Bird's-nest fern, also known as Asplenium nidus, is a bright green fern with frilly fronds. It gets its name from its appearance, because if you look in the center of the plant, it resembles a bird’s nest. (You might have to squint.) While other ferns have delicate fronds with many leaflets connected by a central stem, the fronds of bird’s-nest fern are unmistakable: they’re wide, with no leaflet divisions, and they have wavy, curved edges. Learn more about bird’s-nest fern below, and read about our favorite ferns that can stand up to Southern heat.
About Bird’s-Nest Fern
Asplenium species belong to the family Aspleniaceae. They have apple green, even lime green, foliage. Their showy fronds are undivided and can grow to 4 feet long by 8 inches wide. The frond cluster grows upright in a grouping from to 2-3 feet wide. Related species include Asplenium bulbiferum, or mother fern; Asplenium platyneuron, or ebony spleenwort; Asplenium rhizophyllum, or walking fern; and Asplenium scolopendrium, or Hart’s tongue fern.
Bird’s-Nest Fern Care
Asplenium nidus, or bird’s-nest fern, thrives in partial or full shade and requires regular water. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, “Unlike many other ferns, they need a rest period from late fall to early spring when grown indoors; during that time, reduce watering and withhold fertilizer.” It likes well-draining soil, and it is also good in rock gardens.
Bird’s-Nest Fern Shade Tolerance
This fern thrives in low light environments, which makes it an ideal choice for your roster of houseplants. If you have a dearth of sunny windows, or if that windowsill space is taken up by your sun-hungry herb garden, then cultivate bird’s-nest ferns, which can tolerate shady spaces. They can also thrive in some sunlight; The New Southern Living Garden Book says, “Indoor plants like bright filtered light; a spot in an east-facing window is ideal. Outdoors, they prefer gritty, well-drained soil.”
WATCH: Shade-Loving Fall Planter with Buffy Hargett
What’s your favorite indoor plant? Are you someone who loves ferns, or do you have other preferred plants for hanging baskets?