Why Is My Bird’s Nest Fern Drooping: Causes and Solutions

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If you’ve noticed your bird’s nest fern drooping, you’re likely concerned and wondering what might be causing this change in its appearance. The bird’s nest fern is a popular houseplant, known for its unique, flat fronds that bring to mind a seaweed plant or, as its name suggests, a bird’s nest. Maintaining the health and vigor of this plant can be a bit challenging, especially for those new to caring for ferns.

In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind a drooping bird’s nest fern, offering insight into factors that may be affecting its growth and appearance. From light conditions to watering habits, several elements can contribute to a drooping fern. Armed with the information in this article, you’ll be better equipped to identify the cause of the problem and take appropriate steps to help your fern thrive again.

Symptoms of a Drooping Bird’s Nest Fern

When a Bird’s Nest Fern experiences drooping, it can be due to a variety of reasons. These include insufficient light, incorrect watering, or pest issues. The following symptoms can help you identify if your fern is drooping and needs attention:

  • Fronds losing structure: Healthy ferns have upright and firm fronds. If you notice that the fronds are losing their structure, becoming soft, or bending downwards, it’s an indication of drooping.
  • Brown spots on fronds: If brown spots appear on either the crown (rosette) or fronds, it can be a sign that the plant is suffering from bacterial or fungal leaf spot diseases, causing drooping (Garden For Indoor).
  • Wilting leaves: Bird’s Nest Fern leaves may curl and wilt if the plant is overwatered or underwatered (Leon and George). Consistently check the soil moisture to ensure the plant is getting appropriate water.
  • Foliage discoloration: When a fern is exposed to excessive sunlight or lack of light, the fronds may experience discoloration. This can make the plant look droopy (Remodel Or Move).
  • Pest infestation: Common pests like scale, spider mites, and mealybugs can cause damage to the fern and lead to drooping (Petal Republic). Inspect your plant regularly for signs of pests and treat them promptly.

Knowing the symptoms of drooping in Bird’s Nest Ferns will allow you to quickly take action to address the issue and help your plant thrive.

Common Causes of Drooping

Watering Issues

One possible reason for a drooping bird’s nest fern is improper watering. This plant prefers consistently moist soil but not wet or waterlogged conditions. When overwatered, leaves may turn yellow, wilt, and eventually droop, especially among the lower fronds (source). To prevent root rot and drooping, it is crucial to have a well-draining container and avoid letting your plant sit in water for long periods. Allow the soil to partially dry before re-watering.

Light Requirements

Another cause for drooping leaves in bird’s nest ferns is inadequate lighting. This plant thrives in bright, indirect light, and exposure to direct sunlight may lead to scorched leaves and drooping. On the other hand, too little light might result in poor growth and drooping leaves as well (source). To provide proper light for your fern, place it near a window with filtered light or use artificial lighting to supplement natural light.

Temperature and Humidity

Bird’s nest ferns are sensitive to their environment, and temperature and humidity play an essential role in preventing drooping leaves. Ideal temperature conditions range between 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C), and sudden changes in temperature may cause stress, leading to drooping leaves.

Humidity is another crucial factor to consider, as bird’s nest ferns prefer higher humidity levels. Low humidity can result in dry, drooping leaves. To maintain adequate humidity, mist your fern regularly, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray with water to create a more humid microclimate around the plant (source).

Preventing Future Drooping

In this section, we’ll discuss some preventive measures you can take to avoid drooping of your bird’s nest fern in the future. The key aspects to focus on are proper watering techniques, finding the right light conditions, and maintaining ideal temperature and humidity.

Proper Watering Techniques

When watering your bird’s nest fern, it’s crucial to strike a balance between keeping the soil consistently moist but not drenched. Overwatering can lead to root rot and wilting leaves, while underwatering can cause the fern to droop. Some tips for proper watering are:

  • Water your fern thoroughly when the top inch of the soil becomes dry.
  • Use a well-draining potting mix to prevent waterlogged soil.
  • Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water by using a saucer to catch excess water.

Finding the Right Light Conditions

Bird’s nest ferns need suitable light conditions for healthy growth. Bright, indirect light is ideal for these plants, as direct sunlight can cause the delicate fronds to burn and droop. To ensure your fern gets the right amount of light:

  • Place your fern in a spot with bright, indirect light, such as near a north or east-facing window.
  • Avoid placing your fern in direct sunlight or extreme shade.
  • If necessary, supplement natural light with grow lights to maintain consistent light conditions.

Maintaining Ideal Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity play a vital role in keeping a bird’s nest fern healthy and preventing drooping. The best temperature range for these plants is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to humidity, aim for at least 50%. Here’s what you can do to maintain the ideal conditions:

  • Keep your fern away from vents, radiators, or drafts that can cause temperature fluctuations.
  • Use a humidifier to increase indoor humidity or place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water.
  • Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels around your fern and adjust as needed.

Reviving a Drooping Bird’s Nest Fern

One common issue with bird’s nest ferns is drooping, which can be caused by various factors such as overwatering, underwatering, or pest infestations. To help revive your drooping bird’s nest fern, follow these steps:

1. Assess the watering schedule:
Bird’s nest ferns prefer consistent moisture without being drenched. If the soil’s top inch starts drying out, it’s time to water the plant. Make sure to water the soil directly, avoiding the plant’s center to prevent mold growth. Adjust your watering habits based on your plant’s needs.

2. Check for pests:
Pest infestations can cause drooping leaves. Watch for red spider mites or scale insects, which are common pests for bird’s nest ferns. You can wash down the plant with mild soapy water and a soft cloth or use insecticidal soaps and oils if the infestation is severe.

3. Improve humidity levels:
Bird’s nest ferns thrive in high-humidity environments. If your fern is drooping, it may be a sign that it needs more humid conditions. Increase humidity by misting the plant regularly, using a humidifier, or placing the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles to create a moist microclimate.

4. Ensure proper lighting:
These ferns prefer filtered, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause leaves to droop and eventually turn brown. If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight, move it to a shadier location to encourage recovery.

5. Inspect the roots and repot if necessary:
Root rot caused by overwatering can lead to drooping leaves. In this case, remove your bird’s nest fern from its pot, rinse off the soil from the roots, and repot it in fresh soil. Take this opportunity to prune away any damaged or rotting roots before repotting.

By implementing these changes, your bird’s nest fern should regain its vitality and no longer experience drooping leaves.


A droopy bird’s nest fern can be a result of various factors. To maintain a healthy fern, one must consider proper lighting, humidity, and potential pest or disease issues.

Maintaining an environment with bright, indirect light is key to ensuring your fern thrives. Direct sunlight can burn and damage the fronds, causing them to droop. Check your plant’s location and adjust as necessary to provide optimal lighting conditions.

Humidity is another important aspect of the bird’s nest fern. High humidity allows for longer frond growth and can prevent issues such as yellow leaves, brown tips, and stunted growth. Consider utilizing a humidity tray or humidifier to achieve the desired humidity levels for your fern.

Lastly, inspect your plant for any signs of pest infestations or diseases. Aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects can negatively impact your fern’s health. Similarly, a bird’s nest fern can be affected by bacterial or fungal leaf spot diseases, causing brown areas on the fronds.

In short, to prevent a drooping bird’s nest fern, be attentive to its lighting, humidity, and potential pest or disease issues. By addressing these factors, you can help your fern maintain its healthy, vibrant appearance. We encourage watching this video if you want to learn more about the causes of your plant’s drooping.