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Asplenium nidus

Crispy Wave Fern: The Complete Care Guide

The Crispy Wave Fern's vibrant, wavy, and fascinating sculptural sword-shaped leaves add a lush tropical charm to any indoor plant collection.

Crispy Wave Fern
  • Crispy Wave Fern

Other names for this plant...

Pleated Bird's Nest Fern Japanese Asplenium Nidus Japenese Crispy Wave

About The Crispy Wave Fern

From its uniquely shaped fronds to its hardiness and low-maintenance nature, this fern houseplant holds a special place in the hearts of plant enthusiasts. It's a visual treat without being finicky, and is perfect for newbies or experienced green thumbs.

Botanical Name

A popular cultivar of the houseplant species Asplenium nidus, the Crispy Wave Fern is known scientifically as Asplenium nidus 'Crispy Wave'.

The Asplenium fern got its common (and literal) name 'Crispy Wave' from the beautifully, bright-green, heavily ruffled leaves.


The Crispy Wave Fern plant belongs to the wonderfully large and diverse Aspleniaceae family - a family of ferns also known as spleenworts. These ferns are appreciated for their elegant, often feathery fronds, including the Asplenium nidus 'Osaka', Asplenium nidus 'Crissie', and Asplenium nidus 'Leslie'.


The Crispy Wave Fern finds its roots in the enchanting landscapes of Japan and Taiwan. The Crispy Wave is an epiphyte so in its native tropical habitat, you'll often find this fern thriving in the forked branches of trees.

These ferns have adapted to their tropical surroundings, making appearances in regions with warm and humid surroundings, such as Asia, Europe, eastern Africa, eastern Australia, India, Polynesia, and Hawaii.


When you picture a Crispy Wave Fern, you'll see nature's elegance at play. The leaves are, of course, the eye-catcher here, appearing like graceful, green ribbons that stretch out in a relaxed, drooping fashion from the center.

Like other members of the Asplenium nidus genus, the Crispy Wave Fern exhibits the classic rosette arrangement of leaves, but it stands out with its unique texture and leaf shape. The bright, apple-green leaves are ruffled and slightly twisted, giving them a unique 'crispy' appearance.


Crispy Wave Ferns are wonderful at grabbing attention due to their lush, ribbon-like fronds. Using this fern to spruce up your home is incredibly simple; you've got plenty of options when it comes to placing them in the perfect spot.

You can make them the star of your decor by placing them on a well-lit dining table, desk, or coffee table to add a lively touch of greenery to the space. They also look great - and thrive - placed in a glass terrarium.

Another smart design choice is to place your Crispy Wave Fern in a hanging basket, allowing its leaves to elegantly droop down.


In its natural habitat, the Crispy Wave Fern thrives in the sheltering shade of tall trees, receiving gentle, filtered, indirect light. To replicate these conditions in your home, place your plant where it can receive bright to medium, indirect sunlight, ideally from an east or north-facing window.

The last thing you want to do is subject your fern to direct sunlight. Too much light can lead to sunburnt leaves and a sad, dull appearance.


As a plant that hails from tropical rainforests, the Crispy Wave Ferns thrives best in evenly moist soil that is not soggy. As an important part of Crispy Wave Fern care, you want to place them in a well-draining pot and water them frequently but lightly to avoid overwatering and root rot.

How often you water a Crispy Wave Fern will depend on how quickly its soil begins to dry. The Crispy Wave Fern can tolerate a little bit of a dry spell but you never want the soil to feel bone dry.


As a tropical houseplant, the Crispy Wave flourishes in warm and humid surroundings. Maintaining a temperature around 60-72°F (15-22°C) in your home is the perfect sweet spot.

While it's generally hardy, this fern can be a tad sensitive to abrupt temperature fluctuations. You want to keep it away from drafts, heaters, air conditioning units, or chilly windows to keep it content.


If there's one thing that truly delights this fern, it's a humid environment. You want to aim for a humidity range from 60-90%, which may require some creativity in your home.

The best way to increase humidity is a humidifier, but you can also create a mini-humid environment by placing your Crispy Wave Gern in a pebble tray filled with water.


In your home, this fern will thrive best in soil that is airy, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. You don't want to use the same soil that you purchased the fern in. Instead, use a soil mix of peat moss, organic compost, pine bark, and perlite to offer all the essential nutrients for your Crispy Wave Fern's thriving growth.


You won't find much reason to prune your Crispy Wave Fern. It naturally grows into a charming shape, so there's no need to trim it regularly.

However, the times you will need to prune Crispy Wave plants is when you spot damaged leaves with brown spots or signs of rot at the base. If this occurs, simply trim the affected leaf as close to the base as you can manage with clean, sterilized shears or scissors.


These house plants don't require much fertilization, especially if it's already nestled in a compost-rich mix. Although, it would certainly appreciate some liquid fertilizer during its active growing season from April to September.

Use a liquid all-purpose fertilizer with a 24-8-16 formula, but dilute it to half its recommended strength. Remember to hold off on fertilizing when winter rolls around.

Height & Growth

A Crispy Wave plant is generally a slow grower to begin with. They often take years to reach maturity, and their size largely depends on their environment and pot size.

When grown indoors with strong humidity and temperature conditions, the Crispy Wave Fern grows to a modest height of around two feet. When cultivated outdoors or in a generously sized pot, it has the potential to grow up to five feet tall.


No, the Crispy Wave Fern is completely non-toxic, meaning you won't have to worry about keeping the plant around curious children.


It's safe for us, but is the Crispy Wave Fern toxic to our furry friends? No! Although, it's not very tasty, so keep this in mind if your pets tend to chew on plants.

Common Problems

Thankfully, growing and caring for a Crispy Wave plant is hassle-free, but there are a few issues that can crop up with this plant.

  1. Leaf rot: The leaves of a Crispy Wave plant form a snug rosette in its center where water can collect and potentially lead to leaf rot (brown spots on the leaves). To prevent this, water around the plant rather than the center.

  2. Scale infestation: If you spot tiny bumps on your fern's stems or leaves, it's likely a scale infestation. Combat this by cleaning the leaves with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or insecticidal soap.

A handy tip is to let the leaves be your guide. The leaves will instantly reflect signs of disease or unwelcome pests.


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

The Crispy Wave Fern is a cultivar (plant variety) of the Bird's Nest Fern. While the two look very similar, the main difference is found in the shape of their leaf edges. Crispy Wave Ferns boast wavier, almost crinkled leaf edges, whereas Bird's Nest Ferns have smoother and somewhat straighter edges.

Crispy Wave Fern
Crispy Wave fern plants have crinkled leaf edges.

How long do Crispy Wave Ferns live?

Crispy Wave Ferns usually have an average lifespan of about 4-5 years. But with proper care and attention, they do have the potential to live up to 10 years or longer.

Why are the leaves of my Crispy Wave Fern drooping?

When your Crispy Wave Fern's leaves are drooping, it could be a sign that your plant is craving more sunlight or it's been over or underwatered. To know what's exactly causing the drooping dilemma, identify whether it's a light or water issue. For example, too much light can cause drooping and you may see your fern turning yellow.