The nest fern, Asplenium nidus, also known as bird’s foot fern, is a simple houseplant that will give your landscape a vibrant, tropical appearance. It’s a tropical fern that one can use as a low-maintenance pot plant or even an air flower on trees.
Instead of the feathery fronds of its other ferns, it has curly, lance-shaped foliage that stretches from a core rosette. Also, it’s an epiphyte, meaning it develops outside other plants: You can find this fern on the intersections of jungle tree branches in the wild.
Herein is a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about this unique tropical houseplant.
How to care for the Birds Foot Fern
Providing enough warmth, moisture, and humidity is crucial to the entire bird’s nest fern. The most excellent spot to put your bird’s nest fern, as a pot plant, is close to a tub or shower in a shower room. Here, it will collect optimal warmth and humidity, but it must also have a light source.
Using filtered sunlight to a modest amount of shelter, bird’s nest ferns will indeed thrive. Except for the morning sun, don’t disclose them to the direct sun. Direct sunlight could cause the leaves to burn. A north- or east-facing window is perfect for indoors.
After the soil dries completely, water it; during the summer, you may discover that you require water quite frequently. Dry leaf margins indicate Under-watering. Check the soil regularly to make sure it feels moist-though not always wet every time. Water the crop around the corners at its bottom every 1-2 weeks. If you expose the fern to direct sunlight, you’ll have to water it even more frequently than if it’s in the shade.
You don’t have to trim the fronds, though getting rid of any dead leaves or fronds will aid the bird’s nest fern to produce new foliage and stay healthy.
Temperatures between 60-80 degrees f are ideal for the nest fern. It can withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything chillier than that could damage the plant — particularly if exposed for an extended period. At the same time, indoors, keep your plant away from cold drafts like those coming from an air conditioner vent.
Moist environments and high humidity, like a bathroom, terrarium, and greenhouse, are ideal for the fern. One can use a humidifier to increase the moisture around the nest fern. You could also place its jar on a pan with water and pebbles. However, ensure the pot’s bottom isn’t submerged in water, as this can lead to root rot.
Fertilize the nest fern every month with an equitable liquid fertilizer watered down to half capacity during April to September’s active growth period. Ensure to apply the fertilizer in the soil rather than the fronds, as immediate interaction with the fertilizer could indeed cause foliage to burn.
Also, avoid fertilizing for the remainder of the year because excessive food could lead the fronds to acquire abnormal form or turn brownish or yellowish.
These plants prefer loose soil, whole in the natural matter and drain well. Container plants benefit from a peat-based potting blend. You can also use a mix of orchid and bromeliad potting soil.
In addition, you can grow these nest ferns without soil by putting them on a surface such as a piece of bark or wood, as they are epiphytic crops.
Beginner gardeners may find it difficult to propagate nest ferns. Most people prefer to buy nursery crops instead, but you can save money by multiplying them alone.
On the other hand, spores, which appear as fuzzy speckles on the underparts of fronds, are used to spread the disease. When they appear — particularly fuzzy and plump, it’s time to reproduce.
Snip a fern with all these spots and put it in a bag for several days to gather the spores. The spores are going to fall into the paper bag. Then, sprinkle the spores on top of the container of sphagnum moss in a water dish, allowing the moss to absorb the water. The moss must be wet but not soggy all over.
To sustain the surrounding moisture, wrap the jar in plastic wrap and put it in a toasty, shady location. Maintain a constant water supply in the dish, and wet the moss if it feels dry. Within a few weeks, the seeds should germinate.
Sprout your yard with bird’s foot fern by following the instructions in this guide on developing ferns and keeping the houseplants afloat.
Related article: Nevada Fern Plant Growth and Care Guide