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Plant Care for Birds Nest Fern

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Plant Care for Birds Nest Fern

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Overview

Bird's nest fern, also known as Asplenium nidus, is a perennial fern typically grown for its ease of care, resistance to pests and ornamental, crinkled foliage. The large, evergreen leaves reach up to 40 inches in length, making them an attractive, eye-drawing element of any room. Native to Asia, Australia and Africa, bird's nest fern is hardy in zones 9 through 11 only. Because of its need for warm temperatures, the fern is typically grown as a houseplant throughout the United States.

Step 1

Keep bird's nest fern in a location that receives partial, indirect sunlight throughout the day. Use a well-drained, fertile potting soil and keep the plant at a constant temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit with night temperatures a few degrees cooler.

Step 2

Use a spray bottle filled with distilled water to mist bird's nest fern twice per day, once during the early morning and again at mid-day. Use lukewarm water to prevent shocking the plant. Alternatively, a humidifier placed in the room can increase humidity and eliminate the need for misting.

Step 3

Water once every 10 days, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 14 days during winter, when active growth has ceased. Apply water directly to the soil, as moist leaves are more susceptible to fungal diseases.

Step 4

Fertilize your bird's nest fern once per month from March through October using an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. Do not fertilize during November, December, January or February.

Step 5

Re-pot the fern once every three to four years to provide a fresh growing medium and additional room for growth. Increase the size of the container by three to four inches and use a well-drained, fertile potting soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never expose bird's nest fern to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as the plant will quickly wilt and die.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Humidifier (optional)
  • Fertilizer
  • Container
  • Potting soil

References

  • Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture: Bird's Nest Fern
  • University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: Asplenium nidus
  • "Encyclopedia of House Plants"; Nico Vermeulen; 1999

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: bird's nest fern, asplenium nidus, care for birds nest fern

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.