HOW TO CARE FOR BIRD'S NEST FERNS

The interesting looking plant you need, if you want a bit of the tropics in your home. 

written by Gabrielle Smith

ABOUT BIRD'S NEST FERNS:

The Asplenium nidus, also known as the Bird’s Nest Fern plant, is relatively easy to care for and is recommended for plant owners with some experience. This plant is native to the tropical rainforests of East Africa, Hawaii, and Australia where it grows in the bends of tree branches and the surfaces of other plants. The Bird’s Nest Fern thrives in indoor conditions that replicate its native environment of high humidity and filtered sunlight. A unique characteristic of this plant, is the Bird’s Nest Fern produces spores that develop on the bottom side of the fronds and can be collected in the Bird’s Nest Fern propagation process.

Botanical Name:Asplenium nidus 
Common Names(s):Green Velvet Alocasia, Alocasia Frydek, Elephant’s Ear
Plant 
Plant Type:Fern
Place of Origin:
East Africa, Hawaii, Australia, and southeast Asia. 
Sun Exposure:Filtered Sun
Seasonality:Spring, Summer
Toxicity:Safe for cats and dogs 
Varities:Crissie, Leslie, Osaka, Lasagne Fern, Parks’ Asplenium,
Asplenium viviparum, Kunze, Silver Wing

HOW MUCH WATER DOES A BIRD'S NEST FERN NEED?

The Bird’s Nest Fern prefers consistently moist soil. Water your fern about every 7 days with ½ an inch of filtered water or until the soil is completely moist. Only water your Bird’s Nest Fern once the top inch of soil is completely dry. Be sure to always water directly on to the soil, as this will protect your plant from potential mold growth. During the winter months your Bird’s Nest Fern will require less water due to the soil remaining moist for longer. A helpful way to check your Bird’s Nest Fern's water needs is to use your finger to press about an inch into the soil to feel for moisture.  If the soil is still moist, you can wait longer to water your plant. You can also check your Flora App paired with your Flora Pod ™ Sensor for an accurate moisture level reading.

HOW MUCH LIGHT DOES A BIRD'S NEST FERN NEED?

Do Parlor Palms Need Tons of Sunlight? 
Native to the tropical climates of Australia and East Africa, your Bird’s Nest should be placed in a location where it receives filtered sun that replicates the canopy of the rainforest. Filtered sun is when the sun’s exposure is being filtered through a sheer curtain, or is not able to have the sun’s rays directly hit the leaves of your Bird’s Nest Fern. The ideal indoor location for your Bird’s Nest Fern is about 5 feet away from a southern or western-facing window. This will provide a touch of direct light for no more than 1 hour a day before that direct exposure is once again obstructed. 

Try Fluorescent Lighting!  
The ideal lighting condition for your Bird’s Nest Fern is a combination of natural and fluorescent lights. If your home does not have any natural light, your Bird’s Nest Fern will thrive under garden lights such as the T5 fluorescent light that produces blue light and will protect your plant from overheating or scorched leaves. Ensure your Bird’s Nest Fern is positioned about 12 inches below the fluorescent lights to protect the leaves from becoming burnt from too high temperatures. 

BIRD'S NEST FERN TEMPERATURE:

An ideal temperature for a Bird’s Nest Fern ranges between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although high temperature is preferred, your Bird’s Nest Fern will be perfectly fine in average room temperature between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep Your Parlor Palm Away From The Cold!
Despite the fact that the Bird’s Nest Fern can handle varying temperatures, it is important that your plant is not exposed to temperatures that are too low, particularly anything lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Low temperatures will cause damage to your Bird’s Nest Fern or even death. Whilst indoors, be sure to protect your fern from cold drafts or prolonged exposure to air conditioner units. Both cold drafts and air conditioners can cause potential damage to your fern.

BIRD'S NEST FERN HUMIDITY:

In addition to high temperatures the Bird’s Nest Fern also prefers high humidity. High humidity is between levels of 50 and 80 percent. Due to its need for high humidity, this plant would be perfect as an addition to a home bathroom. In order to increase humidity levels for your Bird’s Nest Fern, occasionally mist its leaves with water or place a tray of moist stones underneath the pot of the plant. Both of these methods will ensure your plant is receiving the high humidity levels it loves.

BIRD'S NEST FERN PROBLEMS: 

The Bird’s Nest Fern is a sensitive plant that can often fall victim to different pests and diseases if not actively taken care of. 

1. Bacterial Blight - Is your Bird's Nest Fern turning yellow? One of the most common Bird's Nest Fern diseases is bacterial blight. This occurs when your plant has been overwatered and the leaves of your fern begin to lose its bright color and become translucent. Once you spot bacterial blight on your plant be sure to immediately remove the leaves that have been infected. Unfortunately, if the disease continues to spread, most pesticides are not effective and you may have to dispose of your plant. In order to protect your plant from bacterial blight it is essential to only water your Bird’s Nest Fern at the soil and never at the crown of the plant.

3. Mealybugs, Scale, Spider Mites - In addition to bacterial blight, pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale can cause growth and health issues for your Bird’s Nest Fern. These pests typically infest Bird’s Nest Ferns through contact with a nearby plant that you recently brought into your home. The best way to protect your plant from these pests is by regularly removing all dead leaves from the pot and removing dust from leaves using a damp cloth. 

Use the Flora App to ensure all of your plant's needs are being met. Flora will send you alerts and reminders to let you know when it's time for your plant to be watered as well as give you a detailed guide on the optimal conditions to help your plant to thrive!