I bought a Japanese painted fern several weeks ago. It was on the store's "reduced price" shelf, so it wasn't in perfect shape, but I figured I could try to nurse it back to health.
So far, though, it seems to be struggling. All but one of the original fronts have died off. It does have five new fronds emerging, two of which are nearly 6" long at this point, but now one of those seems to be starting to fade as well, only about a week after emerging.
The environment the plant's been living in thus far is as follows:
- I live in an apartment with only north-facing windows. It's been positioned about 6-8 feet from a north-facing window.
- When I got the plant, I moved it into a very generic orange clay pot, with a 50/50 perlite / peat moss mix.
- I've been watering the plant until water just barely starts to drain from the bottom every five days. I do dump any excess water out of the saucer, so it hasn't just been sitting in there.
- It's being grown indoors, so the temperature has been between 73 and 78 degrees (F) the entire time it's been with me. I have made sure not to position it near any central air vents.
- The area I live in is (relatively speaking) quite dry. According to some weather statistics online, the average relative afternoon humidity in August is only 23%.
Here's a picture of my plant:
Over the past several weeks, I've tried moving the plant closer or farther away from the window, as well as watering it a bit more or less frequently, but nothing seems to change the fact that it's slowly fading away.
I have read that this type of fern is deciduous, so I wasn't too worried about the old fronds dying, but now that the new ones are having trouble as well I'm wondering what I need to change in order to make my plant thrive.