots are lacking water for a long time, you are going to see that the leaves are suffering.
Some signs that the plant is lacking water are for example if you see that the leaves are losing color, or also brown tips on the leaves.
In order to make sure that your plant is dehydrated and in fact needs water, it’s always good to check the soil with your finger.
You can always stick your finger in the soil until the second knuckle, and if you feel that the soil is really dry, your plant is thirsty and you should water her.
And my favorite way to water this plant is from the bottom up. This is because this method really helps me make sure that the water gets into the roots from below, but then once I’m done I can just lift it up and the excess water will drain down through the drainage holes.
That way I make sure that the soil is moist but not super wet.
3. Inconsistent Watering
Another reason related to water that may be affecting the leaves of your plant is inconsistent watering.
This is for example when we forget to water our plant for a long period of time and then we provide a lot of water for maybe two or three weeks, which is not good because it’s long periods of drought and then a lot of water.
In order to prevent overwatering and/or underwatering it is always good to have a watering schedule. For example for me, I always check my plants every week.
I check the soil of every plant and then the ones that need watering, I just water. But this is something that I do every week and this is especially important with plants like these that like the soil to be moist at all times.
With a watering schedule, we make sure that the soil stays moist and we also prevent overwatering.
4. Water is too harsh
The last thing related to watering that can be causing bird’s nest fern brown tips is if the water is too harsh. Depending on your region, tap water may have some chemicals or minerals that are not very good for our plant.
So if you use tap water, and it is very harsh where you live, this may be affecting the leaves of your plant. For example, here in Berlin, the tap water is very harsh. So before I use it to water my plants, I always filter and then water.
Another thing that you can do with tap water is to pour it into a bucket and let it be for 48 hours before you use it to water your plants. And this time the chemicals and minerals will be released from the water so the water won’t be so harsh on your plants. And then you can use it to water.
Of course, you don’t have to use tap water, you can also collect rainwater, and this is really great because it’s water that comes from the sky so you are saving water and it’s actually free of chemicals or any minerals that are bad for your plants.
Or you can also use distilled water, which is not so harsh on our plants.
5. Lack of humidity
Another possible cause of brown tips is related to humidity. Remember this is a fern so they prefer to be in humid environments.
For example, the room where I have mine is usually between 50-60% humidity. And you want to keep it like that so your fern can thrive.
One tip that I can give you related to humidity is to avoid placing your fern close to the AC or a heating vent because the air will be very dry around that area.
To increase humidity levels around your plant, you can always place her on top of a humidity tray or in a room with a humidifier.
I use a Hygrometer which tells me the humidity in the room as well as the temperature here, which is really useful because then I know exactly if I need to increase humidity or if it’s too cold for my plants, and yeah, so I really recommend this one for sure.
6. Wrong Temperature can cause bird’s nest fern brown
And talking about the Hygrometer tool, the temperature is another thing that can cause bird’s nest fern brown tips on the leaves.
Your bird’s nest fern comes from tropical regions, so the ideal temperatures for this plant will be between 21 to 31 degrees Celsius, which is on the warmer side of the spectrum.
If your plant suffered a very harsh change of temperature either too hot or too cold all of the sudden or really rapidly, this may be causing the tips of the leaves to brown.
In order to fix this, you want to make sure that you can regulate the temperature around your plant.
Now you can always use the Hygrometer again to also check the temperature here and that way you can moderate it better around your plant.
If none of the previous reasons ring a bell to you, you have two more to go and the next one is root-bound.
7. Root Bound
As our plant grows, it will start to need more space than the space that we can provide in that pot. And there are ways to know if your plant needs more space for the roots.
The first way to check is to look at the drainage holes. If you see that the roots are growing out of the drainage holes, this may be a very good sign that your plant needs a little bit more space to grow.
Another sign that your plant needs a little bit more space is if you see that the roots are also growing on the surface of the potting mix and then you can also lift your plant out of the pot and if you see that the roots are also growing around the potting mix, this is a very good sign that you plant needs a little bit more space.
Now, if this is your case and you want to repot your plant, I always recommend that you use a pot that is one to two sizes bigger. This is because we don’t want to move our plant to a very different environment than what she is used to, and also if you move your plant to a very big pot, this may cause overwatering.
This is because if your plant is in a very big pot, and then you water, that’s going to be a lot of water for the roots to absorb, and then they won’t be able to absorb it, and then the soil is going to be very wet for your plant.
So remember, if you repot your plant always use a pot that is one to two sizes bigger maximum.
8. Overfertilization also causes bird’s nest fern brown tips
The next cause that I am going to tell you is super common and this is overfertilization.
Of course, our bird’s nest fern will need some fertilizer in the growing season to thrive and grow healthy. But if you provide too much fertilizer, the leaves will start to brown and you will have brown tips.
If you have been fertilizing your plant and you feel that you may have provided too much fertilizer, what I would recommend is that you stop fertilization and you observe your plant.
You can also run some water through the soil, and let it drain for a little bit. This will take some of the fertilizer out of the soil. But make sure that the water drains down so the soil is not too wet and you overwater your plant.
I’m very interested to know which one of these factors is causing brown tips on the leaves of your plant. If you know, or anything rings a bell make sure to comment below, and if there is any other factor that I didn’t mention here, also share below so we can all learn together.