Lemon Button Fern Is dying! Solution

So your lemon button fern is dying, and you want to save it. I’m glad you are reading this article because I will discuss why is your lemon button fern dying and what you should in order to save it.

But before diving deep into the details I will put the answer for our main question as simple as this: why is my lemon button fern dying? Lemon button fern can suffer and eventually die because of either overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, pests infections, chemicals, lack of humidity, or cold weather.

Keep reading to know the exact reason behind your fern’s suffering in order to take the right action.

Reasons behind lemon button fern death


Overwatering is the number one reason behind the death of lemon button ferns. The right watering practice for a lemon button fern is the one that allows the top inch of the soil to dry between the waterings.

Reassess your watering schedule, if you have been watering your lemon button fern too often without allowing the top inch of the soil to dry between watering most probably your fern is suffering because of overwatering.

Also, in the overwatering scenario, the fern’s leaves will turn yellow and fall. If this is the case the odds of plant recovery are not high.

Anyway, pull the root ball from the pot gently and get rid of the soil that is attached to the roots as much as you can.

The rotted roots will look black and feel mushy, cut those roots. Then dust the healthy roots with fungicide.

After that repot your plant in new soil, use soil that has good drainage properties.

Also, trim some stems from your plant in order to let your fern focus its energy on the growth of the roots.

If the root rot is not severe and there are enough healthy roots your plant will bounce bank through time.


Lemon button fern needs consistent moist but not soggy soil. Your plant will wilt and the leaves will feel crispy if it is not getting enough moisture.

A lemon button fern will not tolerate even a short period of drought. Reassess your watering schedule if it allows the soil to dries completely between waterings, most probably your fern is dying because of underwatering.

Don’t worry underwatering is way better than overwatering. Your lemon button fern will recover easily.

Although the crispy and wilted leaves may not recover. You can cut those leaves.

Water your fern until the water drains from the drainage holes. After all excessive water drained you can put the pot in its decorative container.

And water your fern this way whenever the top inch of the soil is dry. Your plant will bounce back over few weeks.

Lak of humidity

Lemon button fern is native to the rainforest, where there is high humidity and high temperatures.

Although lemon button fern is not demanding in terms of humidity, unlike other ferns. Actually, it will survive in average home humidity (40% – 50%).

But your lemon fern may be exposed to the dry air coming from the heating device. Such a thing may cause your plant to wilt and drop its leaves.

Also, if your fern is exposed to dry winter drafts it can show similar symptoms.

In such a case move your plant from cold dry drafts and the heating systems. You can move it to the bathroom, the most humid room in your home.

Or you can install a humidifier, not only your lemon button fern will love you for it but most of your other houseplants will do. Because most houseplants are native to the rainforests.

Misting your lemon button fern is also great because it increases the humidity level around your fern.

Inappropriate light

Lemon button fern will thrive in bright indirect sunlight. Although it will tolerate low light but not complete darkness. Also, direct sunlight will scorch the fern’s leaves.

On one hand, If your lemon button fern is located in a location that gets direct sunlight throughout the day most probably your plant is dying because of such light.

Simply move your plant away from such direct sunlight and your fern will bounce back. Although the burned leaves will not recover, you can cut them.

On the other hand, if your plant is located in deep low light or complete darkness the leaves may wilt and drop. Just move your fern to a brighter spot and it will bounce back within weeks.

Cold temperatures

A lemon button fern will thrive in temperatures between 65 F and 85 F. And it will die in temperatures below 40 F.

So if you growing your lemon button fern outdoors and the temperature hit such a mark most probably your lemon button fern is dying because of cold.

In such a case move your fern indoors. But before moving it clean the foliage with alcohol in order to kill any pests in order to not infect your other houseplants.


IF you don’t relate to all the above reasons, most probably your fern is suffering because of chemicals accumulated in the soil.

Tap water contains treated chemicals that accumulated in the soil as minerals through time. Those chemicals hinder the roots from absorbing the necessary nutrients.

If this is the case put the pot under the sink and let the water drains from the drainage holes for 3 minutes. By doing so the accumulated minerals will be flushed out.

Avoid watering your lemon button fern with tap water. Instead, use rainwater. You can collect rain water during the autumn season. Then use it throughout the year.

But if you currently don’t have rainwater use filtered water it is great too. In case you do not have access to both rainwater and filtered water you can use tap water after you process it.

You process tap water by letting it set in an open container overnight in order for some chemicals to be lost in the air.

Pests infections

Your lemon button fern may be dying because of pests infections. Simply, take a good look at the plant foliage and stem if you found any trace of bugs or other pests cut all the affected leaves.

Then clean the foliage with alcohol, soap water, or neem oil. After you do so move your fern to a brighter spot because insects love low light.

In conclusion

In this article, I hope I told you why your lemon button fern is dying. There is more than one reason that can lead to your fern death. Your job is to know the exact reason in order to take the right action. Finally, potted plants need special care so you don’t reach the point where your plant is dying, this is why I wrote the book Container Gardening: A Step-by-Step Practical Guide. Get your copy today through this link.

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