Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium Antiquum): Plant Care Guide

Native to tropical rainforests, where it often resides within palm trees, the Bird's Nest Fern can also happily reside in your home with the correct care. The picture-perfect species doesn't need too much to stay in tip-top condition either.

Simply place the plant in a spot with medium to bright indirect light and give it a drop of water every one to two weeks. If you care for it correctly, it will grow to a size of around 35 cm.

Bird's Nest Fern

About this plant

From the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, East Africa, Australia, and Hawaii, to name a few locations, the Bird's Nest Fern (also known as Asplenium Nidus) makes an impressively unique houseplant.

These ferns come in several hues and boast various textures, with this particular specie known for its oversized, wavy, or crinkled fronds, which are light green in colour. These often appear tropical-like and have a close resemblance to banana leaves.

Care needs

These plants are able to tolerate the average temperature indoors. However, they do prefer environments that offer higher humidity. For best results, try to provide them with a temperature of between 18°C (65°F) -21°C (75°F).

The fern's active growing season begins in April and ends in September, and throughout this period you should provide them with a quality fertilizer. This should be done every four weeks or so, using a balanced liquid mixture, diluted to half strength.

It is important to apply this fertilizer to the plant's soil and not its fronds, as doing so can cause the foliage to burn. If your plant's leaves begin to turn a brownish or yellowish hue, you've given them too much food! Similarly, if you notice them turning a shade of pale green, this means they are thirsty.

How to plant

These plants thrive in rich, loose soil that is brimming with organic matter. For best results, this soil necessitates excellent drainage. For plants grown in containers, a peat-based potting mix is a good option.

As naturally epiphytic plants, Bird's Nest ferns have the ability to grow on the surface of other shrubs. They are often seen sprouting from tree crooks in their rainforest habitats, forming a selection of erect green fronds in the shape of spoons. These spring from a central rosette.

A sign of a healthy plant is fronds spanning an impressive five feet in length. However, for house plants, the fronds will seldom grow over two feet in length, and will likely boast a slower growth rate.

To ensure your bird's nest fern thrives, look to plant them in the spring months if planting in an outdoor environment. However, for houseplants, it isn't the end of the world if you plant them earlier or later than this.

Watering needs

A Bird's Nest fern requires water every one to two weeks. It is important to allow the soil to dry out at least halfway between watering. In brighter light, they may require more frequent watering, and in lower light, less watering. You should avoid watering directly into the fern's centre, and instead, focus on the areas around it.

Lighting requirements

This plant thrives in medium to bright light that isn't directly focused on the fern. It can however withstand lower, indirect light. These shrubs prefer filtered sunlight to lots of shade and aren't big fans of the early morning sun. It is a good idea to keep this in mind when choosing a location for your Bird's Nest fern.

Harsh sunlight, directly pointed at your plant, can burn its leaves. When choosing an area indoors, opt for an east- or north-facing window for best results.

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