Bird’s Nest Ferns

Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium australsicum), is native to Australia’s east coast from Cape York in Queensland down to the south coast of New South Wales. In its natural habitat it’s found in moist and sheltered forests where it grows on trees or rocks but is happy to grow in urban settings in protected gardens and also indoors.

Bird’s nest ferns have a striking upright vase shape which adds structural interest and with green fronds reaching up to 1.5 m long can create a wonderful garden focal point.

Birds nest ferns look at home in both tropical or rainforest themed gardens and make a beautiful leafy indoor potted plant or inclusion in a vertical green wall. They can also be used in kokedama (Japanese moss ball) creations where they look delightfully like a pineapple!

Moist, well drained soil is a must for these ferns and they prefer a full shade or partly shaded spot that is protected from frost, strong winds and harsh afternoon sun. They can be grown in cool zones if a protected microclimate can be created.

The fern gully in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra is testament to the ability of bird’s nest ferns being able to be grown in cold areas if the right conditions exist.

Bird’s nest ferns can be given a feed each spring and autumn with Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser, which gently releases organic nutrients to promote healthy fern growth. Water ferns regularly and mulching around the root zone with organic mulch, like bark chips, will help keep the soil moist and also add valuable organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.

Bird’s nest vertical inspiration!

Bird’s nest ferns can be included in greenwall designs, like this creation from Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping. Nerida says that “the growth habit of the bird’s nest fern was perfect for this project where it helped create lush full coverage to hide the greenwall hardware. To add additional foliage colour and texture the wall also incorporates Begonia Rex-Cultorum, Philodendron ‘Xanadu’, Asparagus Meyeri (foxtail ferns), Rhoeo discolour (Moses in the Cradle) and variegated Croton”.

The vertical garden structure itself (a ‘Vicinity Greenwall’ from Martin Kellock Pots & Planters, is modular and portable and this particular greenwall has been moved 3 times to different indoor locations and still looks fantastic!

Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping specialise in the hire and maintenance of beautiful indoor plants and complementary containers for commercial, residential, event hire and home staging. She’s constantly experimenting with plants to find varieties that will perform well indoors, particularly with the increasing popularity of greenwalls.

Nerida is part of the Interior Plantscape Assocation and you can see some of Nerida’s fantastic work on her Facebook page (Nerida’s Interior Plantscaping) and Instagram @neridasplants.



This area is for general comments from members of the public. Some questions or comments may not receive a reply from Yates. For specific gardening advice visit Ask an expert Alternatively you may wish to contact us.

Annual Garden Calender