Asplenium nidus

Family: Aspleniaceae

Countries: Asia, Australia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra

Asplenium nidus is a gorgeous fern from Australia, Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi, New Guinea, Christmas Island, and the Philippines.  In the wild, Asplenium nidus often grows as an epiphytic fern, making its home on the branches and trunks of trees in rainforests.  Epiphytic plants are different from parasitic plants.  Epiphytic ferns grow upon another plant but they don’t steal any nutrients from their host plants; epiphytes simply use their host to raise themselves up to a more profitable growing position where they enjoy improved light levels, moisture, and humidity.

In cultivation, Asplenium nidus is usually grown as a terrestrial plant.  This fern is often grown in containers; it makes a wonderful and very easy to grow houseplant.

If your fern needs re-potting, it’s best to re-pot Asplenium nidus in springtime.  Choose a planter one or two sizes larger that your fern’s current container.  Ensure that the pot you use has a hole at the base, as this will allow the water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.  When potting up Asplenium nidus, use a good quality, peat-free compost.

Asplenium nidus is an easy-going fern that thrives in bright but indirect light.  When choosing a location to grow Asplenium nidus ferns, avoid South-facing window sills and anywhere that’s exposed to harsh, direct light.  Be wary of placing this fern in any location that is lit up by afternoon sunshine, as afternoon sunlight tends to be more damaging and intense.  A room that’s brighter in the morning would be the ideal choice.

These ferns thrive in bathrooms and kitchens and rooms with higher humidity levels.  I grow my Asplenium nidus together with a group of ferns and other houseplants that flourish in the same light levels, temperatures, and humidity.  Grouping the plants together creates a more beneficial environment for all the plants and helps to raise and maintain humidity levels.  Misting these plants with rainwater or popping them on top of saucers filled with pebbles and topped up with water will also increase the humidity around your houseplants.  Avoid growing Asplenium nidus above a radiator or heater that’s in operation, as this would create a detrimental growing conditions for this fern.

My Asplenium nidus that’s pictured in my photograph above is a young, small sized fern.  This species is fairly slow growing, but in optimum growing conditions, Asplenium nidus ferns can eventually forms large specimens that can extend up to 1.5m (5ft) tall; forming ferns that extend to around 1m (3.3ft) wide.

Asplenium nidus is a tender fern that will die if it’s exposed to cold temperatures.  I recommend growing Asplenium nidus in rooms where the temperature won’t drop below 13C (55F).

This fern’s common name is the Bird’s Nest Fern.

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