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Bird’s Nest Fern – Airy? No. Easy? Yes!

February 25, 2021

For those of you who love the idea of airy ferns forming a foamy sea of green, Bird’s Nest Fern is perhaps not the pick. However, if you want to avoid figuring out how to keep the soil ‘evenly moist,’ which is prescribed for most of the airy ferns, Bird’s Nest Fern is a great choice for its bright green foliage and tough character. Bird’s Nest Fern also has earned the Award of Garden Merit by the British Horticultural Society for its performance in the UK growing environment.

Bird’s Nest Fern’s scientific name is Asplenium nidus. It thrives in shady conditions similar to its native habitat, which finds it nestled in between palms and bromeliads in the tropics. It earned its name for the resemblance to a bird’s nest hidden among other foliage. It has been used locally to ease sores and asthma.

In indoor gardening, the most common varieties include the smooth leaved and the wavy leaved (“Crispy Wave’):

Photos: Hortology.co.uk

Photos: Hortology.co.uk

While this fern does not do well in drought conditions, it can recover from a slight drying out. If you’re an observant gardener, the leaves turn a color of dull green with a sheen of gray, and feels papery when it gets dry. Not that we recommend waiting for this to happen, but should you discover this condition, it’s not too late to water and the fern would recover.

Just as a comparison, if the same condition were to occur to other ferns like Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum) or Bird’s Foot Fern (Pteris cretica ‘Albolineata’), entire fronds would perish and the plant would need to send out new fronds with entirely new leaves to replace the ones that dried out.

This is one of our favorites for well-behaved and reliable pop of green in a shady spot.

To learn more about other interesting types of plants, please visit our Plant Care Guide.

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