Bird’s Nest Fern Care – How To Grow Bird’s Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern Care – How To Grow Bird’s Nest Fern

By: Heather Rhoades

When most people think of ferns, they think of feathery, airy fronds, but not all ferns actually look like this. The bird’s nest fern is an example of a fern that defies our preconceived ideas of what a fern should look like. Even better is the fact that a bird’s nest fern plant makes an excellent low light houseplant.

About the Bird’s Nest Fern Plant

The bird’s nest fern plant gets its name from the fact that the center of the plant resembles a bird’s nest. It is also occasionally called a crow’s nest fern. Bird’s nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) are identified by their flat, wavy or crinkly fronds. Their appearance can bring to mind a seaweed plant growing on dry land.

Bird’s nest fern is an epiphytic fern, which means in the wild it typically grows on other things, like tree trunks or buildings. When you buy it as a houseplant, it will be planted in a container, but it can be affixed to planks and hung on a wall much like staghorn ferns.

How to Grow Bird’s Nest Fern

Bird’s nest ferns grow best in medium to low indirect light. These ferns are often grown for their crinkly leaves and the light they receive will affect how crinkled the leaves are. A bird’s nest fern that receives more light, for example, will have more crinkled leaves, while one that receives less light will have flatter leaves. Keep in mind that too much light or direct light will cause the fronds on bird’s nest fern to yellow and die.

Care for a Bird’s Nest Fern

In addition to light, another important aspect of bird’s nest fern care is its watering. Under ideal circumstances, all ferns would like to have consistently moist, but not wet, soil. However, part of the reason that bird’s nest fern makes an ideal houseplant is that it will tolerate soil that dries out from time to time.

Furthermore, this plant does not require the same level of humidity that many other kinds of ferns need, making the care for a bird’s nest fern far more forgiving to the occasionally forgetful houseplant owner than other ferns.

Fertilizer should only be given to the plant two to three times a year. Even then, the fertilizer should only be applied at half strength and should only be given during the spring and summer months. Too much fertilizer will cause deformed leaves with brown or yellow spots or edges.

Now that you know more about how to grow bird’s nest fern and how easy these plants are to grow, try giving them a place in your home. They make a wonderful and green addition to the less brightly lit rooms in your home.

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Why Does My Bird’s Nest Fern Have Brown Tips? (And Solutions)

Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) looks attractive because of the shiny leaves that extend from its center creating that nest-like appearance.

Since it doesn’t bear flowers, taking care of the foliage is of utmost importance.

If you find your bird’s nest to develop brown tips, that says a lot about the general health of your plant.

Brown tips in bird’s nest fern are the result of improper watering, use of poor quality water, too much fertilizer, low humidity, temperature stress, exposure to direct light, or the lack of it. Root rot, repotting shock can also lead to the same problem. There are some other causes that can cause this issue.

To help you deeply understand the mechanism behind each cause, here are detailed discussions on the possible reasons why brown tips appear in the bird’s nest fern.

I’ll also give you tips on how to fix the problem as well as preventive measures to avoid such an issue.

Hurricane Bird's Nest Fern (S)

The Hurricane Bird's Nest is the new kid on the fern block. This variety has a wonderful whirlwind growth habit that will produce glossy green foliage swirling in a circular clockwise manner that will be the focal point of any indoor space. It prefers humid environments, making it ideal greenery for kitchens and bathrooms.


Easy to care with indirect light with frequent water. Avoid direct sun and dark shady corners and provide regular household temperatures. Some humidity will also help growth of your plant so consider placement within warm rooms of the house with moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms. For best results mist periodically, wipe leaves of dust when needed and provide some nutrients during warmer months.

WATER Water once top soil is dry,
keep soil well drained
LIGHT Indirect Light
PLANT SIZE Grows to 60cm

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Houseplants forum→ Bird's Nest Fern Drooping & Yellow

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I am having an emergency with this fern. I hope someone can help me. I will borrow the format I used in another forum for describing the issue (though I haven't gotten any responses yet):

> The species or common name of your plant.
* Birds Nest Fern

> How long you have had the plant and how long it has been sick.
* Had the plant for about a month. When it first came it had some yellow leaves right away. We trimmed them away & it seemed to stop. It maybe had a leaf or two that was slightly yellow. But in the last week, three leaves turned yellow & started dropping overnight.

> Any insects that appear to be colonizing your plant. If you don't know what the bug is, /r/whatsthisbug can help you identify it.
* A couple weeks ago we developed a fungus gnat situation. We sprinkled diatomaceous earth on the top of the soil, which seems to have wiped them out (haven't seen any in a while).

> If your plant has been recently re-potted, transplanted, fertilized, or moved to a new location.
* It's been in the same pot & same location since it arrived.

> What kind of soil the plant is in, especially if it is in a pot.
* Unsure - all the website says is "It comes potted in our soil mix to increase plant health, longevity, and growth."
* Maybe it's this? "Ingredients: compost, pine bark, coir, worm castings, perlite."

> How often you are watering your plant and how you are watering it (top/bottom/drench method, with tap water, with fertilizer, etc).
* At first we watered it about once a week. But then we read the yellowing may have been due to overwatering. So we didn't water it for a while and let the soil really dry out. We then watered it again, and soon after that (I think the next day), the yellow leaves appeared.
* I recently watered it again, and the next day it was way droopier (current photo is from this time.)
* Most recently I watered with tap water. I use a watering can to pour some water on the soil and let it soak in. No fertilizer.

> Light exposure to your plant (full, partial, shade, indoors, artificial lighting, etc).
* It's in our kitchen away from direct sunlight from the windows, but we have our windows open all day and get a lot of natural light within the apartment.

> If your plant is in a pot: indicate the size and type of pot, if the pot has drainage holes or not, and when your plant was last re-potted.
* 5.5" H x 7" W
* "The Prospect Planter does not have a drainage hole. It has a layer of porous lava rocks lining the bottom to ensure proper drainage."

Start by holding the plant in its pot and tipping it upside down for about a minute so any excess water can run out. Then remove the loose soil from the surface until you start to see some surface roots. Leave just enough soil on top to barely cover the roots.

They allow the surface of the remaining soil to dry before giving it just enough water so that it dries out again in about a week. You will have to experiment to determine what that amount is

Your Fern wants lots of bright indirect sunlight. That would be very close to a north window or just beyond the direct rays of the sun in any other window. If it is more than 5 feet from any window, it is not getting adequate light.

It is hard to tell how much damage was done so far. Once you get the watering and light under control, you should see a gradual decline in leaf loss and improvement in new leaf growth. Be patient as it will take time to recover.