Birds Nest Fern

Botanical name: Asplenium nidus
Common name: Bird Nest Fern

Birds Nest Fern has broad leaf like fronds to 2 metres long in a vase like a cluster. This Australian rainforest plant makes a dramatic indoor specimen particularly in a large tub or can grow happily in the ground outdoors in a shady area and even in tree limbs as it’s epiphytic. 

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Feeding is best in spring, summer and autumn with half strength liquid fertiliser applied to the soil rather than the fronds.  Remove dead fronds as they appear, but otherwise it should be fairly trouble free. 

If you’re wanting to attached a Bird’s Nest Fern to a tree, using an old stocking and some peat or sphagnum moss is probably the easiest method.  Just remove the stocking in a few months when the fern has held fast by itself.

Some varieties, like ‘Cristata’ and have divided fronds creating a cockscomb like effect, whilst others like ‘Victoria’ have a crimped margin.

Aspleniums are also known as spleenworts and are common ferns native to Australia and similar temperate areas.

Other Species

Native Birds Nest Fern (Aspleniumaustralasicum) is an epiphytic fern that often grows on gum trees, palm trees and in rock crevices in wet sclerophyll forest areas, catching leaves in their open vase and using this for recycling nutrients.  They need protection from the sun and regular water to thrive.  The are also called Crow’s Nest Ferns.

Hen and chicken fern (Asplenium bulbiferum) is a species native to New Zealand but is popular all around the world.  It grows in sheltered sun positions and gets its name from its tendency to produce baby ferns at the ends of each frond.  These can be raised and grown into new plants easily by removing them and placing them onto a layer of moist peat moss.  It is also known as Mother Fern.


By: Meredith Kirton