Are you planning to grow a crispy wave fern plant in your home and are wondering how to take care of it? Here’s a full crispy wave fern plant care guide for you!

Growing plants inside your home helps in adding comfort and warmth to your humble abode. There are many types of indoor plants you can choose from. There are those that can provide more benefits than just adding an aesthetic appeal to your home. Various indoor plants can also help in improving the quality of air by reducing air pollution. Among these plants are Crispy Wave ferns which are among the most popular and unique plants chosen by many.

But before you grow a Crispy Wave fern plant, it is best to learn all about them to ensure that they grow successfully. Getting to know the basics is always the key to growing a healthy plant whether you are a beginner or an expert. Here, we will give you the important things you need to know about Asplenium Crispy Wave care. So keep reading to know more!

What Is Asplenium Crispy Wave

Latin Name: Asplenium nidus

English Name: Crispy Wave Fern

Other Common Names:

  • Pleated Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Bird’s Nest Fern ‘Crispy Wave’

The Crispy Wave fern, also known as the Bird’s Nest fern, is an interesting plant with sword-shaped, pleated leaves that radiate outward. Thus, the name bird’s nest fern. They are excellent at adding style to your office or home with their wavy fronds. They are also very easy to care for and they live long, so you get the best value for your money.

Crispy Wave ferns belong to a large family of plants (Asplenium) containing more than 700 species. They originated in Taiwan and Japan. They are mainly found in areas with tropical climates such as southeast Asia, Europe, eastern Africa, eastern Australia, India, Polynesia, Hawaii, and Christmas Island.  You will find them on rocks and branches with high moisture levels.

Moreover, Crispy Waves are both terrestrial and epiphytic plants but they usually grow in organic matter. When you grow them indoors, they can live in small pots and make great accents to your kitchen or bathroom. They’re like Japanese bonsai and require little sunlight but need frequent watering. We’ll discuss more on Crispy Wave lighting and watering later.

Crispy Wave Fern Size and Growth Phase

Crispy Waves can grow up to 60 cm (around two feet) with a 45-cm spread when grown indoors. They can grow much larger (up to 80 cm) outdoors or in oversized pots in humid conditions, depending on how large the place is.

If you grow them in smaller pots, they become bonsai ferns. In larger pots with high humidity, they will grow large and lush (they can reach up to five feet). Plus, they grow slowly. It takes about 20 years before they reach maturity.

Features of Crispy Wave Fern

These plants are recognized by their long, shiny, bright green fronds with crimped edges. Their leaves radiate outward which leaves a leafy basin at the center.

Benefits of Crispy Wave Fern

Crispy Wave ferns are excellent at removing impurities and toxins from the air which makes breathing easier. Growing them indoors not only helps in removing harmful substances. They also pump extra oxygen into the air. In fact, they are among the best plants when it comes to performance in air purification according to NASA’s indoor plant air purification study. This makes them very useful as terrarium plants.

The excellent air-purifying capability of Crispy Wave ferns is due to their waves that help in increasing the plant’s actual surface area. This allows them to produce more oxygen and filter carbon dioxide efficiently. Moreover, the rigidity and thickness of their fronds allow the plant to filter harmful substances (formaldehyde for instance) from the air. If you want to improve your Crispy Wave’s air purifying abilities, you can grow them in a large container.

Lastly, Asplenium was derived from Asplenon – a Greek word that means spleen herb. People during the Middle ages grind this fern and turn them into drinks to heal those with spleen disorders.

Pleated bird’s nest fern on a hanging basketPleated bird’s nest fern on a hanging basket

Source: Pinterest

Toxicity of Crispy Wave Ferns

One of the commonly asked questions is “Is crispy wave fern poisonous to cats?”

No! They’re not. Crispy Wave plants are non-toxic so they are safe for pets like cats and dogs as well as humans. However, this doesn’t mean that you can let your child or pet feast on this plant. Though it is non-toxic, it is still not food.

Crispy Wave Fern Varieties

Asplenium nidus plants don’t come in many varieties but below are the few ones that are differentiated by their leaf shapes:

#1 Asplenium nidus ‘Victoria’

  • Long
  • Wavy
  • Tongue-shaped

#2 Asplenium nidus ‘Antiquum’

  • Wavy leaf margins 

#3 Asplenium nidus ‘Osaka’

  • Narrow
  • Strap-like leaves
  • Rippled edges

#4 Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’

  • Sword-shaped ruffled leaves

Common Crispy Wave Fern Diseases/Problems

These plants are quite resistant to diseases, but below are some problems that you might encounter:

#1 Pest Infestation

A pest infestation can be very time-consuming to get rid of. The common pests found in Crispy Waves are mealy bugs, soft scales, and red spider mites:

Plants Description Features Symptoms Prevention and Treatment
Mealy Bugs Sap-feeders

Concentrated on roots, stems, or leaves

They thrive in glasshouses and indoors


Short white protrusions

Textured body covered in white wax

Premature falling of leaves

Stunted growth

Black mold and clear sticky honeydew on the plant’s surface

Cotton-like wax balls on the plant

Frequent inspection of your plants

Check both sides of each leaf

Inspect the soil for bugs

Leave some space between your plant and your other house plants to allow better air circulation

Spray your plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil

Clean the leaves using rubbing alcohol and cotton

Introduce other beneficial insects such as ladybugs to eat the pests

Separate infected plants from others

Prune badly infested leaves

Soft Scales Also known as Coccidae

They suck sugary liquids from plant phloems

They measure around 0.5-1 cm

Sometimes covered in waxy secretions

Can have markings or spots on their shells

Falling and yellowing leaves

Bark and leaf surfaces are covered with a clear sticky substance

Increased ant activity

Distorted or stunted growth

Black mold

Red Spider Mites Cell-sucking mites

Barely visible so they can be hard to spot

Common in warm glasshouses

Tiny 8-legged arachnid

Red-brown or yellowish-green mites

Around 0.4-mm lengths or lower

Premature falling of leaves

Leaf drying

Leaf yellowing

Yellow mottling

Fine, dusty webs on foliage

#2 Leaf Rotting

Too much water can cause the leaves of your plant to rot. Be careful when watering your plant and do not pour too much liquid into its central basin. Water around your plant instead. Since Crispy Waves form tight rosettes, the water that accumulates in the middle will not be easy to get rid of. This leads to leaf rot.

#3 Drooping Leaves

If you are growing the fern indoors, drooping leaves are normal because the leaves will often lean toward the light source. This happens when your plant is not getting enough light. If you want your plant to grow straight, you can move it to a location with better lighting. Try rotating your plant too. Drooping leaves are fine as long as they don’t dry up or turn brown.

#4 Brown Tips

Another common problem is Crispy Wave fern browning. This happens because of two main reasons: either the soil or the air around is too dry. Keep the soil moist always. Rare causes also include overwatering. 

Bird’s nest fernBird’s nest fern

Source: Pinterest

How to Propagate Crispy Wave Fern

Crispy Wave ferns are among the trickiest plants to propagate. Novice home growers might find this challenging. While you can propagate most ferns by simply dividing their leaves, it isn’t the same with Crispy Wave ferns. Leaf cuttings and root division will not work. You need to propagate them using spores or tissue culture.

Below are the steps you can follow for propagation through spores:

  1. Get a mature leaf and place it on paper.
  2. Leave the mature leaf for a few days until it dries and you see the spores growing in clusters under it.
  3. Gather the spores.
  4. You will need peat moss or other moist media to grow the spores in. Just sprinkle them on the moist medium.
  5. Wait for the spores to sprout. Once they do, put them in a shaded area.
  6. Mist the sprouts daily.
  7. Once they have grown enough, transfer them into individual pots.

Propagating a Crispy Wave plant is among the most difficult methods and you really need lots of patience. This is why inexperienced gardeners rarely attempt to do this. But if you were able to manage to do it, congratulations!

How to Care for Crispy Wave Fern

If your Crispy Wave fern is not growing, you might not be giving it proper care. The secret to a healthy Crispy Wave fern is enough moisture, warmth, and humidity. We have summarized the tips on how to take care of your plant below to ensure that it grows the way you want it to be:

#1 Best Location

  • Near a tub or a shower in your bathroom for optimal warmth and humidity as well as sufficient light
  • In rooms with a northern or east-facing window to avoid direct light
  • If you are putting them near a west or south-facing window, make sure they are shaded

#2 Lighting

  • For Crispy Wave fern lighting, these ferns don’t need much light to survive
  • Needs bright, moderate, and indirect light
  • Too much sunlight might cause the leaves to get burn marks, become pale, turn yellow, or worse – die
  • A lot of light causes the leaves to crinkle while low-light areas cause flatter leaves

#3 Soil

  • Crispy Wave ferns grow between tree branches or palm fronds and feed on decomposing leaves so you need to use organic soil
  • A well-draining mixture of organic compost, coarse sand, pine bark, or perlite to allow for proper aeration
  • You can also use commercial soil for cactus or succulents

#4 Watering

  • The soil should always be moist (damp but not soggy)
  • Water in the morning
  • Water more often from April to September (the plant’s active growing period)
  • Do not water the center of the rosette to prevent the formation of stagnant water that causes the leaves to rot
  • Water directly onto the soil around the plant
  • Don’t use cold water. Too cold water can cause the leaves to fall off

#5 Temperature

  • The ideal temperature range is 60°F to 72°F or 15°C to 22°C
  • The plant needs consistent warmth since it is a tropical plant
  • Don’t place your plant near cool drafts like air-conditioning vents
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes

Bird’s nest fern on a brown potBird’s nest fern on a brown pot

Bird’s nest fern on a brown potBird’s nest fern on a brown pot

Source: Pinterest

#6 Humidity

  • Humid environments
  • These plants are sensitive to humidity. You need to keep the humidity level high consistently
  • Try using a humidifier to increase humidity or place the pot on a pebble tray with water (do not let the pot’s bottom sit in the water)
  • Mist the leaves regularly

#7 Fertilizing

  • For Crispy Wave fern fertilizer, use a liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength
  • Fertilize your plant during the growing season once a month (April to September)
  • Do not overfeed your plant or you can burn its roots. The fronds can also become abnormal or turn brown or yellow.

#8 Pruning

  • Only prune your fern when you see damaged leaves, brown spots, or if the base is rotting
  • Cut the damaged leaf from the plant’s base

#9 Repotting

  • Repot your plant once it overgrows its current pot (this means that there’s not much soil left)
  • When repotting, shake the plant to remove the old soil (you need to use fresh soil)
  • Repot in a larger pot if you want your plant to grow larger
  • When new leaves emerge from the plant’s central area, do not move, handle, or touch them because they might become deformed or damaged

Also Read:

Wrapping Up

To summarize our discussion, crispy wave plants are great air-purifying plants that are easy to grow and care for. They don’t require much light and can survive in low-light conditions. The soil needs to be well-draining and constantly moist. They live in warm temperatures and it is recommended to fertilize them once a month during their growing season. They are fairly resistant to diseases but are quite difficult to propagate for newbie growers.

Hi there! I’m Guy, the guy behind Guy About Home (that’s a lot of guy’s). I’m just your average guy (ok, I’ll stop) living in the USA who is really interested in making and doing.