How do I care for A Birds Nest Fern?

I just bought a Bird’s Nest Fern. Could you tell me how to take care of it Many thanks!

Hi Leslie,

Apple green erect fronds n Bird's Nest Fern
Bird’s Nest Fern
Asplenium nidus

Bird’s Nest Fern, Asplenium nidus,  has long, wide, rippled leaves that grow out of a central rosette or crown that looks like a fuzzy brown funnel. When the new fronds of a Bird’s Nest Fern first appear, they resemble little bird eggs, that’s how the plant got its  nickname, Bird’s Nest Fern. It’s important never to get water on the crown of a Bird’s Nest Fern since it’s easily damaged. The tongue shaped fronds of a Bird’s Nest Fern are fairly fragile so place your plant where the leaves won’t be bumped. This unique attractive fern requires a bit of care and is not a good plant for beginners.

Light: A Bird’s Nest Fern does well in medium indirect light. The distinctive bright green leaves become pale when exposed to too much light. Direct sun causes unsightly burn marks on the leaves.

Water: Keep the soil of a Bird’s Nest Fern moist but never soggy at all times.

Fertilizer: A Bird’s Nest Fern needs fertilizer once or twice in the spring and summer, when the fern is actively growing. Over-fertilization causes more problems than never fertilizing at all. A balanced plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength works best for a Bird’s Nest Fern.

Temperature: A Bird’s Nest Fern likes temperature between 70-90 degrees during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night. These ferns grow slowly when the temperature is not within this range and leaves are damaged by hot or cold drafts. The base of the fronds of a Bird’s Nest Fern turn yellow when the temperature is too warm.

Humidity: High humidity is essential for a Bird’s Nest Fern to grow well. The higher the humidity the longer the fronds of the fern grow, indoors this can be up to 18” and outdoors 3-4 ft. Lack of humidity causes major problems for a Bird’s Nest Fern, the entire leaf may turn yellow, the tips of the leaves may turn brown, and the plant may stop growing. If the humidity in your home is too low, consider putting your Bird’s Nest Fern on a wet pebble tray.

You can read more of my care tips for a Bird’s Nest fern in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.


Great gift for plant loving friends this holiday season.