Crispy Wave Fern Care — Japanese Asplenium nidus Fern

Last Updated on October 21, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

Crispy wave ferns are attractive plants and are a must-have for any plant enthusiast with a passion for houseplants.

Their scientific name is Japanese asplenium nidus.

And their bright green foliage is sure to brighten up any corner of your home.

Let us have a closer look at crispy wave fern care.

Basic Crispy Wave Plant Care

The crispy wave plant needs a temperature range of 60° to 72 °F.  

Humidity must be 60 to 90%.

The soil should be rich in compost, well-aerated, and have good drainage, maintaining consistent moisture without waterlogging.

Providing fertilizer once a month during the growing season is sufficient

If you’re a plant lover but a nervous gardener, you may feel anxious about caring for a crispy wave fern. Some basic principles of crispy wave plant care simplify the process.

Background — Japanese Asplenium Nidus Fern

The Asplenium crispy wave is a unique fern popular for its beautiful shiny leaves which are green and grow in a distinguished upright manner.

They are found in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe and are part of a plant family consisting of roughly 700 species.

The crispy wave plant originates in Taiwan and Japan, where it is known to grow on rocks and branches if given the right amount of moisture.

Another name for this fern is known as birds nest fern.

Size & Growth

The Asplenium crispy wave plant is a small shrub with hardy fronds and is perfect for your kitchen and bathroom when planted in a small pot.

Its beautiful foliage sprouts from the center of the shrub and grows upright when given enough light and water.

This plant grows as big as the pot you plant it in, and looks perfect if it’s kept to a size that resembles a Japanese bonsai tree.

They’re slow growing plants which can grow roughly 18-24 inches tall and 12-18 inches in width.

Cleaner Air According To NASA

The wave fern has a great purpose. Due to the large surface area of its fronds, it has amazing air purifying capabilities. As an indoor plant, it gets rid of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, replacing them with extra oxygen.

Fun Fact

Back in the day — in the Middle Ages — this wave fern was used for medicinal purposes, treating people who had spleen issues. The birds nest fern was ground to a fine powder and made into a drink.

Asplenium comes from the Greek word asplenon and translates to spleen herb.

Question: Are They Indoor Or Outdoor Plants?

Crispy waves are grown in an indoor environment. They grow well inside your home, and it’s easier to manage their growing requirements when they’re inside.

Crispy wave plants grow naturally in tropical climates and widely spread across the globe. They have particular needs, so it’s best to keep them in your home.

Lighting Conditions

The crispy wave plant needs very little sunlight. The bit of sunlight that they need should consist of mostly indirect light. Too much direct natural light causes the base of the leaves to become yellow or brown and die.

The bathroom window sill is a perfect place for the crispy wave fern. A room with an east or north-facing window is also ideal as this is often a sunny window and will ensure the plant gets minimal amounts of direct sunlight. Add a shade or curtain to ensure that the fern receives the correct light.

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Placing your crispy wave fern in shaded environments causes the leaves to grow much flatter and deep green.

Artificial light is a great source of light to use when you feel the environment is too shaded.

Soil Type Requirements

Crispy wave plants are epiphytes. They can grow on the surface of other plants. As a result, the best soil type is rich in humus or organic matter.

The soil in your pot must be well-drained but remain constantly moist. It should feel damp when touching it rather than wet. Soggy soil makes good ground for a condition known as root rot.

Dry soil will be tolerated for a short period of time, but it shouldn’t become a habit.

Potting mixes that are heavily peat-based work well for a crispy wave fern. The roots need a lot of air, it should be loose. Organic matter, such as peat, allows air into the ground.

You can also create your own soil mixture. Simply mix equal parts of one-third perlite, potting soil, and coconut coir or peat moss. This potting mix is ideal because its well draining and, able to hold onto the moisture that the fern needs.

Encourage proper root growth, by using a speciality soil when planting this fern.

Should I Grow The Crispy Wave Fern On Another Plant?

Although crispy wave ferns grow on other plants in the wild, it isn’t easy to copy this in the home. Most people don’t have the space to have a plant or piece of wood large enough to grow the fern in their homes.

If you have a large greenhouse, try growing your crispy wave fern as an epiphyte, but it’s unnecessary. They do well on compost-based potting soil.

Watering Needs For Your Crispy Wave Fern

Crispy wave ferns need continuously moist soil, but the water must not soak the soil. Wet soil allows root rot to destroy the plant. If the soil dries out, the leaves will droop and then turn brown and die.

A common error and the biggest factor among first-time crispy fern owners is that they allow water to enter the central rosette on the fern.

The water doesn’t drain from this position. It enables mold growth, and the entire plant may rot. Avoid this by watering the crispy fern around the plant and beneath the fronds. Make use of a gooseneck watering can.

Crispy wave ferns don’t like the cold — they grow naturally in the tropics. They don’t cope with sudden temperature changes, which could occur if they are watered with cold water.

You may need to warm the tap or filter water before watering your fern. Water that’s too cold can cause the leaves to drop. Be careful about using tap water too often.

It contains fluoride particles and other toxins, which can be poisonous to your plant if they’re allowed to accumulate in the soil.

Always feel the soil between watering. If the top inches of the soil feels dry, it is OK to add more water.

What Is The Ideal Temperature?

Crispy wave ferns like warmer temperatures with high humidity. Temperatures should be between 60° – 72 °F (15°- 22 °C) and should be kept at these levels constantly.

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Avoid any sudden changes in temperature levels. This will put your fern in shock. Placing your fern near air heating systems, air conditioner or cold drafts is a no-go.

Keeping a good temperature range is the way to go when keeping your wave fern healthy.

Humidity & Moisture Needs

Seeing as these ferns come from tropical environments, the humidity in your house should be between 60 – 90%. This need for moisture is why many people choose to keep their crispy waver ferns in the bathroom. The steam from the water raises the room temperature and humidity.

The humidity around the crispy wave fern can be increased by positioning a humidifier near it.

Crispy wave ferns are excellent plants to put in a closed terrarium where the humidity is high and easily controlled.

If you feel that your house is too dry for your wave fern, there are a few things you can do to increase the humidity. Let’s learn about them.

Pebble Tray Method

Get a pebble tray and place some rocks into it. Then fill the pebble tray with water until roughly half of the rocks are covered. Place the tray underneath your plant pot. The water from the tray will start evaporating, creating a more humid climate.


Add some water to a spray bottle and lightly mist your plants leaves once in a while. This not only aids in moisture levels but also helps to keep the foliage clean. Be careful not too over mist though, prolonged moist leaves is a factor that plays a role in the development of fungal infections.

Plant Grouping

Placing your fern between a group of other houseplants will also help. Grouped plants create their own microclimate, naturally increasing moisture in the surrounding air.

All the above methods will certainly create a lovely humid environment for your fern. Plus, they are easy and inexpensive to do.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling flush, you could buy a plant humidifier.

When Should I Repot My Crispy Wave?

Crispy wave ferns are used to growing in the crooks and crannies of trees, so they are adapted to having their roots in confined spaces. They usually need a smaller pot than most plants their size.

You need to repot into a bigger size container when the plant becomes so big that it keeps tipping the pot over. Repotting the crispy wave fern is not difficult as it has a very shallow root system.

Lift the plant from the pot or container and shake some soil off. Plant it in a new container with new humus-rich soil. Ensure the soil is moist and the humidity and temperature are appropriate, and the plant should continue growing.

There may be some repotting shock where the plant looks slightly wilted, but this should resolve in a few days.

Always use pots with drainage holes to ensure proper drainage of excess water.

What Fertilizer Do I Use For My Crispy Wave?

Crispy wave ferns do not have a high need for fertilization. To protect the roots, use a diluted liquid fertilizer at half strength to feed your plant once a month. You only need to fertilize during spring and summer.

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Propagation Of The Crispy Wave

Crispy wave ferns are tough to propagate at home. They do not grow from leaf cuttings or by dividing the plant. The only way to reproduce this fern is by making a tissue culture or germinating spores.

Both of these are complex processes requiring specialist knowledge and skills. Propagating ferns from spores is most generally only successful when carried out by some sort of fern spore propagation expert.

It is best to purchase plants from nurseries or garden shops. Choose a healthy specimen with no brown spots on the leaves.

Pest & Disease Issues

The biggest and most common issue for crispy wave ferns is leaf rot due to water collecting in the central rosette. Take care to avoid this as it kills the plant rapidly.

The high humidity and soil moisture content are ideal for the development of fungal disease and mold. You can limit this by ensuring good air circulation by positioning a slow-blowing fan near the fern.

Do Insects Attack Crispy Wave Ferns?

These ferns are susceptible to small bumps which appear on the leaves and are caused by an insect infestation known as scale. The initial sign is usually gray mold on the leaves. The mold is caused by fungi that feed on the honeydew secreted by the scale.  

Remove the scale by wiping the plant with neem oil, insecticide, or rubbing alcohol. It is essential to separate the scale-infested plant from other household plants so that you do not end up with a plague in all your plants. Cut away dead leaves at the base of the fern.

My Crispy Wave Has Droopy Leaves

When the crispy wave fern is grown indoors, its fronds may appear to grow sideways rather than upwards. This may give them a droopy appearance. As long as the leaves don’t also appear limp, with dry brown tips or browned/discolored, this is normal.

Is The Crispy Wave Toxic?

Good news — the crispy wave fern is 100% safe to have around the house. They do not pose a toxic threat to either pets nor humans.

I would still keep it out of reach though. Plants are most definitely not made to be eaten by children or pets.

Where To Search For The Crispy Wave

A crispy wave fern should be found at your local nursery or garden store. If not, it might be worth your while to search on Etsy where you can find a few qualified purchases. Just make sure to specify that you want a crispy wave fern as there are many varieties of the Asplenium nidus house plants.


Crispy wave ferns are common houseplants. It is quite a high maintenance plant. They require an ambient environment with warm temperatures and high humidity and a good watering schedule. They do not need large amounts of fertilization as long as they are grown in compost-rich loose soil. Keep them away from direct sunlight, protect their roots and plant them in specialty soil, and they will thrive.

These beautiful indoor houseplants are well worth the effort and care needed to grow them. Their apple, green leaves and attractive shape are medicine for the soul and add a touch of beauty to any home.