A: Bird’s-nest fern, Asplenium nidus, is a large epiphytic fern, with erect, simple, wavy, bright green leaves which can reach lengths of 4 feet. Asplenium nidus `Crispafolium’, the wavy Bird’s-nest fern, is similar to Bird’s-nest fern but fronds are much wavier. This plant grows best in warmer, humid climates. It does not tolerate temperatures below 40°F. Bird’s nest fern needs continual moist soil; it should never be allowed to go dry between watering. The linear lines you see are spores from which new plants can be propagated. The large dead areas are probably caused by fungal spores. Plants often have disease issues when grown out of their preferred environment. Bird’s nest ferns might work best in interior environments here as long as they are receiving sufficient humidity such as a bright, sunny bathroom. In additional, this plant, when grown outside, prefers shady sites so placing it in full sun areas can cause even more stress. If you plan to keep it, you might consider moving it to a different site, perhaps a screened pool area or under large shade trees. The plant may grow better in protected areas, away from dry cool air or full sunny spots. In south Florida, these plants are often hung under tree limbs to give them dappled light, high humidity and temperature protection, in other words… the perfect environment.
Q: I am having large dead areas on the leaves of my bird’s nest fern. What is wrong with it?