I have a discolored Macho fern because I did not realize the pot I had it planted in did not have a hole for the water to exit; therefore, the fern has suddenly began to look unhealthy and discolored. I have put a hole in the bottom of the pot, what else should I do to make it healthy and green again?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Jon: Too much water can be very harmful to plants, this is why drainage holes are essential with any container plant. So you did the right thing by creating drainage in your container. The fern is obviously not happy about all the moisture; it is common to see discolored foliage on water-logged plants. Make sure to let the soil dry out before watering at all. As long as the roots have not rotted the fern should recover. If the roots are soft and mushy with a foul smell you should toss it, but if they are firm with vigor then this is good. As for nutrients: if you have not added any recently it might not be a bad idea. Nitrogen would be the most important in your case since it helps the plant to produce chlorophyll. This will promote darker green foliage and new growth. Any fertilizer with a higher nitrogen percentage will be beneficial but a well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 will work as well. Adding nutrients and letting the soil dry out should be the focus at this point. This would be a good time to cut out any dead foliage. Not knowing how stressed your fern is it is hard to say if it will recover or how long it will take. If it continues to decline it may be too far gone, but hopefully it will start to perk up soon.