How to Care For a Victoria Fern
The Victoria Fern is a delicate but hardy plant native to many tropical and humid regions around the world. It’s popularly known as the “Bird’s Nest Fern” because the center of its delicate crown resembles a bird’s nest. This fern is epiphytic, meaning that it can grow in soil or on other plants, as it commonly does in its natural habitat. They’re often found in rainforests where they grow attached to a tree and receive nutrients from the rainwater, debris, and old leaves from surrounding plants. Indoors, you’ll find they’re very adaptable. We’ve got you covered with all the details on how to care for your Victoria Fern below:
The Victoria Fern prefers medium, indirect light but is tolerant of both low light and filtered bright light. They cannot handle direct sunlight, so a North-facing, East-facing or shaded window is ideal.
Victoria Ferns require consistent watering after the top 1-2” are dry. Always water at soil-level and around the plant, avoiding contact with the fern’s crown which is susceptible to rotting if wet.
The tropical climate that Victoria Fern’s originate from can be replicated indoors with warm temperatures and extra humidity. Keep it in temperatures between 65-80°F and away from any drafts.
Increase the humidity near your plant with any of these methods:
- Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves with water every few days. Avoid the fern’s crown and mist during the day so the leaves have time to dry.
- Add a pebble tray underneath the pot. A pebble tray can be made using any saucer or dish large enough to hold stones and a shallow amount of water, avoiding the pot’s drainage hole. Refill the water in the tray as needed.
- Place a humidifier nearby.
- Place your Victoria Fern in a bathroom or kitchen, where humidity levels are higher.
Victoria Ferns require well-draining soil and favor a soil mixture with peat, perlite, and other organic matter. They can be treated with a diluted fertilizer every other month during the growing season, or with natural fertilizers.
Victoria Ferns are happy when placed in a well-lit bathroom, hanging gracefully in a kitchen or any other appropriate area of your home that could use tranquility and a pop of bright green.
- It’s important to maintain humidity levels for your Victoria Fern during the cold months when the indoor air can become very dry.
- Do not fertilize after September.
- If you keep your fern outside during the warm months, be mindful as the weather cools that nighttime weather under 50° may be harmful.
Victoria Ferns can grow from the spores they produce on the underside of their leaves during the warm months. When spores are dark, full, and fuzzy, a leaf can be removed and placed in a paper bag for 2-3 days to collect the spores as they fall off. The intricate growing process can take many months.
To grow a Victoria’s Fern from spores:
- Place spores on top of a moist soilless mixture of sphagnum moss, peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite that has been sterilized.
- Cover with a plastic bag to create a warm, humid environment. Keep covered for 4-6 weeks.
- Place in indirect light and maintain moisture as needed by misting or allowing your soilless medium to absorb water through the bottom of the pot.
- After 4-6 weeks, the spores display growth similar to green moss and are heart-shaped. After about 3 months, fronds (leaves) begin to grow.
- Keep young fronds out of direct sunlight. Transplant to a pot with well-draining soil after 3 or more fronds have grown in. Follow standard care for a Victoria Fern.
Common Problems & Quirks
- If your Victoria Fern leaves are turning yellow, it may be overwatered or is in light that is too bright. Water only after the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry and place it in indirect or filtered light.
- If your Victoria Fern leaves are browning, it may be underwatered, in air that is too dry or it is exposed to direct sunlight. Give your Victoria Fern a thorough watering, provide it with extra humidity and make sure it is in indirect or filtered light.
- Victoria Ferns are safe for pets!
- Do not water in the crown (center) of the plant. Only water around the plant at soil level or allow the plant to absorb water through the drainage hole. If water gets in the crown, gently dab with a paper towel.
- Victoria Fern leaves will grow flat when they are in low light and will develop crinkles when exposed to more light.
- Warmer air and brighter light will require more frequent waterings.
- Only use natural insecticides and fungicides with Victoria Ferns as they are very delicate.
- New Victoria Fern leaves that grow in are very delicate and should avoid being touched.