I have an Australian Tree Fern and its leaves are starting to turn 'crispy' at the tips. One branch looks like it's been burnt almost.

Can anyone tell me why?

  • 2
    It sounds like your plant is too dry, or the humidity is too low. Please describe your climate, soil, watering schedule, and recent weather. Pictures will also help a lot. Thanks!
    – J. Musser
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:58
  • Also could you please advise where you are - northern or Southern Hemisphere? Depending on the season and species, the behaviour you have written about can help explain the condition of your plant. Dec 2, 2017 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


I've checked where you are, and having watched CBN (or is it CNN) news last night, it seems you're having exceptionally hot weather at the moment. If your tree fern is exposed to any sun at all, specially the frond tips, that would explain what's happening - it's frazzling in strong sun. Otherwise, it's probably just the excessive heat. Not sure whether it's lack of humidity, the report I watched seemed to be saying it was not only hot, but humid, but keep it well watered and mist the trunk and fronds, try to give extra shade for any parts exposed to sunlight.

The other cause of frazzled fronds is excessive wind.

  • Thanks for the answer. It's actually an indoor plant right now. Anyway, it is pretty dry in my office where the plant is, so I took yours and jmusser's advice and gave it a bit more water. It's already doing better. Thanks
    – rainkinz
    Jun 20, 2014 at 3:44

One more idea since learning this is an indoor plant, how long has this fern been in the same pot, same soil? Are you watering with tap water? Is your tap water softened? Is there white crust on top of the soil? If it is in a clay pot, is there white crusting on the outside of the pot?

The main indicator of high salt in the soil is browning of the tips of leaves. If this is the problem, you need to get fresh potting soil and repot this plant. Use distilled water to water this fern.

  • Thanks. That definitely could be part of the issue. Will repot and check out the water.
    – rainkinz
    Jun 30, 2014 at 13:45
  • Sorry, to answer your question. It's in the original pot and I have been using tap water. There is a little white crusting! Will definitely start giving it filtered water.
    – rainkinz
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:13
  • 1
    You need to transplant it into new soil, maybe a new pot a few inches bigger?
    – stormy
    Jun 30, 2014 at 18:08
  • Yeah, definitely going to get a bigger pot for it and new soil. Thanks again
    – rainkinz
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:41
  • 1
    Look for Dr. Earth or similar. Potting soil with Mychorrhizae and bacteria to infuse this sterilized soil with life. What are you using for fertilizer? To be safe, use Osmocote, extended release fertilizer. Otherwise you could get a soil test and use organic fertilizers. A good one for a fern would be fish emulsion. This is a very light fertilizer. Science doesn't know why but plants seem to be more hardy when they get this stuff once in a while. For humidity, put a big pot of water on the stove and simmer. This is the best way to get humidity in your air for plants.
    – stormy
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:55

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