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Why Are My Boston Ferns Turning Brown? (3 Crushing Reasons!)

Ferns are among the most fascinating and attractive plants to be found on earth.

They are not only used for decoration purposes, but they also provide health benefits. For many years, Boston ferns have been used as a healer, soother, air purifier, and anti-toxicant.

The repercussions of ferns turning brown can harm the plant.

So going through the dilemma of why are my Boston ferns turning brown wrecks any plant owner emotionally.

Any optimistic plant parent finds it distressing to wonder why are my Boston ferns turning brownor end up losing their color.

Leaves of Boston fern—why are my Boston ferns turning brown
Why are my Boston ferns turning brown? – Image via Reddit.

Don’t worry; your annoyance won’t last long since today’s article will explain everything regarding the topic to make your home gardening more progressive!

Why Are My Boston Ferns Turning Brown?

Here’s a list of the most common reasons for Boston ferns turning brown.

Over Watering or Inadequate Drainage

Watering and misting are very crucial in the early growing stages of any seed, as they are in the process of continuous development.

However, fully grown Boston ferns can survive seven days without being watered. Overwatering is so harmful that it can kill any plant within seven days.

Boston ferns only survive longer when their soil is moist, and they receive adequate shade.

Giving plenty of water doesn’t mean to overwater ferns.

Daily watering and rainwater are sufficient for growth support, but what needs to be taken into account is the amount of water being fed to the soil, as overwatering and drainage problems cause ferns to lose their roots, resulting in ferns turning brown.

Yellowing of the Boston ferns is not a severe stage to overly worry about losing a fern. Not only this, but if there is a single green fern part, your fern is still alive and needs some attention.

The thing is that yellowing can be dealt with so much more ease than browning of the fern, as any fern turning brown means it’s dying.

Both drainage and overwatering are easy to resolve at the yellowing stage, but once the plant starts to get brown, there are thin chances of getting the fern back. As we said, you can still revive it even if a single fern is green!


Boston ferns are delicate plants and only need two hours of indirect sunlight to thrive.

Sunlight should always be indirect; otherwise, direct exposure will cause ferns to burn and will turn brown in a matter of days.

The fern’s leaves will burn if exposed to direct sunlight for more than two hours.

Since it is an indoor plant, you must be very careful about how much sunshine it receives at all times of the year.

In the spring and summer, you’ll want to ensure it’s just exposed to a quarter of the sunshine to avoid scorching.

You may also need to adjust the fern’s location as the sun’s position shifts with the seasons.

Fertilization and Excessive Salt in Soil

Fertilization is a procedure that must be repeated every twenty days, or the plants’ health and nutritional stamina will deteriorate.

This does not, however, imply that you need to add excess fertilizer to the soil.

Since the plant’s survival is vital, most individuals over-fertilize the ferns. Fertilization is only required when the plant lacks sufficient nutritional sources. Otherwise, excessive fertilization can burn the roots and turn the plant brown.

Salts begin to build upon the soil after excessive or continual fertilization. If not salt, the following symptoms appear:

  • Withering and falling of plant leaves
  • Sluggish or stunt growth
  • Leaf tips turn brown
  • Blackened roots
  • Root limps
  • Defoliation
  • Plant turns brown

These symptoms will take time to make overfertilization obvious, but knowing them would somehow aid you, as in most cases, people can’t detect excess fertilization.

Remedies to Avoid Boston Ferns Turning Brown

Those were the reasons that might have caused your Boston ferns to turn brown. Now, it’s time to look at the remedies to prevent such a problem in the first place.


Watering and irrigation schedules are pretty important. The amount of water you put in also affects the plant’s development.

Because Boston ferns are indoor plants, they may easily survive if you water them daily or on alternate days with enough water to moisten two to three inches of soil.

Checking the soil is the best way to water Boston ferns.

Using your fingers or a wooden probe, you can check the soil’s moisture levels. If the top 2–3 inches of the soil feel dry to touch, it’s time to water the plant.

Water the plant thoroughly and wait for the water to drain out of the drainage holes.

Make sure to let the soil dry in between waterings. Otherwise, waterlogged soil can cause problems such as root rot.


As the weather changes, you’ll need to ensure that your Boston ferns get the proper humidity levels.

This is something to be concerned about in winter and fall because the air is less humid throughout these two seasons, and frost kills plants during the winter.

However, because Boston ferns may be kept indoors, you can maintain the ideal humidity levels of 60–70%.

You may also add advanced humidification systems to help with this.


Because of the size of the plant, there is a chance that the fern container will have draining issues.

Thanks to their rich foliage, the roots of Boston ferns develop at a reasonable rate. So, most of the time, there’s a chance of the roots getting caught in the potholes.

Repotting ferns with at least two inches of free room for root development is always a good idea.

While repotting, make sure you are using the perfect potting mix for your ferns.

Change Soil

Overfertilization of the soil can only be remedied by changing the plant’s soil.

The longer the excess fertilizer remains in the soil, the lower the plant’s chances of survival are. Changing the soil will allow you to examine the roots and look for pests.

After changing the soil, avoid exposing the fern to direct sunlight to prevent transplant shock.

Ensure that the shade and irrigation schedules are correct. Twelve days after transplanting, add a small amount of fertilizer.

Green Boston fern plant—why are my Boston ferns turning brown?
Why are my Boston ferns turning brown? Once you keep all the above remedies in check, you’ll get a vibrant green Boston fern in no time! – Image via Inna.

Now, it’s time to conclude the talk!


Ultimately, the upkeep of a Boston fern is simple and enjoyable.

They always provide enormous returns after a little effort, compassion, and devotion. So, it’s always convenient to keep an eye on them because they’re indoor plants.

Why are my Boston ferns turning brown, you said? I hope you got the answer. Your problem will be much reduced if you utilize the solutions listed above!

If you find this article helpful, consider sharing it with someone in need. Also, feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

Happy planting!