Crispy wave fern care infographicThe Crispy Wave Fern is a dazzling bright green fern, whose name is derived from the curly nurture of its leaves. If you are a “uniqueness fanatic,” the crispy wave fern is certainly one of the plants that you would want to have in your home garden.

The bright, pleated appearance of the plant and its “air-freshening” properties of the crispy wave fern are characteristics that anyone would like to identify with.

Although this plant is classified among the “easy-grow” plants, there are a couple of things that you should know about its care, and this article will enlighten you on these must-knows.

What is a Crispy Wave Fern?

The crispy wave fern is scientifically referred to as the Asplenium nidus, which belongs to the Aspleniaceae family. This plant is native to southeast Asia, eastern Australia, eastern Africa, Polynesia, and Hawaii. Generally, the plant grows well in tropical climates.

The uniqueness of this plant is in its leaves, which are not only sword-shaped but are also ruffled. The pleats on the apple-green leaves of the crispy wave fern are the main characteristic, reflected in the plant’s name.

Crispy Wave Fern Care Tips

The crispy wave fern is also known as the curly fern plant, wavy leaf plant, wavy fern, or wavy plant. Some prefer to call it the bird’s nest because its leaves tend to radiate outward, creating a leafy basin at the center.

Like most ferns, the crispy wave fern is an epiphyte. This means that the plant can grow on other plants just like parasites do. However, unlike parasites, epiphytes do not get their nutrients from their host. The wavy nature of the curly fern increases the surface area of the plant’s leaves, supporting a more efficient production of oxygen.

This, together with the ability of the plant to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide to oxygen, has the effect of purifying the air wherever the plant is placed.

Growth and Height

The wavy fern grows at a relatively slow rate. Its height highly correlates with the space that the plant grows in. When it’s given enough space and other conducive conditions of humidity and temperature, your crispy wave fern can grow up to five feet. However, as a houseplant, the wavy fern grows up to two feet on average.

Crispy Wave Fern Care Requirements

For beginners and experts alike, it is important to get the details on how to take care for the crispy wave fern. This will help your plant to stick around for longer as you enjoy its elegance for your terrarium. Although the care requirements for this plant are minimal, the more you practice, the more you get out of parenting your crispy wave fern.

– Light Requirements

Moderate, indirect light conditions are conducive for stunning growth for the crispy wave fern. However, brighter, indirect light is also fine. In its natural habitat, the crispy wavy fern grows under trees, where it receives filtered light. Imitating similar conditions of light will do well for your plant.

The amount of light that you provide for your curly plant determines the shape and outlook of its leaves. When your plant receives enough bright but indirect light, its leaves will begin to crinkle and assume a wavier outlook. In relatively lower light conditions, the leaves of the crispy wave fern are flatter.

Light Requirements For Fern

Exposing your plant to too much bright and direct sunlight will cause yellowing leaves. Your plant might ultimately die. Placing it in deep shade is not a good idea, too. To strategically position your crispy wavy fern for the appropriate amount of light, place it in a room with a window that faces the east or north. This helps to protect your plant from any direct sunlight.

– Temperature Requirements

Ideally, you should provide your wavy plant with temperatures that range between 70 °F and 90 °F during the day. At night, the crispy wave fern can tolerate temperatures of 60 °F to 80 °F. If you grow your plant under temperatures that are too warm, its leaves will turn yellow at the base.

Avoid extremely low (below 55 °F) or extremely hot temperatures (above 100 °F). Sudden changes in temperatures can shock your plant, so steer clear from placing your wavy plant close to direct sources of heat or cooling systems. Avoid drafts from doors and windows, too.

– Humidity Requirements

The curly fern plant requires highly humid conditions for vigorous growth. You should provide your plant with a humidity range between 60 and 90 percent. Dry conditions can stunt the growth of your plant.

Humidity for Wave Fern

To increase the humidity around your wavy plant, consider misting it regularly. Better still, use a humidifier. Alternatively, you can just put your plant in rooms that are naturally more humid. The kitchen or bathroom would provide a good home for your crispy wave fern.

Putting a bunch of plants that require humidity in the same environment tends to help in maintaining an atmosphere with high humidity. Try and build a small indoor garden with humidity loving plants. However, ensure proper air circulation to avoid attracting pests that also love high humidity and warm conditions.

– Water Requirements

The crispy wave fern can tolerate dryness for short periods of time. However, longer periods without water will ultimately kill your plant. Therefore, you should give your plant a drink daily, without overwatering it. Consider filtering the water that you use for quenching your plant’s thirst to remove any impurities.

Another important tip is to never to water your wavy plant directly on the rosette center. Doing this causes the water to accumulate, making the plant more susceptible to leaf rot and fungal infections. Constantly wet leaves may also attract pests. Water your plant more frequently and thoroughly during the growing season and reduce waterings when it’s winter.

Be sure to use room temperature water, because cold water can shock your crispy wave fern, considering it is a tropical plant. Watering your plant with cold water may cause its leaves to fall. We also recommend that you water your plant in the morning, so that you give it enough time to absorb the water, while any excess moisture evaporates.

The evaporating process is lengthy when you water your plant during the night and this might, therefore, cause wet soil— something that is not desirable for your plant.

– Soil Requirements

The curly plant grows well in well-draining soils but does not tolerate complete dryness. Moisture is crucial for the survival of the plant. You can test the level of moisture by touching the soil to ensure that it is damp, not wet. Wet soils make your plant vulnerable to root rot.

Soil Requirements for Wave Fern

Being an epiphytic plant, the curly plant likes to grow on another plant. Thus, soil that is rich in organic matter is conducive for the plant’s growth. We recommend that you use peat-based soil preparations.

If you decide not to buy soil mixtures and prepare your own, be sure to create a mixture rich in organic matter. Also, ensure that the soil that you use is clean from pests and seeds or weeds from other plants.

– Fertilizer Requirements

The crispy wave fern does not require much help with additional feeding, especially if you planted it with compost. Fertilize your plant once every month during the growing season, from April to September. From November to February, you do not need to feed your plant with fertilizers.

Ideally, you should use a liquid fertilizer. A 24-8-16 fertilizer that you dilute to half strength is a great option. Be sure not to overfeed the crispy wave plant, otherwise, you will risk burning its roots.

– Repotting

Repotting a crispy wave fern is only possible when its roots have grown to the extent of filling the pot. Be sure to use a bigger pot when repotting, so that you provide the roots with enough space for growth. Ideally, the bottom of the pot for your plant should have drip holes to allow for proper drainage. This protects the plant from sitting in water for too long.

Repotting Wave Fern

Simply uproot your plant from its older pot and shake off the soil from its roots. Transfer it to the bigger pot and fill the new pot with the same soil mix that you used in the previous one. Water your repotted plant regularly.

Transferring your wavy plant into a bigger pot gives it a boost to grow bigger and bushier. This further increases the air-purifying efficiency of your plant.


Unlike other plants, the crispy wave fern cannot be propagated through stem or leaf cuttings. If the plant is kept under conducive conditions, tiny shoots might sprout just below the mature leaves of your plant. You can then use these to propagate your wavy plant. Other common strategies for propagating your crispy wave fern are tissue culture or spore propagation.

Spore Propagation

To carry out spore propagation, place the mature leaves of your plant on paper and leave them for a few days for spores to develop. Collect the spores from underneath the leaves and grow them under a plastic or glass container, using moist peat moss as the soil medium.

Spore of Wave Fern

Be sure to mist the peat moss every day, while keeping it in a shady environment that is devoid of the bright sun and heat. Once your plantlets have grown to a decent size, transfer them to individual pots.

Crispy Wave Fern: Problems and Solutions

The crispy wave fern has strong fronds and is hardy and adaptable. These characteristics give the plant the capacity to live longer than other potted houseplants. However, it may still encounter the following health issues. Learn how to take care of your plant when it is sick!

– Brown Leaves

The leaves of your wavy plant can turn brown. There are various reasons why this might happen, including adding too much fertilizer, inconsistency in watering, too low humidity, bright and direct sunlight, as well as underwatering. To properly address the problem of browning leaves, you should identify the actual cause of the issue.

Humidity is the culprit in most cases. However, it is important to check on all your habits with regard to caring for the plant for more efficient troubleshooting. The crispy wave requires ample humidity. A humidifier or pebble tray would do a great job in creating a well-humidified environment for your plant. Alternatively, you can place your plant in rooms that are naturally more humid, like the bathroom and kitchen.

Brown Leaves of Wave Fern

To solve the problem of brown leaves, ensure that your plant receives some indirect light. If you have been allowing your plant to go through dry spells, begin to water it lightly and more frequently to do away with browning leaves. Also, avoid fertilizers that are too strong and avoid over-fertilizing. These factors also contribute to brown leaves on your crispy wave fern.

– Root Rot and Microbial Infections

The crispy wave fern requires relatively moist conditions for proper growth. However, be careful not to overwater your plant, as this can cause root rot. It is important to never let your plant sit in water. Always use well-draining soils that are able to retain some moisture.

Overwatering can also make your wavy plant susceptible to fungal diseases. Misting is also a possible cause of fungal and bacterial problems. To prevent these infections, resort to using other methods of increasing humidity. We recommend that you use a pebble tray.

To prepare your pebble tray, clean some small stones and add them to a shallow tray. Fill the tray with water and place your crispy wave fern on top of the tray. As the water in the tray evaporates slowly, the environment around your plant becomes more humid.

– Mealybugs

One of the pests that you should be on the lookout for is mealybugs. These pests can drain the vigor of your plant because they survive by sucking the sap from the its stem and leaves. The common symptoms of an infestation by mealybugs include stunted growth, leaf drop, and yellowing leaves.

Mealybugs on Crispy Wave Fern

You can still save your plant if treatment is done at the early stages of infestation. If treatment is delayed or not done at all, mealybugs can kill your crispy wave fern. Initial endeavors to deal with mealybugs should involve quarantining the affected plant to protect other plants. You can then wash down the mealybugs with horse water if the infestation is still mild.

Dabbing the pests with cotton balls that are wet with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol is also effective. However, as the numbers of mealybugs increase, more drastic measures should be taken. Neem oil is a great option in this case.

– Scale

You wouldn’t want scale to jeopardize the health of your plant. You can identify this pest by checking for some small, brown and round-shaped “scales” on the leaves or stems of your plant. Don’t be deceived, behind that supposed scale that appears like a shell is a pest that is busy feeding on the sap of your plant.

When the number of scale pests on your crispy wave fern is still small, you can remove them using your fingernails. A soft toothbrush can also do the job. You can also dip a Q-tip in alcohol and use it to remove the scale. Follow-up this physical removal of scale by washing the plant with running water, taking care not to overwater the soil in the pot.

The larvae of scale are so small that you cannot physically see or remove them. The best way to ensure that you have killed the larvae is by treating the whole plant with an insecticide. We recommend that you use neem oil for this purpose. However, if the infestation is serious, using insecticidal soap is more effective.

– Aphids

Aphids are one of the most notorious pets that you can ever find on your crispy wave fern. Just like the scale and mealybug, this pest drains the vitality of your plant by sucking its sap. Aphids can be devastating because they increase in numbers in no time.

The best way to deal with aphids is to prevent them through pre-infestation treatments. However, if aphids attack your plant, there are many options or treatments. You can blast the aphids off your wavy plant using a strong stream of water. A cotton swab dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol is also an effective option, in addition to Neem oil and insecticidal soap.

Aphids on Crispy Wave Fern

You can even make a homemade spray using garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, water, liquid dish soap, and a blender. Mix one onion, one garlic bulb, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a food blender. Process the contents in the blender to make a paste that you can mix with one quart of water and steep.

Let the paste sit for an hour. Use cheesecloth to strain the residue away. After adding a teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the solution, mix well and spray your crispy wave fern with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I clean the leaves of my Crispy Wave Fern?

You should clean the leaves of a Crispy Wave Fern every 1-2 months to remove dust and promote healthy growth.

2. What are the common problems with crispy wave fern?

Common problems with Crispy Wave Ferns include overwatering, underwatering, and exposure to direct sunlight.

3. How do I revive a dying Crispy Wave Fern?

To revive a dying Crispy Wave Fern, try adjusting the watering schedule and providing more indirect light. Trim any dead or yellowing leaves to promote new growth.


Taking care of a plant has never been so much fun. What more would you need than to care for a plant that is easy to care for, non-toxic to your kids and pets, and gorgeous to behold.

To help you keep what you learned from this article, let’s recapture the main points again:

  • The crispy wave fern belongs to the Aspleniaceae family and is unique for its ruffled leaves and air-detoxifying properties.
  • This plant grows well under moderate, indirect light.
  • Temperature ranges between 70 °F and 90 °F are conducive for the growth of the plant.
  • The wavy plant requires high levels of humidity.
  • Well-draining soils provide a good medium for the growth of the plant. However, the soil should also be able to retain moisture.
  • There isn’t much need for fertilizers, but adding some once a month during the growing season is good practice.
  • You can repot the wavy plant when it becomes root-bound.
  • You can propagate the plant through spore propagation.
  • Browning leaves, root rot, and microbial infections are some concerns that are associated with the crispy wave fern.
  • Be on the lookout for sucking pests such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale.

With the knowledge that you have gained from this article, you have just started your journey to becoming an expert in taking care of the crispy wave. Enjoy the healthy air cleaned by this natural detoxifier and do your best to give your plant a long life!

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