Bird's Nest Fern Care Guide

By: Lively Root
January 11, 2023
Bird's Nest Fern Care Guide
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The Bird's Nest Fern plant is easily recognizable by its adorably crinkly fronds that always look happy and welcoming. These adorable ferns look great on a coffee table or hanging from a macrame hanger.These are great air purifiers, and they have been shown to filter out formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. Caring for this species of fern is pretty simple, making it a great gift for a new plant parent or a low maintenance addition to your own collection.


Birds Nest Ferns like to be moist, but not saturated or dry. It does not do well with drought! Water when the top inch is dry, which you can figure out by using a moisture meter or poking your finger into the dirt up to your first knuckle. This means you will end up watering at least weekly during the spring and summer, but cut back slightly during the fall/winter. Use a moisture meter to check on the water levels.

Light and humidity

Ferns looooooove high humidity and to be kept in moist – not soggy – soil. Don’t let it dry out between waterings or it will start crisping at the edges! Misting your plant every day or two will help with maintaining higher humidity levels. They prefer indirect light, though they are able to adapt to lower light. Too much light will burn their delicate fronds. If your plant is not getting enough light, it will let you know by turning yellow and wilting.

Soil and fertilizer

Keep the Birds Nest Fern in clean, well-draining soil. Since they prefer to be slightly moist, it is imperative that the soil drains well, otherwise it can lead to root rot. Make sure to empty the drainage tray of the pot, too, so it is not left standing in water. Fertilize monthly with a regular houseplant fertilizer diluted with water – they do not like too much power!

Cleaning and pruning

Clean the leaves of your Birds Nest Fern by gently misting it with water and wiping it with a soft cloth. Because the leaves are crinkly, you can tear them easily so be gentle. Use clean, sharp scissors to cut the stems at the soil line to prune any browning or dying fronds. You can then add these to your compost bin or toss them into your garden to decompose!

How to Propagate

Ferns can be propagated from cuttings placed directly into soil, making them simple to grow. For an added boost, you can dip the edge of the stems into a growth hormone before potting. The hormones help stimulate growth, but know that you will have to be patient while you wait for it to root.

How to Repot

Birds Nest Ferns don’t need to be repotted frequently, so look to increase their space only every 18-24 months. Be sure to repot during the spring or summer, during their growing season. You can tell it needs to be repotted when water start running straight through it when you water – this means that it is root bound and there is very little dirt left! To repot, gently extract the plant from its current container and then put it in one 1-3” larger in diameter. Add more dirt to settle it into place, and you are set!


Remember: Birds Nest Ferns need additional humidity, so you may even wish to add a tray with pebbles and water underneath it to keep it happy. They are cute AND clean your air of various toxins, which in turn helps you feel better. The best part? These gorgeous plants are non-toxic AND pet-friendly so they can hang out within reach of pets and small children.