Asplenium australasicum – the Bird’s Nest Fern
One of the outstanding ferns for the garden is the Bird’s Nest Fern – Asplenium australasicum.
Native to the rainforest areas of New South Wales and Queensland the Bird’s Nest fern makes an excellent specimen in a shaded position in the garden or in a fernery.
Also grown in containers as an indoor plant or on on a shaded patio the broad green foliage radiates out in a circular fashion. The plant grows well in protected areas as far south as Melbourne.
Excellent in the garden in a shaded rockery or beneath large trees, the Birds Nest Fern can be also be grown on trees as it is really an epiphytic fern. The large bold foliage makes this an excellent structural plant and a mature clump can be dramatic addition to the garden.
Plants can reach a large size with individual fronds reaching over 1m in length. And yes it does look a little like a nest from above.
Care and Growing Conditions
A humus rich, moist but well drained soil is best, dig in lots of organic matter before planting. wet clay soils are not suitable.
Fertilize with a liquid seaweed fertilizer in spring and again in late summer. A slow release type fertilizer in spring could also be used. Plants should be kept moist.
Pruning is not really required although the fussy gardener may wish to remove old dead fronds for the sake of appearance.
Make sure you provide appropriate shade if growing outside, shade cloth, a south facing position and filtered rather than direct sun light.
If you are considering transplanting a Birds Nest fern, you will need to take a large rootball, so be prepared for a little digging.