A Bird’s Nest Fern, Asplenium nidus, is member of the Asplenium genus which contains hundreds of different fern species. It is native to the rain forests of Asia, Africa, and Australia which explains why warm temperatures and high humidity are essential for it to thrive. In nature, a Bird’s Nest Fern is an epiphytic plant or “air plant,” meaning it grows on other plants or tall trees. When new fronds first appear, they resemble little bird eggs which is how the plant got the nickname Bird’s Nest Fern.
Bird’s Nest Fern Description
This unusual looking fern has long, erect, leathery, apple-green fronds that never split like those of a Kimberly Queen Fern or a Maidenhair Fern. The wide, rippled leaves of a Bird’s Nest Fern emerge from a central rosette or crown that looks like a fuzzy, brown funnel. The tongue- shaped fronds are fragile so try not to handle the young immature fronds and place the plant in an area where it won’t be bumped. Although in nature a Bird’s Nest Fern may have fronds as long as 5ft (1.5m), as a houseplant, the mature plant forms a compact, vase like shape with leaves not much larger than 24” (60cm) wide and 16” (40cm) tall.
Birds Nest Fern Varieties
There are several cultivars of the Bird’s Nest fern that make excellent houseplants.
“Crispy Wave” Fern has sword shaped, ruffled leaves.
Antiquum ‘Crissy’ has gently, wavy fronds that branch out at the end into crested divided leaf tips.
Osaka or Japanese Bird’s Nest fern has narrow, arching, leaves with very ruffled edges.
Asplenium nidus Leslie has very, very curly, parsley like crested frond ends.
Quick Care Tips for a Bird’s Nest Fern
Prefers warm temperatures 70°- 90°F (21.1°-32.2°C)
Keep soil barely moist and drier in winter
Avoid getting water on the center crown-it can cause plant diseases
Fertilize lightly – too much plant food is worse than too little
Do not use commercial insecticides and FungicideLearn what fungicides are and how they are used to treat fungal and bacterial plant infections.s – they damage the leaves.
Regular lines of brown spots on underside of fronds are propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary spores not signs of peats or diseases
High Humidity is a plus
A Bird’s Nest Fern is not an easy care plant and cannot be ignored like some other plants. Many people place this unusual looking fern in a bathroom other humid area which helps it grow a bit more quickly and keep its bright green color.
I’m guessing that the brown spots on the leaves of your Bird’s Nest fern are spores, which is how the plant propagates in the wild. If your Bird’s Nest fern really had the plant pest called scale, it would be all over the plant not just on the under-side of the leaves.
Translucent spots on a Bird’s Nest fern are caused by a bacterial plant infection. To treat this plant disease remove any diseased leaves, keep the remaining leaves dry, reduce your water, and keep your Bird’s Nest fern away from your other plants until the infection clears up (or the plant dies).
The leaves of a Bird’s Nest fern may lose their lovely wavy shape if the plant is getting too much fertilizer. Plant food should always be diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength for most houseplants but especially for ferns.