Asplenium nidus: Bird’s Nest Fern
Because of their inimitable beauty, ferns are favourite house plants. Unfortunately most do not tolerate sun or direct light, both of which are usually plentiful in modern households. For this reason it is necessary to select species that are epiphytes in the wild and thus are accustomed not only to ample light but also to occasional lack of moisture or decreased atmospheric humidity.
nidus is a member of a genus numbering some 700 species. The species grows as an epiphyte in the tropics throughout the whole of the eastern hemisphere, from India to Australia, and makes a perfect house plant.
The shape of asplenium indicates that it makes the most of all the available rainwater when growing in the wild. The rosette of fronds captures not only life-giving humus but also directs rainwater straight down to the roots. Since the plant obviously likes water, when asplenium is used as a house plant, the root ball should never be allowed to dry out, be it grown as an epiphyte on a trunk (keep in mind, however, that the fronds may reach a length of 1 m [1 yd]), or in the traditional manner in a flower pot using a potting compost **page**. 22). Aspleniums appreciate a warm atmosphere and frequent misting of the foliage. Feeding is the same as for other epiphytes: organic fertilizers in ten per cent concentration should be applied during the growing period, in other words from spring until early autumn.