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  • Common name: Bird’s nest fern, nest fern, birdsnest
  • Scientific name: Asplenium nidus
  • Family name: Aspleniaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia, Australia, Hawaii
  • Height: 6.6 ft
  • Width: 4 ft
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: 11-12
  • Light needs: Part shade to full shade
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Loamy soil with high organic matter content, neutral to acidic (pH 5.0-7.0). An organically rich, porous soil, such as a fern potting mix, is best for this plant. It is epiphytic, so it can also be planted on tree branches or other organic structures.
  • Moisture: High moisture needs. It should be kept in humid conditions with a consistently moist substrate.
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: Scale, mealybugs, leaf nematode, slugs, and bacterial leaf infections. Keep this plant away from direct heat and drafts to avoid damage to foliage.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a shady, humid area away from direct sunlight. If grown indoors, special attention must be given to its moisture needs, as it needs consistently moist soil. It is an epiphytic plant, so it can be grown in soil or on an organic surface, such as tree branches or a fallen tree trunk. It has shallow roots and fragile foliage, so it must be kept away from wind or drafts.
  • Characteristics: Fronds are large, ruffled and somewhat resemble banana leaves, and may grow over 6 ft long and 2 ft wide. As fronds die, they turn brown and roll back into the center of the plant, which over time forms a structure that looks like a bird’s nest. Spores develop in brown, thin lines along the leaf veins on the undersides of fronds.
  • Propagation: By spores
  • Wildlife: Provides shade for small animals. It may attract snails and slugs, who chew on its leaves.
  • Facts: It’s genus name, Asplenium, means “without a spleen”, which refers to the belief that parts of the plant could treat illnesses of the spleen. Its common name refers to the bird-nest-like structure in its center, which is caused by a combination of dead fronds and accumulated organic matter.
  • Designer considerations: Can be planted on trees to create a tropical look. It can also be used as ground cover in a shady area, and makes a great focal point due to its large size and unique fronds. Additionally, it makes a good house plant for cool and somewhat humid areas.


Ancient Garden