Why Does My Bird’s Nest Fern Have Brown Tips?

Bird’s nest Fern ( Asplenium Nidus)looks attractive because of the glossy leaves that spread outwards from the center, creating the appearance of a nest.

Because it doesn’t produce flowers so taking care of the leaves is of paramount importance.

If you notice the bird’s nest developing brown tips, it is a sign of the overall condition that your plants are in.

The brown tips of the bird’s nest plant are caused by inadequate watering, the use of low-quality water, excessive fertilizer low humidity, stress on temperature and exposure to direct light or even the absence of. Repotting shock, root rot can cause the same issue. There are other reasons that could trigger this problem.

To help you comprehend the process that drives each cause, here are detailed explanations of the reasons that brown spots appear in the ferns of the bird’s nest.

I’ll also provide you with tips to help you fix the issue and preventive measures to prevent this issue from happening.

Causes of Brown Tips on Bird’s Nest Fern

There are a variety of reasons why your bird’s nest fern may be having brown spots. A few of them are the result of a mistake in care and maintenance. Other cases are caused by adverse environmental conditions.

A proper diagnosis is essential when identifying the issue to be able to stop further damage from occurring. Here are a few essential things to be aware of.

Asplenium nidus


In general, ferns prefer a humid environment. Therefore, they are very dependent for intake of water.

Particularly, bird’s nest fern is prone to drought, so if there is a shortage of water the leaves eventually exhibit indications of stress.

The brown spots on the bird’s nest could be the result of dehydration. If water levels are low cells shed the water from their cell’s cytoplasm, which causes it to shrink. If this condition persists for a long time and the cell is not able to recover, it will end up dying.

Water Immediately

When you see the brown tips appearing and the plant is the plant wilting, you should water it immediately.

Allow it to soak in water for a couple of minutes until it’s completely hydrated. The plant cells will return to their turgid look and will be evident when the leaves appear lively and vibrant.

Place in a Highly Humid Place

If the ferns are prone to losing water, even when you give only a small quantity, it’s likely that the area where they’re located is very humid.

In this situation, you must move the fern to a place that is humid. The humid environment can help the plant absorb and hold in the moisture.

Inconsistent Watering

If you’re among those that water your plants only when they want to do it, then there’s not surprising that your fern has those brown tips. A lack of consistency in watering is a dangerous habit to follow.

It’s as if you submerged your plant one time and then overwatering it the next time. Your plant will definitely be stressed. There will be a disturbance in the biological processes.

Check the Soil Regularly

The soil’s condition will inform you of the time to water it or not. The ferns do not want their soil to be dry. Put your finger in the soil for at least one inch to see if it’s damp.

Water Thoroughly

Be sure to soak your pots in water thoroughly. Surface watering will only soak the upper portion of the soil, not the bottom. It is important to distribute the water to ensure that all roots are able to access water.

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Low Humidity

Low humidity is a major enemy for tropical plants such as ferns. This is because, when the humidity of the air is lower the rate of transpiration increases.

It means your plants will be losing more water over a shorter amount of time.

We are sure that your ferns are fond of more moisture, so they don’t like to be exposed to low humidity.

In the event that they don’t, they’ll be dehydrated and then wilted. The brown tips that resulted due to dehydration could occur as a result of long-term conditions that have low humidity.

You can group your Fern with other Plants

This is one method to increase the humidity surrounding your plants. The plants release water through their stomata, and when they do so, the water vapor that is trapped in the air can be utilized by plants in the vicinity. This way, they can utilize the water vapor dissipated to benefit themselves.

Mist Your Fern

In the early morning, take a spray bottle and water and spray your plant. Misting can help provide dew that will eventually become another source of water.

Make sure that the mist is well evaporated throughout the day, to avoid the spread of fungal infections.

Use a Humidifier

If you do not want to deal with the hassle, switch your humidifier off. Humidifiers are able to provide immediate solutions in critical situations when humidity is low. Allow your plants to enjoy the extra humidity.

Direct Sunlight

The ideal bird’s nest fern is a partial to complete shade. Keep in mind it’s true that, in nature, they’re usually surrounded by huge canopies over.

If the light hits the leaves directly, it’s possible to create scorching.

In general, intense light intensity is damaging. The increased intensity of light could degrade photosynthesis reaction centers.

If your fern is getting direct sunlight, it’s likely the reason its leaves are brown or have brown tips.

Relocate the Plant

Set it in a shaded area. Choose a spot that offers either full or partial shade, and let the bird’s nest remain there. If you’re using artificial lighting, be sure to keep at least six to 12 inches of distance in between.

Provide Additional Shade

If your home is confined in area and it’s difficult to locate a shaded space You can make one by installing curtains. Curtains can shield your plants from direct exposure to sunlight.

Too Much Fertilizer

Overfertilization is among the most common causes of burns to the leaf tips in plants. If you’ve applied fertilizer in high levels or applied it more often than is necessary the plant could be at risk.

The excess salts in fertilizers can slow the water flow through the roots. The soil also becomes acidic, causing certain nutrients to become less accessible to plant growth.

Leach Off the Salts

The salt that has accumulated is water-soluble, so you can make use of water to rid yourself of the salt. Add water to the medium using a volume which is double the size in the container.

Allow the water to run for a couple of minutes to make sure it washes away all the salts.

It is possible to repeat this process throughout the day, allowing for the time to rest between. Be sure that the water completely is drained from the pot.

Salt Build-Up in Potting Medium

If you feed your fern by fertilizer or other substances, then the likelihood is that the potting medium will build up salts over time.

The salt build-up is visible as tiny, white crystals you can be able to see over the medium.

The build-up of salt is harmful because it pulls the water from the roots, causing the condition of drought.

The roots are damaged and eventually end up dying. The lack of efficiency caused by the damage to roots can cause slow growth, wilting, falling of mature leaves, as well as leaf and root tips burning.

Repot the Plant

If the amount of salt build-up is excessive there is no other option than to repotte it. Make a new mix of potting medium and plant your fern in it. When you repot, remember to cut off damaged roots.

Temperature Stress

The ideal temperature for a bird’s nest ferns is 70 to 90 toF (21 up to 32 degreesC). The climate it prefers is subtropical and tropical, therefore you must be aware of variations in temperatures. The fern is especially susceptible to temperatures that are cold.

High and low temperatures can cause damage to plants, particularly when the temperature change is sudden.

However they are more susceptible to freezing or chilling stress. If temperatures drop to extremely low levels they are more likely to build up reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are harmful substances. (Source: IntechOpen)

This is a factor that affects how plants grow,, specifically photosynthesis and water transport. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that plants exposed to temperature fluctuations produce brown tips.

Regulate Temperature at Home

In the event of extreme cold ensure that you switch on your heater. If the temperature is too hot, make use of your air conditioner and offer additional misting.

This will help your plant deal with sudden changes in temperature, thereby reducing the impact of stress caused by temperature.

Provide Insulation

The winter is coming soon and in order to get ready for the winter season, be sure you have the right blanket for the fern. Cotton sheets are excellent insulation. They can add warmth to your plants.

Root Bound

As plants grow and expand, the roots get so long and they are able to be joined over time.

Certain plants are able to live in pot-bound , but others aren’t able to. Roots that are too tightly entangled can be harmful for the health of your fern.

When roots become congested the access to oxygen, nutrients and water is reduced. This can be very demanding for the plant. In the end, the growth rate of plants slows down and some plants even end up dying.

Prune the Roots

Pot bound plants will create the root ball. It is possible to cut both sides, or you can cut a few inches off the bottom with an abrasive knife. The cut areas will later develop new roots.

Repot to a Larger Container

Rootbound occurs when the container is too small for the growing roots to flourish on.

After trimming the roots, you can repot it in a pot that’s one size bigger than the one you had before. The extra space will allow the roots ample space to grow.

Root Rot

Root rot can occur as the result of excessive watering or fungal infections. The soil that is flooded will cause an oxygen deficient environment, causing the roots to die.

Because cells cannot breathe, they end up dying and becoming rotten over time. When roots are damaged, it affects the transport of nutrient and water in plants.

The absence of these elements can hinder metabolic processes, causing other cells to also die. The brown spots on your fern could result from a deficiency of nutrients or water as result of root rot.

Stop Watering

If the plant you have is suffering the fatal root decay disease, it is important to stop the watering. Insufficient water can speed up the process of rotting. If you are able to detect the first signs, stop watering the area and allow it to dry for a while.

Let the Soil Dry

There are instances when the rate of evaporation is slow due to the low temperatures and high humidity. In this situation, the soil that is moist in pots will require longer to dry.

To help release water from the soil, you can flip the soil upside down before digging it in. Utilize a garden fork to remove the topsoil. Be careful not to harm the roots.

Repot the Fern

If the damage to the roots is extensive The best method to repair it is repotting. Carefully pull the plant out from the pot, look at the roots, then remove the decayed parts.

Clean it with water, then let it dry in the air. Then, you can transfer it to an entirely new pot with fresh, clean and well-drained potting medium.

Repotting Shock

While repotting can be a wonderful method to ensure the health of the plant However, the process itself can cause stress to plants.

Transplant shock occurs when the plant material used is not suitable, the growth environment isn’t suitable, or the method used for transplanting is not suitable.

One of the most well-known signs that can be a sign of shock after transplantation is the appearance of leaf scorch or tip burn. (Source: University of Kentucky)

If you notice that the brown tips begin appearing after transplanting the bird’s nest fern it could be suffering from shock after transplantation.

Place Newly Repotted Pots in Shaded Area

To reduce the effects of stress, it is recommended to ensure that your plant is in a shaded location. Lights that are bright can cause a faster transpiration and loss of moisture in plants.

We do not want this to happen, particularly since the roots aren’t yet planted in soil.

Water Thoroughly

Because the roots are still trying to adapt to the new surroundings, it will aid if you provide sufficient water to the soil.

If water is readily available it is not necessary for roots to put in the effort of looking for and taking in water. Thus, you minimize stress.

Lack of Light

Although it’s true that ferns prefer shady places but the absence of light, particularly those that contain UVB (UVB) radiation can cause intumescence. (Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst)

This is a natural reaction of plants that results in bumps protruding from the leaves’ surface petioles, stems, and leaves. The bumps may appear like white, green or even tan in hue.

Increase Exposure to Light

If your fern suffers from intumescence, the quickest solution is to expose it to light. Allow it to receive a bit of the blue light spectrum it requires. It is also possible to space your plants to let light be able to pass through.

Improper Potting Mix

The soil’s compacted state is one reason that root systems of the bird’s nest plants do not have much room to develop.

When the mix isn’t porous, it is not able to hold enough air spaces to provide oxygen. The capacity for holding water is inadequate.

If the environment around the roots isn’t friendly the roots won’t develop well.

As a result, plants will not receive enough water and nutrients. The plant will be stunted, and leaves display burns on the tips.

Repot the Plant

The most effective solution is to replace the potting mix to the right mix. Choose a potting mix with a high organic content such as peat moss or bark.

Check to see if it’s draining properly. Bird’s nest ferns prefer an potting mix that is slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.0 up to 5.5.

Water Quality

Water is a crucial component in the expansion and growth. However, not all kinds of water are good for your plants. For instance, tap water is a major source of fluorine and chlorine that could harm the ferns in your bird’s nest.

The presence of large amounts of the minerals found in soil can cause toxic effects. Fluorine in excess can lead to growing necrotic areas along the leaf’s margins and at the tips.

A lot of chlorine can cause scorched leaves, where the tips appear burned and brown.

Use Rainwater

The most effective water to make use of for your plant growth is the rainwater. But, we are aware that rainwater isn’t always readily available.

What you can do is to store your items in containers when rain falls.

Filter the Tap Water

A filtration system in your home can be beneficial. Do not use tap water that is raw for your plant. Allow it to run through the filter first.

Alternately, you can allow tap water to sit over a period of at most 24 hours prior to you apply them to plants.

These harmful substances will be evaporated out of the water over time, making it safe to use.

Pest Damage

Pests usually cause destruction by leaving lesions on the areas they have previously sucked the sap away. Scales, mealybugs, as well as shoreflies, are the most frequent pests found in bird’s nest fern.

If they do be infesting this plant, then they will leave trails, such as brown spots on the leaf’s surface.

Shore flies, in particular, prefer to rest on the edges of leaves, causing damage to this particular part of plant. (Source: University of Florida, IFAS)

Manually Pick the Pests

In general, indoor plants aren’t afflicted that significantly from pests. Therefore, it is possible to eliminate insects by picking them. If you see these creatures wandering about, eliminate them immediately.

Use Horticultural Oils and Solutions

Another method to rid yourself of these pests, without pesticides is to try making the solutions yourself.

It is possible to mix the oil of neem, insecticidal soap or dishwashing liquid water. Spray the solution diluted onto the parts of the plant where insects reside.

How to Prevent Brown Tips on Birds’ Nest Fern?

Although the cause of brown tips might be, you don’t need to be concerned since they’re easily prevented.

If you can correct some of your habits in managing your plant , or by adapting to constantly changing conditions in the environment You’ll soon be able to experiment with these factors.

Find a Good Location

You’ll be able to save lots of time when you’ve found the perfect location for the bird’s-nest fern. Find one that is an excellent source of light, but one that is shaded too. It must have high humidity and excellent air circulation.

Guard Your Fern from Negative conditions

Shade the area when it can be too intense. Offer insulation in the event that temperatures drop abruptly. Sprinkle around when the humidity drops to a low level.

These are the things you have to take care of from time to the time to assist your fern adapt to extreme changes in the environmental.

Water the Right Way

Make sure you use high-quality water for your plants, and use rainwater when feasible. Sprinkle water evenly and consistently. Alter the frequency of watering based on the time of year.

Don’t Forget to Check the Roots

The majority of the signs that you notice on the stems and leaves indicate an issue in the soil.

The only way for you to find out is by digging into the soil and then removing the plant from its pot.

In this way you’ll have a clear idea of whether the root of your plant are healthy or not.

Begin with a Great Potting Mix

It is impossible to ignore the importance of choosing the correct mix for a substrate for your fern. The potting area is the place for the root. Roots play a crucial function in the delivery of water and nutrients.

Regulate Fertilizer Use

It’s true that fertilizer isn’t the sole solution to your problems with your Fern plant.

Be sure to know when you should apply the fertilizer, how to do it and the amount of fertilizer you should give. If you don’t, you’ll end up ruining your plant.

Other Problems of Birds’ Nest Fern

Apart from the brown leaf suggestions, there are a few issues you should be aware of within your bird’s nest fern. This includes:

Crinkled Fronds

It is a physiological issue that may be the result of excessive light or extremely strong intensity of light. To conserve water, the leaves curled into the direction of the sun.

Bacterial Blight (Pseudomonas Cichorii or P. gladioli)

This is a bacterial issue result of Pseudomonas Cichorii, or P. gladioli. They cause lesions on leaves that look like translucent water-soaked spots or indentation. The lesions you see will increase or shrink over time.

Pale, Yellowish Leaves

If this happens it means that your fern is receiving too much sunlight. The fern will change to dark shiny green if you place it in shade. Be sure to keep it out of the direct light.


The wilting of the fern is caused by the fern’s water level or excessive overwatering. Plants that are underwatered will appear crisp upon contact, whereas those that are overwatered will become soft. The fronds can also change color when the water flow is overflowing.

It’s easy to misinterpret the brown spots on bird’s nest for a minor issue but it’s not. To avoid having to deal with bigger issues be aware of these three points:

  1. Be aware of these warning indicators. Be aware of them prior to it’s time for you to be aware.
  2. Prevention is better than treatment. Provide the best growing conditions for your plant from the first day until the present.
  3. Don’t panic. Remember you have solutions available for the issues you face when dealing with your fern’s bird’s nest.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)