Apartment plants

Bird's nest fern, Stag tongue - Asplenium nidus

Bird's nest fern, Stag tongue - Asplenium nidus

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Native to tropical Asia and the Pacific islands.
Height 0.6-l, 2 m, diameter 30-60 cm. ASPLENIUM NIDUS is in nature an epiphytic species that grows on trees: hence its specific name; commonly called also a bird's nest fern or deer tongue.
The shiny, bright green, whole and lanceolate fronds form a regular rosette that can grow up to 0.9 m or more.
To the genre asplenium belong hundreds of species of ferns, widespread in most of the forests of the globe; A. nidus is an epiphytic species of Asian and Australian origin, very common as a houseplant. It produces large clumps, which, as its botanical name suggests, resemble the birds' nest; the fronds of a bird's nest fern sprouting from the center of the head, at first rolled up, develop into long lanceolate, arched fronds, which can reach one meter in length. They are light green in color, furrowed by an evident vein, of a very almost black color on the underside of the frond; the consistency is papyrus and often have a fairly wrinkled appearance. A single plant can reach 100-130 cm in height by 70-90 cm in diameter. Sometimes the falling basal leaves give rise to a short dark stem; below the fronds spores are produced, gathered in linear groups.


Diffused light, never direct sun
the asplenium nidus is grown in a bright place but away from direct sunlight, which can irreparably burn the fronds, which in this case must be removed at the base. The bird's nest fern fears the cold, therefore it is cultivated as a houseplant, with a minimum temperature not lower than 15-18 ° C.
The temperature is good both constant throughout the year between 18 and 24 degrees.


From March to October water the venison tongue plants regularly, keeping the soil constantly moist but not soaked with water; during the coldest months we water only sporadically, avoiding however that the substrate dry completely. During the vegetative period we supply the bird's nest fern with a fertilizer for green plants, mixed with the water used for watering. Throughout the year it is advisable to frequently vaporize the branches of the venison tongue.
The soil must always remain moist but not soaked with water, so when it is hot you have to water 2 or 3 times a week. In autumn it is good to thin out the waterings. Water should be sprayed on the leaves to create moisture.


They prefer a soft soil, rich in organic matter and not too heavy; generally a substratum consisting of two parts of peat, a part of sand or perlite, a part of universal soil and a part of bark not too chopped is used. The asplenium is repotted every 2-3 years.


It occurs by sowing, sowing spores towards the end of winter; or proceed by dividing the clumps and maintaining well-developed roots for each portion practiced.
For the reproduction of these specimens it is possible to use spores, but being too delicate the operation involves the transplanting of the seedlings that are formed in the fronds in compost formed by peat and damp sand, putting the seedling in the shade possibly under 15 plastic degrees.

Pests and diseases

They fear the attack of aphids and cochineal; if the soil becomes very heavy it may happen that the asplenium is attacked by root rot or botrytis.

Bird's nest fern, Stag tongue - Asplenium nidus: Species

A. nigrum. Coming from the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere and from Italy. Rustic species, suitable for the rock garden and dry stone walls.
Height and diameter 20-30 cm and more.
It has glossy fronds, with black, bipinnate, triangular petioles. The single pinnules, with incised margins, are ovate-cuneate.
A. bulbiferum. Australia, New Zealand. Height 45-60 cm, diameter 60-90 cm. Greenhouse or apartment species.
Lanceolate fronds, medium green, finely divided; the fronds often carry bulbils on the margins, which, when they are still joined to the mother plant, give rise to new plants.
A. flabelifolium. Australia, New Zealand. Height 7-8 cm, diameter 30 cm. This species is cultivated in hanging baskets, in a cold greenhouse;
the fronds, pale green, linear, are long and sparse, small pinnule choirs, fan-shaped, forming seedlings on the fronds themselves.
A. sept desired. Northern Hemisphere, Italy. Height 10-20 cm, diameter 5-15 cm. Rustic species, to be grown in the rock garden. The fronds, glabrous, are divided into 2-5 lanceolate-linear segments.
A. trichomanes (grass rust). Temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, Italy. Height and diameter 10-30cm. Rustic species, which grows in calcareous soils. excellent as a pot plant and for the rock garden.
The fronds have petioles and are pinnate, formed by oval pinnules with black veins and lower page covered, in summer-autumn, of rust-colored sporangia
A. viride. Northern Hemisphere, Italy. Height and diameter 10-25 cm. It is a rustic species, suitable for the rock garden and dry stone walls;
the fronds are pinnate, with brown petioles at the base and green above. The pinnulae are ovate-rhomboid
A. masonry (wall elevation). Europe, Italy. Height and diameter lO-l5 cm. Rustic species, suitable for the rock garden;
the fronds have brown petioles at the base and bi-triplet pinnules, with smaller segments of variable form.