Why Is My Fern Drooping? Causes and Solutions Explained

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Sharing is caring!

Houseplants like ferns can bring a touch of nature into our homes and improve the overall ambiance of our living spaces. However, it can be alarming to see your once lush and thriving fern begin to droop and decline in health. If you’re wondering, “Why is my fern drooping?”, you’re not alone, and this article aims to address the common causes and solutions for this issue.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that can lead to a drooping fern, and how to identify which of these may be affecting your plant. Whether it’s inadequate watering, lighting conditions, humidity levels, or nutritional needs, we’ll provide you with the information necessary to help your fern regain its initial vibrancy and restore its vitality.

Common Causes of Fern Drooping


One of the primary reasons for ferns drooping is under-watering. Ferns need consistent moisture to thrive, and not providing enough water can cause their fronds to become limp and eventually drop off. It is essential to monitor soil moisture and water the fern regularly to maintain a healthy plant. Signs of under-watering include crispy, brown leaf tips, and wilted fronds. Adjust your watering habits as needed to help your fern recover from this issue.


While proper watering is essential, over-watering can also be detrimental to your fern. Excess water can lead to root rot, causing yellowing or droopy fronds. To prevent over-watering, ensure proper drainage in the pot and avoid letting the plant sit in standing water. Check the soil moisture levels before watering, and adjust your schedule as needed to help your fern regain its natural beauty.

Lack of Humidity

Ferns thrive in humid environments, and lack of humidity can contribute to drooping fronds. Dry indoor air, especially during the heating season, can cause the fern’s fronds to dry out and become limp. To improve humidity, consider placing a tray of water near the plant, misting the fern, or using a humidifier to maintain the desired humidity levels.

Inadequate Light

Another factor contributing to fern drooping is inadequate light. Ferns generally do best in indirect, filtered light. Direct sunlight can scorch the fronds, resulting in yellow, droopy leaves, while too little light can lead to weak, leggy growth. Ensure your fern is placed in a location that receives the appropriate amount of light, and consider rotating the plant periodically to ensure even light exposure.

Pest and Disease Issues

Fungal Diseases

One of the reasons your fern may be drooping is due to fungal diseases. Root rot and various types of airborne blight can cause damage to the fern, leading to drooping leaves (source). To address this issue, make sure you’re providing proper care to your fern, including the right balance of light, moisture, and temperature.

Pest Infestation

Another potential cause of drooping in ferns is pest infestation. Pests like aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs are common invaders in houseplants, including ferns (source). These pests not only feed on the foliage of the fern, causing damage but can also introduce disease, leading to drooping.

  • How to spot pests: Look for small insects crawling on your fern’s leaves, or signs of their presence like honeydew, a sticky substance produced by pests.
  • Treatment options: Treat the fern with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other eco-friendly pesticides to combat the pests and prevent further infestation.
  • Preventive measures: Regularly inspect your fern and remove any affected leaves as soon as you spot problems. Keep the area around the plant clean to discourage pests from settling in.

It’s important to address both fungal diseases and pest infestations promptly to help your fern regain its health and prevent further drooping.

Reviving Drooping Ferns

Adjust Watering Practices

Drooping ferns can be a result of improper watering. The right balance is essential as both over-watering and under-watering can cause the fronds to droop. Ensure that the soil remains consistently moist, but not soggy. Observe your fern’s condition and make adjustments accordingly to improve its health.source

Increase Humidity

Ferns thrive in humid environments. To create a favorable atmosphere, place a tray filled with water and pebbles under the fern’s pot, ensuring that the pot doesn’t sit in the water. You can also group your fern with other humidity-loving plants or use a humidifier to maintain the moisture level in the surrounding air.source

Modify Light Exposure

While ferns prefer indirect sunlight, they still need a certain level of light to grow properly. Excessive direct sunlight can lead to drooping fronds. To revive a drooping fern, move it to a location with bright, indirect light, ensuring it receives adequate but diffused sunlight.source

Treat Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can also contribute to a fern’s drooping condition. Inspect the fern carefully for signs of infestation and treat issues like scales or mealy bugs with insecticidal soap. If you notice signs of fungal infection, such as discolored fronds, remove the affected parts, and apply an appropriate fungicide to prevent further spread.source

Section 5: Preventive Measures

Proper Potting and Soil

To ensure the health of your fern and prevent drooping, it is essential to start with the right potting and soil mix. Choose a pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot. Use a well-draining soil mix, rich in organic matter, which retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. A blend of peat moss, perlite, and compost can provide the perfect balance for your fern’s growth.

Regular Maintenance

Maintenance plays a crucial role in keeping your fern healthy and preventing drooping leaves.

  • Watering: Water your fern thoroughly when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Be careful not to overwater or underwater, as both can cause drooping.
  • Pruning: Regularly remove any dead or yellowing leaves to encourage new growth and prevent disease.
  • Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season to provide essential nutrients. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to droopy leaves and other issues. (source)

Monitoring Environmental Factors

Pay close attention to the environment in which your fern is growing, as this can greatly impact its health and prevent drooping.

  1. Humidity: Ferns thrive in humid conditions. Maintain a humidity level of around 50% or higher around your plant. You can use a humidifier or place a tray of water filled with pebbles near the plant to help increase humidity. (source)
  2. Temperature: Most ferns thrive in temperatures between 65-75°F(18-24°C). Avoid placing your fern near drafts, heating vents, or air conditioning, as fluctuations in temperature can cause stress and drooping. (source)
  3. Light: Provide your fern with bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to droop, while too little light can result in weak, leggy growth.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can create an optimal environment for your fern and minimize the chances of experiencing drooping leaves.


Drooping ferns can be attributed to a variety of factors that can impact their growth and vitality. One common cause is improper watering, particularly underwatering or overwatering. Ensuring a consistent and appropriate watering schedule can help mitigate this issue (GardenTabs, FoliageFriend).

Another potential issue is inadequate lighting. Providing ferns with appropriate lighting conditions not only benefits their growth but may contribute to reducing the chances of drooping (FoliageFriend). Overfertilization can also cause ferns to droop, and monitoring fertilizer usage can prevent overloading the plant with nutrients.

Finally, humidity can play a significant role in fern drooping. Maintaining optimal humidity levels can help keep ferns healthy and perky (Gardener Report).

In summary, proper care and attention to various factors such as watering, lighting, fertilization, and humidity will better ensure the health of your fern and prevent drooping.

If you would want to learn more about the reasons why your plant is drooping, we advise that you view this video.