Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus ) is a perennial shade herbaceous foliage plant. It is an epiphytic fern native to southeastern Asia. It is widely distributed in tropical areas of eastern Australia, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, and eastern Africa, and China.
Bird’s nest fern is usually attached to tree trunks or rocks in rain forests or monsoon forests. It likes high temperature and humidity and is not resistant to strong light.
Well-grown bird’s nest fern plant is about 80-100 cm tall. Its leaves clustered as a bird’s nest. The widest part of the middle is 6.5-8.5 cm, gradually narrowing down and extending downward. The leaf blade is wide lanceolate, and the leaves are leathery, brownish-green, or light brown after drying.
Main values of bird’s nest fern plant
01. Ornamental value
Bird’s nest fern is a large shaded foliage plant. It brings beautiful tropical looks indoors. The small potted plants are used to decorate bright living rooms, meeting rooms, study rooms, and bedrooms. It is also planted under tropical garden trees or on rocks.
02. Air purifying value
Bird’s nest fern is an efficient air freshener. Its large lush green leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release huge amounts of oxygen through photosynthesis. So it is making the enclosed indoor air fresh.
03. Edible value
The edible part of the bird’s nest fern is its bud. After picking the bird’s nest fern, rinse it with clean water. Then slightly blanch it in boiling water. Finally, drain the water, add several seasonings, and cook or stir-fry with other ingredients.
04. Medicinal value
Bird’s nest fern is rich in vitamin A, potassium, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, etc. Bird’s nest fern tastes bitter and warm and enters the kidney and liver. It has the function of strengthening muscles and bones, promoting blood circulation, and removing blood stasis. Also, it can use for traumatic injuries, wounds, headaches, and impotence.
Breeding techniques of bird’s nest fern
The main reproduce methods of bird’s nest fern are spores, ramets, and tissue culture.
01. Spores reproduction
Mix fine sand and humus soil well and sterilize at high temperatures. Put them into the seeding pot and flatten. Spread the mature bird’s nest fern spores evenly on the potting soil. Then immerse the pot in slight water to take benefit of the osmotic effect.
After the pot is sufficiently wet, cover it and placed it in the shade. It will take 7-10 days to spore germination. After about one month, it will grow green prothallium. After three months, it has grown a few true leaves, and it can cultivate in pots.
02. Ramets breeding
Select healthy plants, cut their rhizomes, leaves, and root clumps into several pieces, or split off the side plants and cut off 1/2 of the leaves. This is generally suitable in mid-to-late April. Put the pots separately and cover them with a small amount of leaf soil to create a humid, ventilated and well-drained environment for them.
If the ambient temperature is controlled at about 25°C, the plant’s survival rate is high. Pay attention to the potting soil not to be too wet to avoid rot. Ramets are the most effective breeding method for flower lovers.
03. Tissue culture
The short terminal stems, young leaves, or spores can be used as explants for tissue culture for productive mass propagation. Bird’s nest fern can cultivate a large number of commercial seedlings of uniform specifications in a short time through this rapid propagation.
Bird’s nest fern main caring points
The suitable temperature for bird’s nest fern growth is 16°C to 27°C. However, it varies which it is 22°C to 27°C from March to October, and 16°C to 22°C from October to March of the year.
In summer, when the temperature exceeds 30°C, it is important to reduce temperature and increase humidity. To control these situations, you can set up shelters to shade and spray water to control the humidity of the bird’s nest fern. So it will help to maintain vigorous growth.
Whether bird’s nest fern is household potted or productive cultivation, it is best to keep the shelter temperature above 15℃ in winter so that it can continue to grow. If you can’t provide this environment, at least keep the shed temperature not lower than 5℃. If not, It is easy to cause its leaf edge to turn brown, and it may even cause plant death due to cold damage.
The native environment of the bird’s nest fern is in the humid forest. It is more ecological and can grow normally with a small amount of scattered light. Therefore, the potted plants should keep in bright indoor places all year round.
You can place it in the outdoor shade or a greenhouse for a short time In the spring and autumn. It is more helpful to its growth and can increase the luster of the leaf surface.
Potted bird’s nest fern should not be exposed to the sun. Otherwise, the plant will have abnormal appearances such as deterioration of leaf color, yellowing, leaf burns, and leaf edge scorching. In addition, it will reduce your plant’s ornamental value.
It would be best if you placed bird’s nest fern under a shade of more than 70% in summer. It is more beneficial to its growth. If it is kept in a room in winter, you should provide the lighting properly. You can provide additional artificial lighting for dark places.
Potted bird’s nest fern requires the potting soil to be moist and requires high relative air humidity. Therefore, watering should be sufficient in the growing season, especially in summer.
In addition to frequent watering of the cultivation substrate, you must spray the foliage 2 to 3 times a day. Furthermore, you must sprinkle the surrounding ground with water for humidification to maintain high air humidity in the local environment. It can increase the luster of the leaf surface and is very beneficial to the germination of spore leaves.
If the potting soil lacks water or the air is dry, it is easy to cause the leaf edge to become dry and curled. It is better to keep the potting soil moist when the temperature is low in winter. You can spray more and less watering to avoid root rot due to excessive water in the potting soil under low-temperature conditions.
Bird’s nest fern can tolerate a short period of dry environment because its leaves are leathery, preventing water evaporation. Because of this, it is more suitable for indoor cultivation and ornamental display.
You can use mainly humus soil, peat soil, vermiculite for bird’s nest fern potting soil. Those can mix with a small amount of river sand or fern roots, crushed barks, moss or crushed bricks, and a small amount of humus soil.
Larger pots are good for planting bird’s nest fern. In addition, a small amount of crushed lime can be added to the pot in spring each year, which is beneficial to the growth and development of its collateral progeny.
It’s best to use porous flower pots or porous plastic baskets as containers, put 1/3 of the crushed bricks on the bottom of the pot, and add fern roots, bark blocks, moss, leaf soil, etc. Then, cover the roots of the bird’s nest fern so that it will grow more vigorously.
You can change the pot once every two years for the potted bird’s nest fern. Remove it from the pot, shake off the soil, cut off some extra roots and yellow leaves. You can also plant the removed seed plants separately and replace the old plants.
The special shape and structure of the bird’s nest fern help it absorb water and nutrients. Its rhizomes are short and densely scaly and produce large spongy fibrous roots, absorbing more water.
The leaves grow radially on the top of the rhizome and shape a bird’s nest or a hollow funnel. In their native environment, they can collect fallen leaves and rainwater in their nests. These substances are transformed into humus, which can be used as an important part of its own nutrient source.
Applying a thin fertilizer of balanced nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium every half a month during its active growth season is advisable. It can promote the growth of a large number of new leaves.
If the plant lacks fertilizer, the edge of the leaf will also turn brown. You should stop all forms of fertilizing if the temperature in summer is higher than 32°C, and the temperature in the shelter in winter is lower than 15°C.
Pest control of bird’s nest fern
In an environment with high temperature, high humidity, and poor ventilation, the leaves are susceptive to anthracnose. The diseased spots are brown, with obvious ring patterns in the later stage.
At the initial stage of the disease, use 75% chlorothalonil WP 600 liquid, or 70% thiophanate methyl WP 1000 times liquid to spray regularly. Then, you can spray once every 10 days, 3 to 4 times in a row. In addition, you should take care to prevent sunburn and cold damage.
Insect pests nematodes
Nematodes harm the bird’s nest fern and can cause brown net-like spots on the leaves. To prevent these pests, you can spray carbofuran on the surface of pot soil, and its insecticidal effect is better.
In addition, you should also prevent the gnawing leaves of short-headed insects and snails in time to better plant growth.