Asplenium antiquum
Bird's Nest Fern

The Asplenium antiquum, an epiphytic fern, is a distinctive houseplant with a natural elegance and lush, green fronds that resemble a bird's nest. Native to East Asian and Australian forests, this fern is favoured for its easy-care nature and the lush, tropical ambience it adds to indoor spaces.

Optimal Growing Conditions
Light: Bird's Nest Ferns enjoy bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch their fronds, so a window without direct sun or a shaded spot in a brighter room would be ideal.

Temperature: This fern prefers warm, humid conditions typical of its native habitat. Aim to keep your indoor temperature between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius (65 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) for optimal growth.
Bird's Nest Ferns thrive in moist, but not waterlogged, conditions. In a Cup O Flora self-watering pot, just be sure that the outer pot has approximately 1 cm of water. If using a simple pot, water once the top few centimetres of soil feel dry to the touch, ensuring you avoid water accumulating in the centre of the fronds, which can cause rot. In winter, reduce watering but make sure the central 'nest' of the fern does not completely dry out.

Humidity: Ferns benefit from increased humidity. A bathroom with a window or kitchen can provide a good environment, or you can use a humidifier to achieve the desired humidity levels.

Feeding and Fertilisation: Feed your Bird's Nest Fern with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser diluted to half the recommended strength during the growing season (spring and summer). During the dormant period in autumn and winter, reduce feeding to once every two months.

Pruning and Maintenance: Pruning is seldom necessary for the Bird's Nest Fern. Remove any yellow or dead fronds to keep the plant healthy and to maintain a tidy appearance. Always cut close to the soil and be careful not to damage the central rosette.

Soil and Potting: A well-draining potting mix is essential for the Bird's Nest Fern. A mixture of peat, pine bark, and perlite or vermiculite will provide the right balance of drainage and moisture retention. Cup O Flora's high-quality potting mix is ideal.

Re-potting: In the right environment, Ferns can grow fast, and will start to have pups that can be moved to a new pot. The plant showing signs of stress like decolouring of leaves is a sign that re-potting is needed. Follow these steps for smooth repotting:

1. Buy a new pot from your nearest retailer or order one here (consider a larger vessel to give the plant room to grow).

2. Insert the wick into the new pot and fill a third of the insert with a high-quality potting mix.
3. Extract the overgrown plant with the soil and use your fingers to split the pups from the main plant. Now, position the plant in the centre and cover the roots with more soil. Gently tap the inner cup on the table to compact the soil and eliminate air pockets (use a cloth to ensure the glass is not damaged). Repeat the same method for the other plants you split.

Bird's Nes in a Ribbed Cup O Flora pot

Troubleshooting and Common Issues

Overwatering and poor drainage are the primary culprits for issues with Bird's Nest Ferns. Self-watering vessels will eliminate this issue. For regular pots, ensure that your potting mix is free-draining and that you adjust your watering schedule according to the season.

Q: Can my Bird's Nest Fern live outside?
A: It can during the warmer months, but protect it from direct sunlight and heavy rain. Bring it indoors before the temperature drops too much.

Q: How often should I water my Bird's Nest Fern?
A: Water whenever the top layer of soil feels dry. This could be once a week or more often, depending on temperature and humidity.