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Talking ’bout ferns, you have most likely have seen or heard of the crispy wave fern already. This variety is quite popular for its unique features. It comes with long and stiff sword-like evergreen fronds. And as it unfurls, the entire length of the leaves create waves or ruffled patterns, as you might’ve guessed from its name.
The crispy wave fern is also an effective air purifier. It filters out the surrounding air from toxins, including formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene. In high concentrations, these volatile chemicals can have an adverse effect on health. When inhaled, it can cause headache, dizziness, nausea, and even predispose you to cancer. Yikes!
On top of all of that, this fern is well-loved for being such a low-maintenance houseplant. Thus, a perfect choice for newbies or those who just simply want to make gardening as easy peasy as it can be. Plus, it’s a really pretty plant, don’t you agree?
Although it is relatively easy to grow, it is still best to give your crispy wave fern the optimal care it needs. In this article, we will teach you exactly how to do that. We will discuss everything you need to know on how to properly take care of your fern. From watering down to fertilizing and more, we got it all in the bag!
Let us start, shall we?
Where did crispy wave ferns originate?
Crispy wave ferns are scientifically called Asplenium nidus. It belongs to the family of Aspleniaceae. This plant is native to the tropical climates of southeast Asian regions. It got its name from its very distinct features. Crispy because its leaves are quite rigid, and wave because it is literally wavy.
It also goes by another popular name, the bird’s nest fern. Most people called it so because the fronds spread outwards leaving the middle a great spot for nesting. But if I may be honest, I do not quite see its resemblance to the actual bird’s nest. Rather, the wavy leaves remind me a lot of crispy bacon. Yummy!
I never thought writing about ferns coud suddenly make me feel so hungry. LOL!
Jokes aside, this plant is actually an epiphytic species of ferns. That means, it can naturally grow soilless and off of the ground. Instead, they grow on the surface of other plants, like tree branches most often. That said, crispy wave ferns make an excellent choice for terrariums. Nevertheless, it can grow well too in a typical soil medium.
Location: where is the best to place your crispy wave ferns?
The great thing about this plant is that it can be grown both indoors and outdoors. So versatile, really!
When grown indoors, it is best to place your crispy wave ferns on an east or north-facing window. These spots tend to provide low to medium lighting. Thus, ideal for delivering just the right amount of sunlight your plant needs.
However, you can also place them on other window sites in your home. Just make sure to add at least a light curtain to help filter the sunlight. Moreover, you can also adjust its placement away from the window as deemed necessary.
As for growing crispy wave ferns outdoors, they are best placed under a shaded canopy. Dappled lighting ensures your plant still gets enough sunlight without the risk of getting scorched.
How to Care for a Crispy Wave Fern
The lighting requirements of the crispy wave fern is quite simple – no direct sunlight! This plant thrives best in moderate and indirect lighting. Whether you decide to grow them indoors or outdoors, this principle should be your primary consideration.
Crispy wave ferns can even tolerate low-lighting conditions for some time. This plant loves shade but you should still give it enough light to thrive normally. Otherwise, its fronds might turn flat and less vibrant. More so, it will slow down its growth.
On that note, you can instead use grow lights to supplement the lack thereof of lighting. The artificial lighting system is your next best alternative to natural sunlight. It is the perfect solution, especially for indoor spaces with limited or no windows at all.
Furthermore, a well-balanced light/dark cycle is also an essential key to healthy plant growth. It is important to give your fern at least 8 hours of dark periods. This will enable them to develop and grow properly. Just like us humans, plants need to rest and sleep too you know!
One more thing, do not forget to rotate your pot. Doing so allows all sides of your plant to receive sufficient lighting. Thus, making the fronds grow more evenly.
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As natural epiphytes, the crispy wave fern thrives most in a growing medium that is rich in organic compost. A peat-based potting soil mix is your best bet. The peat substrate helps to increase the porosity of the soil. Thus, allowing good retention of air, water, and nutrients that the plant needs most.
Nevertheless, the crispy wave fern can also do away with just the regular all-purpose potting soil mix. Like most houseplants, the key thing here is to ensure the potting soil is well-draining. Regardless if it is peat-based or ordinary potting soil, it should be able to provide good drainage and aeration at all times.
Furthermore, always ensure to use sterile, or at least clean, potting soil. The mix should be free from pests, diseases, or other foreign seeds. This will spare you from experiencing soil-related issues brought about by contamination.
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The crispy wave fern loves to keep its soil moist. Just enough dampness to prevent it from drying out. But, do not let it become too wet or soggy either.
Once or twice a week should be enough to keep it well-hydrated. The frequency may still vary, depending on the actual climate conditions. Very hot and dry weather may require more hydration. Otherwise, you can do away watering it at least once every 7 days.
For safety, you can always use a soil moisture meter device. This tool is equipped with sensor probes that will help measure out the moisture level within the soil. This is perfect for those who find watering plants a bit of a challenge. With this on hand, the guessing game is over!
It is also important to water on the sides of the plant or onto the potting soil only. Do not allow water to get into the rosette in the center as it is likely to pool. Pooled water will eventually develop molds and rot the surrounding plant tissues. Moreover, stagnant waters tend to attract unwanted bugs like thrips, gnats, and mealybugs.
Furthermore, always use water at room temperature. Pouring cold liquid can send your plant into shock. As a result, it can cause discoloration and drooping of the leaves.
Check out these soil moisture meters:
The crispy wave fern likes to keep itself warm. A temperature of between 60°F to 80°F is most suitable for this plant. However, it can tolerate as low as 50°F for a short period of time only. Prolonged exposures will harm the plant and cause the tips of its leaves to turn brown.
This plant is also not a big fan of temperature fluctuations. Thus, you should avoid placing it in areas where draft and sudden temperature shifts may likely occur. A common example of these are areas with air streams or radiated heat. It could either be from air-conditioning units, space heaters, a fireplace, or household appliances.
The unpredictable changes in temperature are enough to cause stress to crispy wave ferns. Manifestations may include leaf discoloration, wilting, or drooping of the entire plant. This can occur drastically overnight or it can also be a slow kill.
To be ahead of the game, it is best to install an indoor or outdoor thermometer device. This simple tool will help you keep track of the temperature readings. Thus, you can easily determine shifts in levels and apply appropriate countermeasures as necessary.
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Being a native to a tropical climate, the crispy wave fern is naturally inclined to thrive in highly humid locations. A relative humidity level of 60% to 90% is best suitable for this plant.
In an indoor setting, such range is way off the average. Hence, it would be ideal to invest in a good quality humidifier, if your budget allows it. This device will help boost and maintain conducive levels of moisture. Moreover, you have full control over its regulation. Some models can be set as high or as low as deemed necessary for every situation.
Alternatively, there are also more budget-friendly options. First of which is misting. Spraying your fern with plain water about twice a day is enough to keep it moist but not overly damp. It is advisable to use a fine-mist trigger spray bottle to deliver just the right amount of water.
Another cheap method is to place your pot on top of a pebble filled tray. Simply pour enough water on the tray. The level should not touch the bottom of the container. As the water from the tray evaporates, it also helps to elevate the humidity in the immediate surrounding.
You can also try to group your plants closer together. Plants normally undergo transpiration. So, placing them nearby each other inevitably adds moisture to the surrounding air. Also, clustering them makes a great statement piece to your space. But most importantly, it does not cost a single penny!
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Crispy wave ferns are inherently slow growers. Therefore, it doesn’t need much fertilizer to grow. Nevertheless, the plant food will supplement it with the right amount of nutrients and minerals to grow and develop healthily.
A balanced all-purpose fertilizer will do the job well. Just make sure to use a liquid or water-soluble formulation. This type is much easier for the plant to absorb. Moreover, it is less hassle to prepare too.
It is important though to dilute the solution at half strength. This should be enough to support the requirements of the plant. At the same time, it also mitigates the risk of causing root burn from overfertilization.
As for the application, you can feed the plant at least once a month during its active growing phase. That is usually within the months of April up to September. During the winter season, feeding must be put on hold. The plant is likely going into dormancy, thus won’t be needing the extra boost of nutrients.
Check out these balanced all-purpose fertilizers:
Pruning is an essential part of your plant’s routine maintenance. It helps to keep your crispy wave fern in good shape and size. This is also a great chance for you to trim off those unhealthy parts.
There are instances where portions of the foliage turn yellow or brown. This is usually the case when there are inconsistent watering practices. It is also possible to occur if the plant underwent some sort of stress recently.
When pruning, you can simply use sharp pruning shears to snip off those unsightly parts. Make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the garden scissors before use. This is necessary to prevent the spread of diseases, pathogens, and even spores. Contamination from such elements can compromise the health of your plant.
As much as possible, you should be able to disinfect your pruning shears before and after each use. Use at least 70% Isopropyl alcohol to eliminate potential contaminants. You can choose to easily wipe the solution using a clean rag. Better yet, you can also opt to soak your tools into it for a short while.
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As mentioned, the crispy wave ferns are slow growers. Hence, it may take its roots some time to get pot bound. When it does so, make sure to transfer it to a slightly bigger pot. Ideally, a container that is a size or two bigger is enough to give the roots more room to grow and expand. Also, do not forget the drainage holes too.
Another good reason for you to repot is when the soil medium is already old and dried out. With this, you will notice that the soil is harder and more compact. Thus, it is much difficult for it to absorb moisture and nutrients.
This issue should be addressed the soonest as possible as it may affect the health of the plant. It will cause it to become weak and dehydrated if the soil is not replaced with a fresh batch.
To repot your crispy wave fern, loosen the soil surrounding the plant. Hold the plant from the base to provide ample support. Once uprooted, remove the remaining old soil. Make sure to be extra careful when handling the delicate roots.
This is also the perfect time for you to inspect the condition of the fern’s root system. Take this chance to look for signs of diseases or pest infestation. Treat the problem accordingly should there be any.
After repotting, you should also allow your crispy wave fern some time to rest and settle. Getting transferred to a new home is stressful enough. Hence, it deserves some period to adjust to its new environment without further distractions.
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Unlike other types of ferns, the crispy wave ferns cannot be propagated through stem cuttings or root division. Instead, they reproduce by spreading their spores. These spores are being generated from its leaf’s undersides.
Propagation through spores is quite a long and complicated process of reproduction. On that note, you might just be better off buying a new plant from nurseries instead. Not unless you are really determined to try it out for yourself.
The crispy wave fern is a true gem in the garden. Not only for its unique features. But, for the actual air-purifying benefits it can promise to deliver too. And, let us not forget, they are super easy to care for. Just follow our tips and you are sure to make this plant happy as a baby. Now, that’s fern-tastic!