Why is my Asparagus Fern dying? Causes and Treatments

Last Updated: August 26, 2022

There are few plants out there that look quite as stylish and cool as the Asparagus Fern but the thing that makes them stand out is also the thing that makes them so difficult to care for; their ultra-thin leaves. Because Asparagus Ferns are so delicate, even the slightest change in care or the environment can have devastating effects on your plant and there are quite a few different reasons why it might be dying. 

But don’t give up on your plant yet as below we go through each of the different reasons why an Asparagus Fern might be dying, as well as how to diagnose the problem, fix it and prevent it from happening again in future.

A dying Asparagus Fern can indicate too much sunlight

If there are yellow scorched patches across your plant, then your Fern might be dying due to too much direct light. Asparagus Ferns thrive in more medium light conditions and whilst they can tolerate indirect bright light, direct summer sunshine is too intense and will scorch the leaves.

Unfortunately, this is irreversible but you can prevent further scorching by moving your plant to a different spot in your home.

Overwatering can also cause your Asparagus Fern to start dying

If you notice that your dying Asparagus Fern is looking quite limp and yellow, then this could also be caused by overwatering. Asparagus Fern don’t need to be watered often, we go for once every 7-10 days in summer and even less in winter. They really don’t like having soggy soil as their leaves are so delicate so it’s best to ensure the soil dries out fully between waterings. 

The reason that overwatering is so harmful and could be the culprit behind your dying Asparagus Fern, is that it can very quickly lead to root rot Not only does it cause the leaves to turn yellow, but it will also mean that the plant is unable to take up water or nutrients, meaning your plant may begin to die pretty quickly. You can do this through the use of a moisture meter

If you think that you may have overwatered your Asparagus Fern and this is why it’s dying, check the soil moisture to confirm. You should also look at the root system as if the roots have started to rot, they will appear as dark brown/black in colour and will be soft to touch. 

It is best to replace any waterlogged soil straight away rather than just sit and wait for it to dry up over time. This prevents any more damage being done to your dying Asparagus Fern. 

To prevent the issue from reoccurring, cut back on either how much water you are giving each time, or how frequently you water. You also want to make sure to check the moisture in the soil before you water. You can do this using a moisture meter or the chopstick method.

You also want to think about how to best change your watering schedule throughout the year to prevent your Fern from dying of overwatering. Asparagus Ferns are dormant in winter so don’t be alarmed if there is not much growth happening. This also means that the amount of water needed dramatically decreases so it becomes a lot easier to accidentally overwater in these darker months.

Your Asparagus Fern may be dying due to underwatering

If your Asparagus Fern has really crispy leaves that are falling off your plant, then you may have been underwatering it for a while which is why it’s dying. Asparagus Ferns don’t like to have super soggy soil but will suffer if it is bone dry for extended periods of time. 

We always recommend a little but often approach to watering Asparagus Ferns. This ensures that it keeps the soil moist but not waterlogged. To see whether your Asparagus Fern is dying due to being underwatered, check the moisture levels in the soil and adjust your watering schedule moving forward. 

Low humidity levels could also be causing your Asparagus Fern to die

A humid environment is vital for a healthy Asparagus Fern and they can really struggle if your home has dry air. This happens during winter a lot more as the heating and lack of ventilation will lead to much drier air. Luckily there are a few easy things you can do to increase the humidity and prevent your Asparagus Fern from dying. 

  1. Mist the leaves.

    This is one of the easiest ways to increase the humidity for your dying Asparagus Fern. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves a few times a week and your Asparagus Fern will love you for it.

  2. Use a pebble tray.

    This requires a little DIY but it’s a great solution. Fill up a tray with small stones and fill it up halfway with water. Place your Asparagus Fern over the top and over the course of the day the water will evaporate under your plant. Always make sure the plant is not sitting in the water though as this will cause root rot.

  3. Proper placement.

    If you have good lighting in your kitchen or bathroom then we recommend moving your Asparagus Fern in there. The natural humidity from showering and cooking makes them a great spot for your plant and means you also don’t need to worry so much about the soil drying out. 

  4. Buy a humidifier for your Asparagus Fern.

    These affordable little devices keep the humidity in the room at a consistent level so are great for reviving dying Ferns and other plants. Some humidifiers even have built-in features that allow you to put it on a schedule or turn itself off once it has reached a specific humidity level in the room!

Those are the most common reasons why Asparagus Ferns begin dying. The number one thing to look at is moisture – either how much you are watering, how quickly your plant is drying out and whether there is enough humidity for it to thrive. Asparagus Ferns are difficult to care for so we don’t recommend them often to plant beginners or busy plant parents but the reward for the right care is worth it in the end! 

To learn more about how to care for your plant and stop it from dying in future, check out our Asparagus Fern care guide.

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