Why Is My Bird’s Nest Fern Turning Brown?

A Bird’s Nest Fern is one of the most popular types of ferns. They are known for their glossy leaves and low-maintenance requirements. But, if you notice your bird’s nest fern has turned brown, don’t panic! We have some great information that will help you get it back to its original green color in no time.

Why Is My Bird’s Nest Fern Turning Brown?

Your bird’s nest fern is turning brown as a result of overwatering or leaf burn. While burnt leaves will be dry and crispy, brown leaves from overwatering tend to be moist.

This is why determining what caused the leaves to turn brown is so important. I’ll go through these two causes in-depth, as well as what you can do to avoid it from happening again.

Browning Bird’s Nest Fern Leaves from Overwatering

Overwatering is the most common cause of brown leaves on your bird’s nest fern. The excess water causes the roots to rot, which prevents them from taking up enough oxygen. This will lead to root death and eventually affect the rest of the plant too.

Your first clue that you are overwatering your bird’s nest fern is by noticing brown, moist leaves. The second clue will be the appearance of dark mold on the soil or at its base.

It’s recommended to only water your bird’s nest fern when the tip inch or so of soil is dry. You can test this by sticking your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, then it’s safe to give your plant some more water.

To stop any water from sitting at the bottom of the container, you should always use a pot with drainage holes and allow any excess water to drain away after watering your plant.

Failure to use sufficient drainage can result in root rot. If your plant is already affected, then you need to act fast by removing the rotten roots as soon as possible. Next, repot your plant into fresh soil that is well-drained.

The type of water matters too! It’s best to avoid using water, which has chlorine or fluorine in it. I recommend using filtered water that has fewer chemicals in it.

Browning Bird’s Nest Fern Leaves from Leaf Burn

It’s not uncommon for ferns to burn their leaves when they are exposed to strong, direct sunlight. This can make your plant unattractive with brown burnt edges on the fronds.

The best way to prevent leaf burn is by gradually introducing more light exposure over a period of weeks or even months. If you have recently moved your bird’s nest fern to a new location, then it’s important to do this gradually.

To save a sunburned bird’s nest fern, you should trim off any burnt leaves. Then, provide it with low light conditions until the plant has recovered. It could be a good idea to hide the plant behind other plants or a dark curtain that blocks the sun.

Remember, leaf burn is caused by too much light exposure rather than not enough. If you are unsure about how your plant will respond in the new location then it’s best to gradually introduce more light over time!

It’s also important to be careful when using any grow lights around your fern. The heat can cause the leaves to burn, so keep any lights at least six inches away from the plant.

Browning Bird’s Nest Fern Leaves FAQs

The bird’s nest fern is not the easiest plant to grow. As a result, I’d like to address some of the most frequently asked questions about its leaves.

Will brown bird’s nest fern leaves turn green again?

No, it is unlikely that the leaves will recover. They are beyond saving and you need to focus on growing new ones!

Should I remove brown leaves from the bird’s nest fern?

Yes, as soon as you notice them. The longer you allow the leaves to stay on your plant, the greater chance that they will affect other parts of your plant. Besides, pruning will make your plant look more attractive.

Will too much water cause the bird’s nest fern to turn brown?

Yes, too much water can cause your bird’s nest fern to turn brown. This is because the roots are unable to take up enough oxygen, which leads them to die off.

Why are my bird’s nest fern leaves wet?

This is likely due to guttation, which is when the plant releases excess water out of its leaves. It’s caused by warm temperatures and high humidity, which encourages rapid transpiration.

Will direct sun cause bird’s nest fern to turn brown?

Yes, direct sunlight can cause your plant to burn and turn brown. You should always provide it with indirect sunlight or filtered light instead! This will prevent any leaf burn or browning.


In conclusion, there are two main reasons why your bird’s nest fern is turning brown. The first reason is overwatering, which causes the roots to rot and fail to take up enough oxygen due to excess water sitting at the bottom of the container.

The second reason is direct sunlight causing leaf scorch from too much sun exposure. The brown leaves are dry and crispy, while burnt leaves tend to be moist.

There you have it! Follow these tips if you want to avoid your plant from turning brown again.

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