The bird nest fern, Asplenium nidus, is tropical in nature with its origin traced to South East Asia. It is a common plant in India, Japan and Queen’s Land. It can grow on trees, rocks or in soil.
Its lush green foliage acts as a foil for flowering plants. Picture it surrounded by the jewel-toned blossoms of Impatiens.
Asplenium nidus also looks good when juxtaposed against plants with contrasting foliage.
Asplenium nidus forms a huge rosette as the new fronds roll out from the center.
The older fronds grow outward to make space for the new ones.
The fronds are long, medium green in color and glossy with a dark midrib and wavy margins.
They can grow to a length of 4 feet. Spore cases form on their undersides.
Under ideal growing conditions, the plant can reach 5 feet in height and 3 feet in width. This fern is fast growing and lives for many years when properly cared for.
It can be grown indoors in a container or outside in the ground.
Potted specimens will need to be shifted into larger containers every other year.
Plants in the ground or in large tubs will sometimes produce offspring.
Check under the lower leaves of a large plant for little replicas.
You can dig these up and pot them separately once they are several inches tall.
To plant a bird nest fern, prepare the soil by mixing in compost or manure. Plant the fern in a hole double the size of its root ball. Follow by mulching to prevent weed growth and keep the soil moist.
When buying ferns, purchase those with fronds that are healthy green and not yellow or brown with holes.
Bird nest fern likes to be grown in shade and prefers indirect sunlight, humidity and plentiful water in summer. Moist but well draining coarse soil is best for the plant.
Feed A. nidus during active growth. Temperatures below 65 degrees F. will slow the fern's growth rate.
The bird's nest fern is hardy in zones 9-11.
Reduce watering in winter.
Spring is the best time to prune a bird's nest by removing old or brown fronds.
The spore cases on the fronds of the bird nest fern add to the beauty of the plant.
The presence of this fern accentuates the beauty and brings a dramatic dimension to your garden as it is one of the most important plants in the foliage category.
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