Asplenium nidus

birds nest fern
Broad strappy green lime green leaves unfurl from a central rosette. Epiphytic. Good mounted, in pots, or well drained soil.
height 2–4ft
width 2–4ft
tolerates Pots
When soil surface is damp
Water when soil surface is still damp. This plant likes to stay evenly moist. When you touch the surface and it’s no longer squishy and soggy, but feels like a well-wrung sponge, it’s time to water. Often these plants can be left in a little standing water to extend the watering cycle. This plant could be watered several times a week, or less if lleft standing in some water each watering cycle. Remember a smaller pot will dry out faster, so if it’s a tiny 4 inch pot you might water daily.
exposure Bright Indirect – Partial Direct
fertilizing Acid 1/2 Strength
origin Australia
15–17, 20–24

Sunset Zones Map

Indoor Exposure Guide


Direct Sun
Beams of light hitting the plant near a window four or more hours a day. The most intense light. If you're in a direct sun spot, you can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.

Partial Direct
Occurs when you have a plant that is in less intense direct sunlight. This happens when a plant is in a few hours of direct morning sun, or an hour or less of direct afternoon sun. It also happens when a plant is in direct sun, but more than six feet from a window, where the light is diffused.

Bright Indirect
This is just beyond the direct beam of light (or through cracked blinds or a sheer curtain filtering direct sun). Bright indirect areas are characterized by a place where you can sit and read a novel comfortably without artificial light.

Moderate Indirect
Beyond the bright indirect light. In these areas you wouldn't turn on a light walking through the room, but if you were hanging out there you would probably have the lights on, even during the day.

Low Light
Dim spots, usually the backs of rooms or hallways where you would always turn lights on, even if just walking in to grab something.


Growing Notes

Since this plant likes water, but is often epiphytic (living in the cracks of trees) in nature it’s especially important to have good drainage.
Can be mounted using sphagnum moss, or a mix of sphagnum moss and orchid bark. Attach to a panel, tree, fence or rock. Use fishing line or nylon that won’t decompose over time.

Special Interest

Amazing mounted plant; viewed from below dappled light glows through the green leaves like panels of tinted glass.

More Info

This plant has been grown to be a houseplant, but also excels outdoors in mild climates. See sunset zones if you are interested in growing this plant outside. Also note that anytime a houseplant is moved outside some transitional stresses should be expected, including burning (when a plant that can and in fact would often prefer to grow in direct sunlight has not been cultivated in direct sun) and also drooping or leaf drop (usually associated with a shift in temperature.) Planting outdoors during mild weather will help negate these effects and generally if properly cared for this plant will rebound from them with new acclimated growth.