Scientific name: Asplenium Nidus.
Synonyms: Spleenwort, Birds Nest Fern
The Birds Nest Fern is a gorgeous broadleaf fern, with many hybrids available, that creates a tropical vibe within your interior space. These Ferns are highly popular for their hardiness, compared to many other fern varieties and will make a statement once they have grown large and lush. The Birds Nest grows in a rosette formation with the new fronds unfurling from the center, and as the new fronds develop they look akin to birds eggs, hence their name.
Endemic to South-East Asia these lovely ferns are often found growing high up in the canopies, where they live as epiphytes. Due to this, they love warm humid conditions and bright dappled light. Making them ideal for warm bright bathrooms and kitchens.
When it comes to watering, it is important to keep the potting soil evenly moist, avoiding to wet or too dry soil. It is best to water the outside edge of the Fern, and not to pour water directly into the crown, which in time can lead to rot of new fronds.
As beginner houseplants, Birds Nest Ferns are attractive, whimsical and enchanting, adding a tropical touch to a window sill, shelf or tabletop display, and as mature plants, they can be grown as floor-level statement pieces.
Toxicity: Asplenium is not considered toxic.
Birds Nest Fern Common Symptoms
- Yellowing or black-tipped leaves: A few factors can cause yellowing foliage on your Fern, often overwatering is cited as being the main culprit. However, if you find that leaves turn yellow infrequently, this is not a cause for concern as this is the natural lifecycle of most plants, though if yellowing happens on mass consider your watering regime. If you start noticing black soggy tips on your Fern, this is a clear sign of overwatering that has lead to root rot. You will need to re-pot your plant if this has occurred and be sure that your planter is draining correctly.
- Crispy leaf edges or curling leaves: Leaf curl and dry leaf edges can be a sign of insufficient watering or low humidity. Birds Nest Ferns prefer their soil staying lightly moist and drying out should be avoided, to keep your houseplant looking pristine. If you find the soil is still moist however and crisping edges still occur, you may need to raise the moisture levels in the air around your plant. This is easily achieved by placing your plant on a pebble tray.
- Pale foliage or crisp brown spots: This is often caused by too much light or direct sunlight. Birds Nest Ferns prefer medium to bright filtered light, if you find your is looking a little bleached or there are brown crisp patches, then your plant may need to be relocated to a location with slightly less light. If the lighting is correct but the plant still looks bleached, check the dryness of the soil, pale foliage is another sign your plant may be thirsty.
- Bad smell or mold in the center of your plant: This is caused by watering into the center of your fern, where the new fronds have started to rot. Try removing any dead debris or mold and allow the center of the fern to dry out. In future be sure to only water the soil and not into the middle of the rosette.
Pests: If your Birds Nest Fern is not kept happy, it will be susceptible to a variety of common household pests such as mealybug, Aphids and Spider mite. Rectify any environmental factors that may be causing stress. Then quarantine and spray down your fern with a good quality pesticide, avoiding pesticide pooling in the center of the rosette. Click for more on Identifying and Treating Common Houseplant Pests.
Birds Nest Fern Care Instructions
- Origin: South East Asia
- Height: Averaging 90cm in Span when mature.
- Light: Loves bright filtered light to medium light, avoid direct sunlight as this will lead to scorched foliage..
- Water: Birds Nest Ferns prefer their soil to be lightly moist, avoid allowing your plant to sit in water or for the soil to become waterlogged. This is best achieved by allowing the top 1cm of soil to dry between each watering.
- Humidity: Thrives in medium to high humidity.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
- Soil: A well-draining slightly water-retentive potting mix is sufficient.
- Fertilizer: Use a quarter strength of a well balanced organic fertilizer once every month during Spring through Summer.
- Repotting: For small specimens, it is not recommended to re-pot more than once a year and for mature specimens, it is ideal to only re-pot once every 2-3 years or once the plant has become rootbound. When repotting be sure to choose a planter no larger than 3-5cm bigger than the previous. Transfer plant from one planter to another without touching the roots, unless rootbound, then one can tease a few lose. Backfill with fresh soil and replace in original positioning.
- Propagation: This is done via the spores (like the seeds of the plant) this is highly difficult in a home environment and it is best to buy another plant, of you want more.
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