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Suzi Wong Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) heading for problems.

Ask the Expert: about Suzi Wong ferns

My Suzy Wong fern is getting brown and dry around the edges and bottom. It hasn’t had any new growth in quite a while and I really think it’s just slowly dying. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but it seems some fruit flies, or tiny little flies of some sort have taken up residence in the soil. Also, I keep the soil moist, and it sits in indirect light. Can you help? THANK YOU!


  1. Cary,

    Usually a water stress issue is the cause of browning on a Suzi Wong Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata).
    First make sure the roots are not waterlogged or dry both of these conditions can cause browning.
    Also ferns such as these like some humidity. If your air is dry, browning can also occur. Mist the air around the plant or place the fern in a bathroom every so often (the humidity from the shower is great for ferns).

    In the spring and summer be sure to lightly fertilize your fern — lack of fertilizer maybe the reason it hasn’t had new growth.

    Harsh water — water with too much chlorine or other chemicals can also cause browning. Letting water set for up to 24 hours in an open container will allow some of the chlorine to evaporate.

    Spider mites are the only insect I know that causes problems with this type of fern. If you feel the flies are a problem repot your fern.

  2. I ask the lady at a local nursery the best mix for repotting my Suzy Wong plants, she suggested a mix of 2>1 premium potting mix and the five in one mix, as of now they are almost dead, what mix can I use to try and save them please,