Asplenium australasicum, commonly known as the ‘Bird’s nest fern’, 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.
Australian native plants like 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. Yates Dynamic Lifter will also add rich organic matter to the soil, which improves the quality of the soil and attracts beneficial earthworms and soil microorganisms.
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.