An Indoor Fern We Can't Help but Fall For

We love bird's-nest fern, yes we do.

Bird's-nest fern, also known as Asplenium nidus, is a bright green fern with frilly fronds. It gets its name from its appearance, because if you look in the center of the plant, it resembles a bird's nest. (You might have to squint.) While other ferns have delicate fronds with many leaflets connected by a central stem, the fronds of bird's-nest fern are unmistakable: They're wide, with no leaflet divisions, and they have wavy, curved edges. Learn more about bird's-nest fern below, and read about one of our favorite ferns that can stand up to Southern heat.

Bird's Nest Fern
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About Bird's-Nest Fern

Asplenium species belong to the family Aspleniaceae. They have apple green, even lime green, foliage. Their showy fronds are undivided and can grow to 3-5 feet long by 8 inches wide. The frond cluster grows upright in a grouping from to 2-3 feet wide. Related species include Asplenium bulbiferum, or mother fern; Asplenium platyneuron, or ebony spleenwort; Asplenium rhizophyllum, or walking fern; and Asplenium scolopendrium, or Hart's tongue fern.

Bird's-Nest Fern Care

Asplenium nidus, or bird's-nest fern, thrives in partial or full shade and requires regular water. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, ″Unlike many other ferns, they need a rest period from late fall to early spring when grown indoors; during that time, reduce watering and withhold fertilizer.″ It likes well-draining soil, and it is also good in rock gardens.

Bird's-Nest Fern Shade Tolerance

This fern thrives in low light environments, which makes it an ideal choice for your roster of houseplants. If you have a dearth of sunny windows, or if that windowsill space is taken up by your sun-hungry herb garden, then cultivate bird's-nest ferns, which can tolerate shady spaces. They can also thrive in some sunlight; The New Southern Living Garden Book says, ″Indoor plants like bright filtered light; a spot in an east-facing window is ideal. Outdoors, they prefer gritty, well-drained soil."

What's your favorite indoor plant? Are you someone who loves ferns, or do you have other preferred plants for hanging baskets?

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  1. Asplenium nidus L. U.S. Department of Agriculture Plants Database.

  2. Asplenium nidus (Birds Nest Fern, Nest Fern). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

  3. Asplenium bulbiferum (Hen and Chickens Fern, Mother Fern, Mother Spleenwort, New Zealand Common Spleenwort, Pikopiko). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

  4. Asplenium platyneuron (Brownstem Spleenwort, Ebony Spleenwort). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

  5. Asplenium rhizophyllum (North American Walking Fern, Walking Fern). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

  6. Asplenium scolopendrium. Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.

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