Asplenium nidus (bird's nest fern) is an epiphytic plant, meaning it grows on the surface of other plants. They can be seen growing high in the bends of trees in their rainforest habitat. They rise from a central rosette in a series of tall, spoon-shaped, bright green fronds. Although healthy plants can have fronds up to 5 feet long, fronds on bird's nest ferns cultivated as houseplants are normally only 2 feet long. The growth rate of these ferns is modest. They're best planted in the spring, but houseplants can be started any time of year.
Bird's Nest Fern Maintenance
Providing enough warmth, humidity, and moisture to a healthy bird's nest fern is crucial. One of the finest places to install a bird's nest fern as a houseplant is near a shower or tub in a bathroom, where it will receive maximum humidity and warmth, though it must also have a light source. The plant's core section, which resembles a bird's nest, will produce new leaves regularly. Do not touch, move, or manipulate the new, fragile fronds as they emerge from the center. They are exceedingly delicate, and if you touch them, you run the risk of damaging or deforming them.
In filtered sunlight to a modest amount of shade, bird's nest ferns thrive. Except for the extremely early morning sun, don't expose them to direct sunlight. Harsh direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Indoors, an east- or north-facing window is best.
These plants like soil that’s loose and rich in organic materials with great drainage. A peat-based potting mix is suitable for container plants.
The ferns prefer a consistent level of soil moisture, but they don’t do well languishing in soggy soil. When the top inch of soil is completely dry, water it. Avoid watering directly into the heart of the plant, as this might encourage mold growth and decay in the dense nest. Aim water at the dirt to prevent wetting the fern's fronds.
Temperature and Humidity
Warm temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the bird's nest fern's growth. It can handle temperatures down to 50 degrees, but anything colder than that can kill the plant, especially with continuous exposure. Indoors, make sure to protect your plant from cool breezes, such as air flowing from an air-conditioning vent.
This fern enjoys high humidity and moist conditions, such as a bathroom, greenhouse, or terrarium. To raise the humidity surrounding a bird’s nest fern, you can use a humidifier. Or you can lay its container on a tray loaded with rocks and water. However, be sure that the bottom of the container does not rest in the water because this can result in root rot in the plant.
During the fern's growing season (April to September), fertilize once a month using a balanced liquid fertilizer that's diluted to half strength. Make sure to apply the fertiliser to the soil rather than the fronds, since direct contact with the fertiliser can cause the foliage to become burnt. Withhold fertilizer for the rest of the year since too much food might cause the fronds to have an irregular form or take on a yellowish or brownish color.
Types of Bird's Nest Fern
Bird's nest ferns come in a small number of various types, each with its leaf shape. They are as follows:
- Asplenium nidus 'Crispy Wave' has ruffled sword-shaped leaves.
- Asplenium nidus 'Osaka': Leaves are narrow and strap-like, with wavy edges.
- Wavy leaf margins on Asplenium nidus 'Antiquum'
- Asplenium nidus 'Victoria': Fronds are long, wavy, and tongue-shaped.
- Bird's Nest Fern Propagation
Beginner gardeners may find it difficult to propagate bird's nest ferns. Many people prefer to buy nursery plants instead, but you can save money by propagating them yourself. Spores, which appear as fuzzy brown dots on the undersides of fronds, are used to spread the disease. When they appear exceptionally fat and fluffy, it's time to reproduce.
Cut a frond with these spots off and place it in a paper bag for a few days to collect the spores. The spores are going to fall into the bag. After that, sprinkle the spores on top of a container of sphagnum moss in a water dish, allowing the moss to absorb the water.
The moss should be damp but not soggy throughout. To keep the environment wet, wrap the container with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, shady location. Maintain a constant supply of water in the dish, and spritz the moss if it feels dry. In a few weeks, the seeds should germinate.
Bird's Nest Fern Potting and Repotting
Bird's nest ferns require a container with plenty of drainage holes. Bird's nest ferns are used to growing in minimum potting material because they are epiphytic plants. As a result, until your plant's roots have run out of room, you won't need to re-pot it. Instead, after these ferns have grown large enough to be unstable in their pot and require a larger container to attach themselves to, they will need to be repotted.
This happens every two to three years on average, and the optimal time to repot is in the spring. When it's time to re-pot, choose a large enough container to keep your plant stable. To anchor the plant, a clay container is often preferable to plastic. Carefully remove your plant from its old pot, place it in the new pot at the same depth as previously, and fill it with fresh potting mix all around it.
Bird's nest ferns are not susceptible to significant disease or pest problems, though they are susceptible to several common houseplant insects, such as scale. Chemical pesticides will harm this plant's delicate leaves, therefore natural insecticidal soaps are the best option for controlling pests.
Bird's nest ferns are typically healthy plants, but they are susceptible to a few problems, most of which are caused by unsuitable habitats.
- Yellowing of the Leaves
The leaf of a bird's nest fern can turn yellow if exposed to too much sunlight. In the same way, too much fertilizer can induce yellowing. Check on your plant throughout the day to ensure it is getting enough sunshine. And, if necessary, modify fertilization.
- Tips for Browning
Fronds turn brown naturally when they die and are replaced by new growth. Browning along the borders of a frond, on the other hand, is frequently caused by draughts impacting the plant. Remove your fern from draughty windows and doors, as well as air conditioning vents.