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Hurting mother fern

Posted by lindsfein NY (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 15:57

I purchased a small mother fern in the beginning of January and it was doing great. I had a good watering schedule down and it was growing quite fast. I don't have much experience with houseplants but I knew it had to be repotted soon. A friend suggested I plant it in a much bigger pot so it would have more room to grow.

I repotted it awhile ago and since then it's been struggling. A large majority of the fronds have died off and the remaining ones are not doing great. The stems have been growing out but no new leaves have formed and now some of the fronds have brown spots and the tips of the fronds are crisping.

I've been tweaking the watering schedule and I don't believe I am overwatering, although I could be. I water it every 3 or 4 days depending on how dry the soil is. I'm also pretty sure I'm not under watering because it hasn't wilted at all. The stems are pretty hardy, but maybe there's not enough humidity? I have the pot in a plate of pebbles but it is such a big pot I don't know if it's really doing anything.

Now for the first time I have a few tiny baby fronds curled up in the rhizomes. 1 has come out a little bit. However, each of them has this whitish type hair/fuzziness that I can't tell if it's from dryness or whether it's supposed to be like that. I've been misting them very sparingly to see if that helps at all.

I really want this fern to survive because it's my favorite plant and I don't want to see it go. Based on this description does anyone have any advice at all!? Should I replant into a smaller pot or would that shock an already struggling plant too much? Should I try fertilizing? I know we have pretty soft tap water. How can I help the new babies to grow?

PLEASE HELP I know this is a long post but I just don't know what to do!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hurting mother fern

You mention houseplants - are you growing this indoors? Most ferns don't like to be indoors. I used to be a member of the local fern society, and one person had a greenhouse full of ferns, and she told me she only had a couple inside the house. I have 3 that are doing okay, and the rest are outdoors.

Transplanting can shock plants, that may be what's happened here. I have tried to grow mother ferns before, and have found that they are pretty fickle, even outdoors. And don't pot into a pot that's more than 1" diameter larger than the one it was in. That can allow the soil to stay too wet for too long.

This forum isn't very active. I suggest you shorten your post a bit and ask on the houseplants forum. It's pretty active, and I think you'll get responses there.

I see two fiddleheads in your pic, and that's a really good sign. One way to tell if it needs water is to stick a pencil in the pot, and it if comes out wet, you know it doesn't need water.


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