Enjoy Asplenium nidus (Bird’s Nest Fern) with least care!

Asplenium nidus (Bird’s Nest Fern, Crow’s Nest Fern)

Bird's Nest Fern or Asplenium nidus at our courtyard Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) in hanging pot at our garden porch

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
  • Common Name: Bird’s Nest Fern, Crow’s Nest Fern
  • Family name: Aspleniaceae
  • Origin: Native to tropical southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, Hawaii, Polynesia, Christmas Island, India and eastern Africa
  • Plant type: A large evergreen stemless tree fern growing as a rosette with ornamental foliage.
  • Light: Grows best in partial shade with dappled sunshine. However, it can tolerate full shade or full sun (gradually acclimatize it, otherwise the leaves get burnt by the sun)
  • Moisture: Requires regular watering moderately and soil to be kept quite moist! Needs a very humid environment, so misting of leaves are advisable if lacking
  • Soil: Best in well-drained soil mix! Recommended is a soil mix of peat moss, loam and sand.
  • Spores on the underside frond of Bird's Nest FernPropagation: By dividing the root ball or by spores.

    These linear spores (sori) develop on the underside of their fronds extending from the midrib. Here’s an interesting article by Keith Rogers on fern propagation by spores.

    Briefly described here too.
  • Features: This evergreen fern, Asplenium nidus can grow quite large in a rosette shape, reaching almost 2 meters in diameter with fronds radiating from the base center. Their lovely bright apple-green fronds measuring 2-4 feet long and 3-8 inches wide are smooth, glossy and acuminate at both ends. Fronds are mostly crinkled and erect, but arch outwards and has a dark-brown or black midrib as it ages. These fronds rising from a crown with a central hollow will eventually resemble a nicely shaped bird’s nest, capable of catching falling debris. It has a small root system which is dense, spongy and covered with brown root hairs.

    The crown of Bird's Nest Fern Root hairs of Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
  • Usage: It’ll make a wonderful centerpiece in any garden decoration, whether planted in a pot, container, hanging basket or even on ground. Excellent as an accent in any landscape or rock garden. Being an epiphyte growing on large trees in the rainforest, parks or along roadways, it can be cultivated on trees growing in one’s garden to enhance the garden view.
  • Care: Quite easily maintained with minimal care! All it need is enough filtered sunshine and watering, as well as monthly fertilizing which is optional. Do give an occasional shower of their fronds to keep them healthy from dust and retain their apple green sheen! Remove old, brown and damaged leaves at base to maintain their loveliness. And watch out for slugs! Equip yourself with more plant care info, just in case your bird’s nest fern faces these physiological, bacterial and other related problems.
  • For temperate regions: Check this site for additional information.

Not many gardeners, including me know how to propagate ferns from spores! Fortunately these bird’s nest fern are very popular, thus inexpensive and easily available in most garden nurseries. Hmm…maybe the nurseries pilfered them from rainforest where they grow epiphytically in abundance on huge trees like bromeliad or terrestrially on forest floors and rocks. ;)

A hanging pot of Bird's Nest Fern amongst other foliage plants at our frontyardAnyway, we’ve been most fortunate to find some bird’s nest fern sporelings (3 of them actually, the size of my palm) growing in the cracks of a large drain outside our front yard, maybe 6-7 years ago!

And of course, we gleefully added them to our garden family, joining the busy crowd of green foliage plants that we enjoy having!

Now, these Asplenium Nidus have grown remarkably into spectacular ferns, beautifying our little garden paradise! :D

Enjoy more photos of Bird’s Nest Fern, grown elsewhere:

Potted Asplendium Nidus (Bird's Nest Fern, Crow's Nest Fern) Asplendium Nidus (Bird's Nest Fern, Crow's Nest Fern), growing as epiphytes on tree trunk

Asplendium Nidus: ground-grown at Sg. Klah Hot Springs Park

Last edited: 2011-04-13

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4 Responses to “Enjoy Asplenium nidus (Bird’s Nest Fern) with least care!”

  1. kimberly Says:

    my mother passed down to me her giant birds nest fern. i have it under a covered deck around my koi pond. is it okay for the leaves to dangle in the water? and it appeared to be getting to much light on the one side of the pond, so my husband and i moved it to the other side where there is only a little bit of sunshine late in the day, is this okay? my birds nest fern is over 26 years old, and i want to insure it stays around another 26 years! please help!!! kimberly~~~

  2. lifera Says:

    This plant is wonderful “bang for the buck”, being inexpensive, not really that difficult to care for, providing large, lush foliage, and is versatile in display.

    It is great for condo and apartment dwellers who need shade or privacy and have nowhere to put a large number of pots. A homemade rustic bamboo trellis is nice and can display these plants at different heights for a “green wall”.

    If grown as a hanging specimen, e.g. on a balcony, then do be diligent about checking soil moisture, as a 6-8″ hanging pot on a balcony will dry up in a couple of days in hot weather, and like most ferns, they dislike losing moisture. It’s good to have an anchor of strong wire (that can be hidden) to secure them firmly, as these plants can be quite aerodynamic in windy weather!

    The plant is also good for comic relief, as many tourists from cold countries look in wide-eyed wonder at the bird’s nest ferns on the older trees lining our roads and ask:

    ‘Wow, what’s that – and how did you guys plant them so high?”

    Only to be told that they were actually “planted” by the Chief Gardener, Mother Nature herself.

  3. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for your much appreciated additional info, Lifera… especially helpful for condo and apartment occupants.
    These ferns are such happy volunteers… scattering their seedlings almost at every nook and corner of our garden, usually on damp bricks, cracks on walls or sharing space in orchid pots. We just love them and the best part, they’re FOC!! :)

  4. azalia Says:

    Where can I find the place to purchase the bird’s nest fern/crow’s fern?

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