Asplenium nidus, or Bird's-Nest Fern, is native to Tropical Asia. It is a spectacular, epiphytic fern with apple green fronds that will reach up to 20-60 inches (50-150 cm) long by 8 inches (20 cm) wide. As the fronds age, they have a prominent blackish midrib. They make outstanding container plants and are very showy. Spores develop on the underside of fronds in long lines known as coenosori. For more information on sexual reproduction of the fern, you might be interested in this fern life cycle.
Culture: Asplenium nidus needs a bright warm, moist, humid condition with a well-drained soil mix. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. To the mix, we add a small amount of bark chips to help increase drainage and 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer for nutrition. The plants should be kept moist at all times, especially during the growing season. As the soil becomes heavy or waterlogged you should repot them as often as necessary. The plants resent heavy soil and this can cause death if left unchecked. Plants should be fertilized on a weekly basis during the growing season. Water should be somewhat restricted in the winter, but the plants should never dry out completely.
Propagation: Asplenium nidus is propagated by division or by spores. The ripe spores can be collected on a piece of paper placed under spore bearing leaves. Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. They germinate best at a temperature of 68-70 degrees (20-21°C). The growing medium should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle they can be transplanted into individual containers.
Asplenium nidus was featured as Plant of the Week March 7-13, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.