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Asplenium nidus

Birds Nest Fern: Lush Plant With Tropical Greenery

The birds nest fern is named after its rosette shape and fronds resembling a bird's nest. The fronds are long, arching, and typically have a leathery texture with a glossy green color.

Bird's Nest Fern

Other names for this plant...

Fernbirds Nest Nested Birds Fern Birdsnest Fern Nest Fern Nidus Fern Wild Spleenwort Seafern Crispy Wave Birds Nest Fern

About Birds Nest Fern

Birds nest fern is a popular indoor plant due to its low maintenance and ability to purify the air.

The plant thrives in moist, shady environments and can reach two feet in diameter. It’s non-toxic and pet-friendly, and looks beautiful on its own or styled among other tropical plants.

Botanical Name

Chinese evergreen is from the genus Aglaonema. The Chinese evergreen plant is a member of the Araceae family of flowering plants, which includes the peace lily.

Plant Type

Asplenium nidus is an epiphytic species of fern from the family Aspleniaceae.

Epiphytes grow on other plants or objects, using them for physical support, not nutrients. They derive their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and debris that accumulates around them.

Some well-known epiphytes include orchids, air plants, bromeliads, and birds nest ferns. They are often found in tropical and subtropical regions, growing on the trunks of trees and other vegetation in their natural habitats.

Similar Plants

Monstera is a flowering plant in the family Araceae, commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant due to the holes in its leaves.

Peperomia is a genus of tropical and subtropical plants in the family Piperaceae and are commonly known as radiator plants due to their tolerance to low light conditions.

Philodendrons are also a genus of tropical plants in the family Araceae and are commonly grown as houseplants due to their attractive foliage and ease of care.

Staghorn fern is an epiphytic fern named after its fronds that have a similar shape to a stag's antlers.

Sphagnum moss is commonly used in horticulture as a soil amendment and for creating garden landscapes such as bogs and rock gardens.


The birds nest fern is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands (Polynesia, Christmas Island, and Hawaii), and Queensland in Northeastern Australia.


The birds nest fern has several distinctive features. It has a rosette of long, bright green, leathery fronds that rise from a central point. These fronds are undivided, or only slightly divided, at their tips.

The plant's common name comes from the shape of its fronds, which resemble a birds nest. New fronds emerge from a central rosette, giving the plant a symmetrical appearance.

In addition to its bright green fronds, the birds nest fern is also notable for its large, pale-colored spore-producing structures, called sori, which are located on the undersides of the stalks.

The birds nest fern fronds grow in a rosette pattern.

Types Of Birds Nest Ferns

Birds nest fern is a common name used for plants in the genus Asplenium. There are many different species of ferns in this genus, and some of the most common houseplant varieties include:

  • Asplenium nidus, the type species

  • Asplenium antillarum

  • Asplenium australasicum

  • Asplenium bulbiferum

  • Asplenium dimorphum

  • Asplenium normale

  • Asplenium phyllitidis

Birds Nest Fern Styling

The birds nest fern is a versatile plant in various indoor and outdoor design styles. Here are a few ways to incorporate the plant into your décor:

  • Grown in hanging baskets, making them an excellent choice for spaces with high ceilings or for adding greenery to outdoor patios and balconies.

  • Grown in large terrariums, where its lush green fronds can add a touch of tropical greenery.

  • Mounted on a wall or attached to a support, such as a trellis or a wire frame, to create a living wall.

  • Combined with other plants, such as succulents or flowering plants, in a mixed container or planter.


The birds nest fern is a shade-loving plant that prefers filtered, indirect sunlight. It is not tolerant of direct sunlight, and exposure to direct sunlight can cause the fronds to turn yellow and become damaged. A shelf or desk near a north-facing window will usually provide adequate light.

If you are moving the birds nest fern from areas with less light to brighter locations, do so gradually over a few weeks to allow the plant to adjust.


Watering is essential in keeping your birds nest fern healthy and vibrant. Here are some tips for watering the plant:

  • The birds nest fern likes moist, but not soggy, potting soil. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so avoiding standing water in the pot is important.

  • The watering frequency will depend on various factors, including the size of the pot, the temperature, and the humidity levels in your home. Generally, the birds nest fern should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry.

  • Water the soil directly, soaking the soil to get water to the roots. Avoid getting water on the fronds, which can lead to leaf rot.


The birds nest fern is a tropical plant that prefers warm temperatures etween 60°F and 90°F (15°C and 32°C). It can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C), but extended periods of low temperatures can harm the plant.


The birds nest fern loves high humidity levels. If the humidity in your home is low, you can increase it around the plant by placing a bowl of water near it or misting the fronds regularly with a spray bottle.


The best soil for birds nest ferns is a well-draining mix that retains moisture but does not become waterlogged. Adding perlite or sand to the soil mix can help improve drainage.

The soil should contain a high amount of organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, and the soil should be slightly acidic with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0.

You can also purchase specialized potting mixes for epiphytes like ferns and bromeliads. These mixes are often made with a combination of peat moss, perlite, and bark and are designed to provide the right balance of moisture and drainage.


Pruning birds nest ferns is important to keep the plant healthy and promote new growth. Here are some tips for pruning your birds nest fern:

  • Remove any dead or damaged fronds as soon as you notice them. This helps prevent disease and promotes healthy new growth.

  • Trim any overgrown fronds blocking the light from reaching the center of the plant.

  • If the center of the plant is crowded, you can remove some of the older fronds to make room for new growth.

  • Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts.


The best fertilizer for birds nest ferns is a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that provides equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Here are some tips for fertilizing your ferns:

  • Use the fertilizer at half strength, as birds nest ferns prefer moderate nutrients. Overfertilizing can cause damage to the plant.

  • Fertilize your birds nest fern every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season, typically from spring to fall. When the plant is dormant during the winter, you can reduce or stop fertilizing.

  • Apply the fertilizer to the soil, careful not to get it on the fronds. Water the plant well after fertilizing to help distribute the nutrients to the roots.

Height & Growth

The fronds are typically between 12 and 36 inches long. The central rosette of leafstalks can be several feet wide.


Birds nest ferns are non-toxic to people.


Birds nest ferns are pet-friendly. They are generally considered to be non-toxic pets.

Common Problems

  • Yellowing fronds are probably a result of too much direct sunlight, over-watering, or a lack of nutrients. Reduce the amount of sun, ensure the soil is well-drained, and fertilize regularly.

  • Brown frond tips may be due to dry air, too much direct sunlight, or a lack of humidity. Increase the humidity around the plant by misting it regularly or placing a humidifier nearby.

  • Wilting fronds can happen when you under-water the plant, or it has poor soil drainage. Ensure the soil moisture is just right (not too dry or waterlogged), and ensure good drainage by using a well-draining soil mix.

  • Pests, like scale insects or mealybugs, can be a problem with birds nest ferns. Treat the plant with an appropriate pesticide or insecticide if you notice pests.

Birds nest fern plants are particular about sunlight. When healthy, the smooth leaves will develop gentle ripples and waves.

How To Propagate Birds Nest Ferns

Propagation of birds nest ferns can be achieved by collecting their spores.

Cut off a large frond from a healthy plant and wrap it in paper bag for a couple of weeks. Watch for the fuzzy spores to drop off, then sprinkle them in a dish of sphagnum moss or peat moss supplemented with dolomite. Keep the medium moist with a spray bottle and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the dish in an area where the temperature is 70-80 degrees. Watch for new leaves to sprout.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take care of a birds nest fern?

  1. Water your birds nest fern regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.

  2. Place in an area with plenty of indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch the fronds.

  3. Mist the plant regularly or place a humidifier nearby.

  4. Use a well-draining soil mix, and plant your birds nest fern in a pot with adequate drainage holes.

  5. Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to your birds nest fern every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season.

  6. Prune any dead or damaged fronds, as well as any overgrown or crowded fronds, to keep the plant healthy and promote new growth.

  7. Repotting birds nest ferns every 1 to 2 years will ensure their continued health and growth. Be careful not to damage the root ball while repotting.

How long does it take for a bird's nest fern to grow?

Birds nest ferns are fast-growing plants that will read maturity in about 6-12 months.

Is a birds nest fern grown indoors or outdoors?

Birds nest ferns can grow indoors and outdoors. They are commonly grown as houseplants due to their ability to thrive in various lighting conditions and their tolerance for high humidity.

They can grow outdoors in warmer climates, such as in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. They prefer partial shade or dappled light.

What's the difference between a Bird's Nest Fern and a Crispy Wave Fern?

The Bird's Nest Fern and Crispy Wave Fern a quite similar, and without knowing what to look for they can be hard to tell apart. But the main difference is in the leaves — a Bird's Nest Fern has a straight leaf edge, whereas a Crispy Wave Fern has a variegated leaf edge.

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The Bird’s Nest Victoria is a lower-maintenance fern that does great as a houseplant.

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