Why Is My Boston Fern Drooping: Common Causes and Solutions

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Are you noticing the leaves of your Boston fern starting to droop and wonder what might be causing this issue? Fear not, as this article will delve into the various factors that can lead to drooping leaves in these popular houseplants.

By understanding the possible causes and learning how to address them, you can improve the health of your Boston fern and enjoy its lush foliage once more. From watering habits to environmental changes, the information provided will guide you in identifying and resolving the problem at hand.

Identifying Boston Fern Drooping

Healthy Boston Fern Appearance

A healthy Boston fern exhibits vibrant green fronds that are full and lush. The leaves extend outward in a graceful arch, and the plant overall maintains a balanced shape. The soil should be consistently moist, but not overly saturated, and the fern should be kept in an environment with humidity levels above 50% for optimal growth.

Signs of Drooping

There are several signs that your Boston fern may be experiencing drooping, which can be caused by several factors. Here are some key indicators:

  • Yellowing fronds: When the lower fronds of a Boston fern begin to turn yellow, it could indicate a problem with watering, either underwatering or overwatering.
  • Limp leaves: If the fronds and leaves appear limp and drooping, it may be a sign that the fern is not receiving adequate water, or the humidity levels are too low.
  • Frond tip browning: When the tips of the fronds turn brown, it could suggest that the plant is not being cared for properly, which may include issues such as insufficient humidity or improper watering practices.
  • Leaf drop: If your Boston fern is shedding leaves excessively, it could be a response to stress such as a sudden change in the environment or poor care conditions, like inadequate watering or lack of humidity.

By carefully observing your Boston fern and understanding the difference between its healthy appearance and signs of drooping, you will be better equipped to identify the problem and take the necessary steps to address the issues negatively impacting your plant.

Common Causes of Boston Fern Drooping

Improper Watering

One of the main reasons for Boston ferns drooping is improper watering. These plants require consistent moisture to remain healthy. Under-watering can lead to the leaves turning gray and wilting, while over-watering can cause root rot. To maintain proper moisture levels, it’s important to water the fern regularly without getting the soil excessively wet1.

Insufficient Humidity

Another cause of drooping in Boston ferns is insufficient humidity2. These plants thrive in tropical rainforest environments with high humidity. When grown indoors or in areas with low humidity, the fern may experience stress and start to droop. To increase humidity levels, place a tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the plant, or use a humidifier.

Inadequate Lighting

Boston ferns require bright, indirect light for optimal growth. Inadequate lighting can lead to weak, drooping fronds3. Ensure the fern is placed near a bright window but not in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. If natural light is limited, consider using artificial lighting such as grow lights.

Extreme Temperatures

Temperature changes can also cause Boston ferns to droop. Extremely hot or cold temperatures are not suitable for these plants, with ideal temperatures ranging between 65-75°F (18-24°C)1. Exposure to temperatures below 40°F (4°C) can damage the plant’s cells and result in drooping leaves1. To avoid temperature stress, keep the fern away from sources such as heating vents, air conditioners, and drafty windows.

Section 4: How to Revive a Drooping Boston Fern

Adjusting Watering Habits

One of the primary reasons Boston ferns droop is improper watering. To revive your fern, ensure the soil is moist but not soggy. Water the plant only when the soil starts to become dry. You can check the soil moisture using your fingers or a moisture meter.

Increasing Humidity Levels

Boston ferns thrive in high humidity. If your fern is drooping due to a lack of humidity, try placing it on a tray filled with pebbles and water, or use a humidifier in the room. You can also regularly mist the plant with water to increase humidity around the leaves.

Optimizing Light Conditions

Inadequate lighting can cause your fern to droop. Position your Boston fern in a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or areas with very low light. Ideally, your fern should receive at least a few hours of indirect light each day.

Temperature Control

Temperature stress can cause drooping leaves in Boston ferns. Ensure that the temperature remains consistently between 65°F and 75°F (18°C and 24°C) as they are sensitive to temperature changes. Avoid placing your fern near heat sources, air conditioning vents, or cold drafts.


Underfertilization or overfertilization can lead to droopy leaves in Boston ferns. To help your fern recover, fertilize it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Remember to follow the recommended dosage on the fertilizer package to avoid overfertilization.


Pruning your Boston fern can promote new growth and help it regain its vitality. Start by removing dead or yellow leaves, and then trim back any overly long or sparse fronds. This will redirect energy to healthier parts of the plant and encourage a more lush and vibrant appearance.

Preventing Future Drooping

To prevent your Boston fern from drooping in the future, it’s crucial to address the factors that may cause this issue. By ensuring proper care, you can maintain the health and vitality of your fern.

Here are some key steps to take:

  • Watering: Balance is important when watering your fern. Avoid both underwatering and overwatering by watering it thoroughly until you see the water flow out of the drainage hole. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soaked. To prevent excessive dryness, consider a regular watering schedule. (source)
  • Lighting: Provide your fern with adequate lighting. Position it in a spot with bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight may scorch the fronds, so avoid excessive exposure to direct sun. (source)
  • Fertilization: Be mindful of your fern’s fertilization. Avoid overfertilizing and under-fertilizing by using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength during the growing season. During winter, reduce the frequency of fertilization to avoid stressing the plant.(source)
  • Humidity: Boston ferns thrive in a humid environment. Try placing a humidifier near the plant or set the fern on a tray filled with water and pebbles. Regularly misting your fern and keeping the room well-ventilated can also help to maintain proper humidity. (source)
  • Temperature: Keep your fern in a room with a temperature between 65-75°F (18-24°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night. Avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations or drafts.(source)

By implementing these best practices, you can prevent your Boston fern from drooping and keep it looking lush and healthy.


In summary, Boston fern drooping can be attributed to various factors such as underwatering, overwatering, inadequate lighting, overfertilization, under-fertilization, lack of humidity, and temperature stress. (Simplify Plants)

To prevent drooping, it is essential to regularly monitor your fern’s needs and adjust its care accordingly. Proper watering, adequate lighting, and balanced fertilization are important aspects to consider. Additionally, maintaining a humid environment and ensuring that the temperature remains within the appropriate range can also help in keeping your Boston fern healthy.

Remember to:

  • Water your Boston fern when the soil is slightly dry to touch, and never let it sit in standing water.
  • Provide bright, indirect light for your fern to thrive.
  • Ensure that you’re not overfertilizing or under-fertilizing your Boston fern. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  • Maintain a humid environment for your fern by regularly misting or placing it in a room with high humidity levels.
  • Keep your Boston fern away from extreme temperature changes or drafts.


Implementing these measures will help keep your Boston fern healthy and prevent its leaves from drooping. With proper care, your fern can grow lush and vibrant, adding a touch of nature to your indoor space.  We advise watching this video for additional information on why your plant is drooping.