Why Is My Bird’s Nest Fern Turning Yellow?

The bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is a popular houseplant and can be grown in many different conditions, but sometimes they become yellow and unhealthy.

This article will teach you why your bird’s nest fern may be turning yellow, what to do about it, and how to prevent future issues with this plant.

Why Is My Bird’s Nest Fern Turning Yellow?

Your bird’s nest fern is turning yellow because the plant has been overwatered, it hasn’t received enough light, or the environment is causing stress.

Let’s now explore the most common causes of yellowing leaves on a bird’s nest fern and what you can do about them.

Yellowing Bird’s Nest Fern from Overwatering

If your bird’s nest fern is turning yellow, the most common reason for this is that it has been overwatered. If you recently increased the amount of water that your fern is receiving, it could be caused by this.

To prevent your bird’s nest from becoming yellow due to overwatering, make sure the potting medium drains freely and only provides enough water to keep the plant moist, but not soggy.

Never allow any excess standing water in its container since soggy conditions can cause root rot. You can also help your plant by using a pot with drainage holes and soil that drains well.

The best way to prevent overwatering is to only water the soil when the top inch of soil is dry. You can test this by poking your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, you can water the plant by adding a small amount of water at a time.

Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter, which can be found in most home improvement stores, to determine if it is time to water the plant.

If the yellowing gets worse, root rot can soon take over. Your plant is asking for help, so give it some extra attention by checking for rotting roots. Any you find should e pruned and discarded away from your plants.

Next, repot your bird’s nest fern into a fresh potting mix that drains well. With a bit of time and luck, your fern should recover from the root rot and turn green again soon.

Yellowing Bird’s Nest Fern from Too Little Sunlight

If your bird’s nest fern is turning yellow and you recently moved it to a location where it is not receiving enough light, it could be due to this.

If your plant is yellowing because of too little sunlight, move the plant into a location where it will receive bright indirect or filtered sunlight for most of the day. This will allow the plant to produce new leaves that are green instead of yellow.

I keep my bird’s nest fern in a south-facing window where it receives indirect light, but not direct sunlight. I once tried keeping it in the hallway, but this started to turn the tips yellow, so I quickly moved it.

If you don’t have another suitable location to put your bird’s nest fern, consider setting up a grow light. I use grow lights for all of my houseplants, especially during the winter months when there isn’t much natural sunlight.

Yellowing from Environmental Stressors

If you recently moved your plant, it could be turning yellow due to environmental stress caused by the move. If this is the case, simply allow some time for the fern to adjust before worrying about how much sunlight or water it receives.

Many fern owners make the mistake of repotting their stressed plant. However, this usually only makes the problem worse because it only adds more stress.

If your bird’s nest fern is turning yellow, you should only repot if necessary. If it does need a new potting medium or larger container, make sure not to disturb its roots too much.

Yellowing Bird’s Nest Fern Leaves FAQs

I will now discuss some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to yellowing leaves on a bird’s nest fern.

Should I cut yellow leaves off my bird’s nest fern?

Yes, cut all yellow leaves off the plant completely to encourage new growth. This will allow more light into its center area where it is healthy. This encourages healthy new growth throughout the plant.

Will the yellow leaves spread to other plants?

Only if the cause is a fungal infection. In this case, use neem oil or another fungicide to treat your bird’s nest fern.

Also, your other plants may be getting yellowing leaves because they are in the same exact environment as your fern.

For example, if your fern is stressed du a cold draft, it is highly likely that your monstera plant 1m away will also become stressed.

Does the type of water matter?

Yes, I recommend only giving filtered water to your fern. This will help prevent yellow leaves due to hard water build-up.

Will too little light cause my bird’s nest fern to turn yellow?

Yes, if the plant receives too little light, it will turn yellow. This is especially true for plants that are kept in low-light locations like hallways.

Will too much water cause my bird’s nest fern to turn yellow?

Yes, if the plant is left sitting in standing water for too long, it will begin to show signs of rot. This can include a loss of leaves and a yellowing stem coloration on the fern’s trunk.

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

No, it is unlikely that the yellowing leaves will turn green again. However, you can remove the yellow leaves to encourage new growth.


In conclusion, your bird’s nest fern may be turning yellow because of overwatering, not receiving enough light, or environmental stress.

Make sure to only water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry and provide it with bright indirect sunlight for most of the day.

If your plant does need a larger potting medium or container, make sure to disturb its roots as little as possible.

I hope this article helped and good luck!

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