The bird’s nest fern the common name for Asplenium Nidus (As-ple-nium nidus) is an epiphytic fern species.
Despite harboring large glossy leaves, the Asplenium is a fern belonging to the Aspleniaceae family and Asplenium genus.
Native to southeast Asia, Malaysia, eastern Australia, and eastern tropical Africa, these plants enjoy and thrive well in tropical climates.
An interesting thing about the birds nest is that while it is epiphyte species, it can also survive as a terrestrial plant, growing in the land!
In its natural habitat growing in the rainforest on tree trunks, the glossy fronds work to form a funnel at the center to collect rainwater and other organic tidbits eventually turning into compost for the plant.
As an indoor plant, with its large leaves and popping green color, Bird’s Nest fern is the ideal plant to add a little color as well as a distinctive look to your house – even as a bathroom plant!
Birds Nest Fern Care
Size & Growth
Asplenium ferns enjoy the attention, and its effects can be physically seen.
Birds nest plant is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9-11.
With proper care, its light green leaves and dark brown or black midrib can grow to up to 2′ feet long or more with a width of around 6” – 8” inches.
Bird nest ferns grow in size from the new leaves constantly sprouting from the middle of the plant.
This eventually adds height and volume to the plant.
Asplenium bird’s nest is not the easiest of the plant to grow. It requires some maintenance.
However, with proper attention and the right growing conditions, this plant will produce spore-bearing leaves.
The leaves act as the heirs and can be used to increase the family of plants.
Flowering and Fragrance
Like all other species of fern, Asplenium does not produce flowers and does not have a fragrance.
Light & Temperature
Bird’s nest ferns are a demanding houseguest.
It is a huge fan of shade but indirect light and cannot tolerate direct sun.
In fact, it is best to keep it away from the windows.
However, these plants enjoy warm temperatures and cannot withstand cold drafts.
During the summer, the ideal temperature range for epiphytic Nidus fern is in the lower 70° degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, during the colder months of the years, maintain the temperature around the upper 60° degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity is another important factor.
These ferns require high humidity to thrive and flourish.
If needed, frequently mist the surrounding areas to make sure the atmosphere remains humid enough for the plant.
Watering and Feeding
Bird nest thrives on water and humidity.
It is advisable to water well, but never allow the bird nest to completely dry out.
The soil must remain moist at all times.
During the summer, it is best to water Asplenium weekly.
If outdoors plants may need more water.
As temperatures drop during the end of the year, reduce the frequency, water only when required.
Accompany watering with feeding. The rule of thumb is to feed bird’s nest with a balanced liquid fertilizer every third time it is watered.
This will ensure it receives all the nutrients required to thrive and flourish all around the year.
Keep in mind that while this houseplant loves water, it is important to avoid overwatering.
Make sure that the soil is not waterlogged. Also, any saucer beneath the pot should be drained regularly.
Soil & Transplanting
Coarse potting mix or soil with loads of organic material works best for these plants. Use organic matter like peat moss or leaf mold.
Since Birds nest grows up quickly, it should be repotted at least once every 2- 3 years.
However, it is advisable to transplant younger plants every year.
The best time to transplant or repot is during the spring.
Grooming and Maintenance
While grooming is not absolutely essential, it is a good practice to remove old, unattractive leaves.
Sometimes, the edges of the leaves can turn brown. When this happens, trim the edges or remove the leave if it does not add to the beauty of this handsome fern species.
Related Reading: Hart’s Tongue Fern Care the Birds Nest Cousin Asplenium Scolopendrium
How to Propagate Asplenium Bird’s Nest Fern
Propagating ferns is not an easy job and can be a challenge but fun.
Commercially most bird’s nest ferns are produced from tissue culture.
But many fern lovers grow new plants from spores.
If the plant is mature enough leaves bearing spores may appear on the underside.
Cut them off and dry them for about a week. Make sure the leaves are dry and the side harboring spores faces up so the spores don’t fall off.
Once the leaves are dry, crush them and sprinkle them over a layer moistened peat moss.
Whether you use a tray or a pot, once you have sprinkled the crushed leaves, water gently and cover the container with plastic or glass.
Place it in a warm spot to encourage growth.
Allow lots of indirect light but make sure it does not receive direct sunlight.
Also, it is essential that the soil does not dry out.
Keep in mind that Asplenium Nidus propagates slowly. After about a month, small sporelings may appear.
Leave them alone for a few months, allowing them to grow at their own pace.
Move the sporelings to individual pots, ensuring that the small ferns remain warm and have enough light.
The first real leaves will grow after about a month. With proper care, in just six months, you will have an entire collection of tiny ferns.
Bird Nest Fern Pest or Disease Problems
Asplenium is a fern susceptible to multiple problems. If the leaves of the plant are turning black, curling at the edges, maintain lower temperature and increase humidity.
This generally results from too much heat and lack of humidity.
Sometimes, brown or dark spots can appear on the leaves. This happens when the temperature is too cold or the fern is allowed to stand in cold drafts.
Again, try to maintain the appropriate temperature and move the plant away from the cold breeze.
Asplenium Nidus is also susceptible to scale insects that may cluster beneath the leaves.
The best approach is to use a toothpick to remove these insects as using an insecticide can harm the plant.
If the leaves start to lose their color, turning pale or white, the fern is probably not getting enough food.
It can happen if the plant receives too much light.
An easy way to tackle the problem is to move the plant to a shadier spot and add liquid fertilizer in the water.
Uses For Asplenium Ferns
The big glossy leaves make Asplenium Nidus an excellent indoor plant.
Moreover, it can be placed in darker rooms where many other plants are less likely to thrive.
Owing to its popping green color and large leaves, this plant looks attractive and can easily become the center of attention in any room or outdoors garden!