Ferns do not need a lot of maintenance. This is the reason why they grow well indoors. However, while ferns do not need a lot of maintenance, they do have water, fertilizer, light, soil, and other requirements. If they are not given what they need, they cannot thrive or even survive. They start dying.
One of the things that can make them quickly start dying is lack of watering. When not watered regularly, ferns can quickly dry out and start dying. Overwatering can also be a problem. Excess watering can make most ferns to start dying because of root rot.
In this post, I will share with you information on how to revive a dying fern. So read on to save your dying fern. But before I do this, let’s look at the reasons why your fern is dying or dead.
Why Is Your Fern Is Dying?
1. Poor Irrigation
Your fern will die if you do not give it enough water regularly. Therefore, whether you’ve planted it in the ground or in a planting pot, you need to give it enough water regularly. If you do not, it will not have the water or nutrients it needs to stay healthy and survive.
You need to irrigate your fern especially well if you have planted it in the ground. Because ferns in the ground tend to get thirsty faster than ferns in pots since drainage in the ground is often much faster.
Ferns planted in the ground next to trees need even better or more vigilant irrigation. This is because the roots of the trees next to them will make it difficult for them to get enough water to survive.
If you believe your fern is dying because of lack of water, you should revive it by building a raised bed and replanting your fern on it. A raised bed with a mix of compost, vermiculite, and peat moss, will conserve moisture better and give your fern the water it needs to thrive. It will also have the right pH for your fern to thrive. If you do not want to build a raised bed, dig up your fern, add compost to the hole, replant it, and then add mulch around the base. This will help conserve moisture and enable your plant to recover and thrive. If your fern is next to a tree or tree line, make sure you replant it five or six meters away to reduce competition for the water you give to it.
2. Poor Drainage
Your fern will die if the ground or potting mix it is dwelling in has poor drainage. This is because poor drainage almost always causes root rot, which kills roots and entire plants.
If you’ve planted your fern in the ground, the drainage will likely be poor if the ground is made of a clayey soil or if you’ve used a plastic raised bed lining.
And if you’ve planted your fern in a pot, the drainage will likely be poor if you use a potting mix that does not drain well or if the drainage holes in your pot end up blocking.
If you believe poor drainage is the reason why your fern is dying, you should rectify the problem by improving the drainage in the ground or pot where you have planted your fern.
3. Low temperatures
Like most plants, ferns hate low temperatures. Because of this they start dying when exposed to low temperatures for an extended period. For example, indoor ferns exposed to cold drafts often start dying after several nights of exposure. Similarly, outdoor ferns exposed to low temperatures or frost can start dying after hours or days of exposure.
If you believe your fern is dying because of low temperatures, you should revive it by moving it away from cold drafts if it is indoors. If it is outdoors, you should revive it by throwing a garden blanket over it at night. During winter, you should expect your outdoor fern to die. If it does, do not worry for the warmth of the spring season will most likely revive it for you.
How To Revive Your Fern If You Do Not Know What Is Killing It
In the section above, you discovered three reasons why your fern is dying or dead and how to revive your fern in each case. If you do not know what is ailing your fern and you still want to revive it, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Water Your Fern Excessively
By watering your fern excessively, you will loosen up the ground or potting mix it is in. The purpose of loosening the ground or potting mix is to make it easy for you to remove the fern without causing extensive damage to its root system.
Step 2: Knock Around The Pot
If your fern is in a pot, you should knock around it with a heavy object e.g. the back of a knife. Doing this will further loosen the potting mix. You should then use a knife to cut around your fern’s root ball. This will enable you to remove your plant and its roots from the pot. If your fern is in the ground, use a long knife to stab the ground about half a foot from its base and then run it around the base. This will also enable you to remove your fern.
Step 3: Remove The Soil And Dead Roots From Your Fern’s Roots
This step is important to eliminate any pests or pathogens in the soil so as to give your fern a fresh start. It also eliminates roots no longer serving any purpose.
Step 4: Put Pebbles And Then Loam Soil In An Unused Pot With Drainage Holes
Pebbles at the bottom of your fern’s new home will improve drainage, while loam soil is known for being well-drained and healthy for many plants. The fact that the new pot will have drainage holes will make sure poor drainage will no longer and/or never be an issue.
Step 5: Plant Your Fern In The Middle Of The Loam Soil and Bury It Using A Potting Mix
Once you’ve prepared the base of your new pot (added pebbles and then loam soil to a third of its height), you should plant your fern and then bury it using a good potting mix. A good potting mix for you is one that is appropriate for your fern i.e. a potting mix with all the ingredients your plant needs to thrive. This will make sure your fern will not experience any nutritional issue any time soon.
Step 6: Firm Your Potting Mix And Then Water It
After planting your fern, you should firm it up by pushing down the potting mix. This will make sure your fern has the support it needs. You should then water it until it is evenly moist. To avoid overwatering your fern, you should only water it again when it is dry. You can measure dryness using the finger test or using a cheap moisture meter.
Step 7: Position Your Fern Somewhere Where It Gets Sufficient Light
Position your fern on a north-facing windowsill to ensure it gets enough direct sunlight. If your place does not get a lot of sunlight hours, you should get a grow light to give your fern sufficient light energy.
By following the seven steps above, you will manage to give your fern a fresh start by providing it with a new home and the right conditions for success.