Asplenium bulbiferum Forst.f.

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
hen and chickens fern


Asplenium bulbiferum Forst.f., commonly known as hen and chicken fern, is a visually captivating fern with unique features that set it apart from many other fern species. The plant is well-known for its lush, green fronds that have a delicate, feathery appearance. These fronds generally display a graceful arching habit and possess an attractive glossy finish that catches the light, giving the fern a vibrant appearance. A distinctive characteristic of the hen and chicken fern is its reproductive strategy. Sprouting from the fronds are what appear to be miniature replicas of the parent plant, resembling little "chicks." These bulbils, or plantlets, can eventually take root and grow into new ferns when they come into contact with suitable growing medium, adding to the charm of the plant and giving rise to the common name. The foliage of the hen and chicken fern is finely divided, making the fronds appear somewhat lace-like with a soft texture. Each frond emerges from a central crown, radiating outward in a pleasing pattern that lends a sense of fullness and density to the plant as a whole. The color of the fronds is typically a bright, true green, contributing to the overall lushness that this fern exudes in a garden setting or when grown indoors. In essence, the hen and chicken fern is recognized and admired for its uniquely reproductive fronds, its delicate textured foliage, and the overall lush, green aesthetic it brings to its environment.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Hen And Chickens Fern, Mother Fern, Mother Spleenwort

    • Common names

      Asplenium appendiculatum Willd., Asplenium flabellifolium Cav., Asplenium flabellulatum Kunze, Asplenium lobatum F.Muell., Asplenium richardii Gaudich., Asplenium viviparum Colenso, Asplenium x mariesii D.E.Mey., Caenopteris appendiculata (Willd.) Link, Caenopteris bulbifera (G.Forst.) Presl, Caenopteris flabellifolia (Cav.) Link, Tarachia appendiculata (Willd.) Mett.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Asplenium bulbiferum, commonly known as the Hen and Chicken Fern, is not known to be toxic to humans. There are no well-documented adverse effects or symptoms associated with the ingestion of any part of this plant. As with any non-food plant, ingestion in large amounts could potentially cause mild stomach upset due to the plant's fibrous material, but it is not considered poisonous.

    • To pets

      Hen and Chicken Fern does not have any known toxic effects on pets either. This plant is generally considered safe if ingested by cats or dogs, without any common symptoms of poisoning associated with it. As with humans, while the ingestion of plant matter can sometimes cause gastrointestinal discomfort in pets, Asplenium bulbiferum is not recognized as a source of toxic compounds harmful to pets.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Spread

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Asplenium bulbiferum, commonly known as Hen and Chicken Fern, adds visual interest to gardens with its lush green foliage and unique reproductive method, where small plantlets grow on the fronds.
    • Ease of Propagation: The plant reproduces easily through the bulbils (baby ferns) that form on the parent fronds, facilitating straightforward propagation for gardeners and enthusiasts.
    • Shade Tolerance: Hen and Chicken Fern thrives in shaded areas, making it an ideal plant for understory planting and shaded garden spots where other plants might struggle.
    • Humidity Preference: This fern is well-suited to humid conditions found in bathrooms and kitchens, making it a suitable houseplant for these environments.
    • Soil Erosion Control: When used in outdoor landscaping, the fern can help prevent soil erosion thanks to its mat-forming growth habit.
    • Low Maintenance: Hen and Chicken Fern requires minimal care, making it a convenient choice for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts.
    • Companion Planting: It can be planted alongside other shade-loving plants to create a textured, green space that complements flowering plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Asplenium bulbiferum, commonly known as hen and chickens fern, can be grown as a companion plant alongside orchids to create a humid microclimate that benefits both plant species.
    • The dense foliage of the hen and chickens fern is sometimes used by small reptiles and amphibians as a shelter or nesting ground in contained habitats such as terrariums.
    • Indigenous communities have been known to use the fronds of the hen and chickens fern for weaving patterns into baskets and mats due to their durable nature.
    • In aquarium settings, smaller specimens of the hen and chickens fern are used as part of aquascaping to replicate natural environments for aquatic life.
    • Enthusiasts of miniature gardening plant hen and chickens fern in small-scale landscapes since it can provide a lush, forest-like backdrop when carefully maintained.
    • The plant can be utilized in educational projects and classroom settings to teach about plant reproduction, particularly vegetative propagation as it readily produces plantlets.
    • Because of its attractive appearance, the hen and chickens fern is often used in floral arrangements as greenery to complement flowers.
    • Some hobbyists use the plantlets produced by the hen and chickens fern in DIY craft projects, such as living wreaths or natural jewelry.
    • During festive seasons, hen and chickens fern can be integrated into eco-friendly holiday decorations, for example as table centerpieces or mantle greenery.
    • In the creation of green roofs, hen and chickens fern, thanks to its low maintenance, can contribute to an ecological and sustainable roofing option where conditions permit.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Hen and Chicken Fern is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Hen and Chicken Fern is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience and durability: Asplenium bulbiferum, commonly known as the Hen and Chicken fern, is capable of surviving in various conditions making it symbolize resilience and the ability to endure challenging environments.
    • Maternal care and protection: The plant is notable for its reproductive method where new plantlets, or 'chickens', grow directly on the mother plant's fronds, symbolizing a mother's care and the nurturing of the next generation.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Hen and Chickens Fern should be watered consistently to maintain moist but not soggy soil. Water the plant with approximately 8-16 ounces of water weekly, depending on the size of the pot and the humidity of the environment. It's best to water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so ensure proper drainage. Reduce watering in the winter months when the plant's growth slows down.

  • sunLight

    Hen and Chickens Fern thrives in bright, indirect light. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive filtered sunlight, such as near a north-facing window or a shaded south-facing window. Direct sunlight can scorch the delicate leaves of the fern, so it’s important to avoid placing it in direct sun exposure.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Hen and Chickens Fern prefers temperatures between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit but should not be exposed to temperatures below that as it could damage the plant. Avoid placing it in areas with cold drafts or sudden temperature changes to maintain ideal temperature conditions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Hen and Chickens Fern is generally done to remove any brown or dead fronds to keep the plant healthy and aesthetically pleasing. It's best to prune in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Carefully snip off the undesired fronds at the base with clean scissors or pruning shears. Pruning is not frequently required, but it can be done as needed to maintain the plant's shape and size.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Hen and Chickens Fern thrives in a mix containing equal parts of peat or coconut coir, pine bark, and perlite, which ensures good drainage and aeration. A pH of 5.0 to 5.5 is optimal for this fern.

  • plantRepotting

    The Hen and Chickens Fern should be repotted every couple of years or when it has outgrown its pot. Gently separate the offsets during repotting to propagate new plants.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Hen and Chickens Fern prefers high humidity levels, around 60-70% is ideal. Mist regularly or use a pebble tray to increase humidity around the plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Grow in shade, keep soil moist, protect from frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Asplenium bulbiferum Forst.f., commonly known as the Hen and Chicken Fern, begins its life as a spore, which is produced in sori on the undersides of mature fern fronds. Upon finding a suitable moist environment, the spore germinates to form a heart-shaped gametophyte, which is a tiny, flat, green structure called a prothallus. The prothallus then develops male and female reproductive organs, and following fertilization, a new sporophyte emerges, starting as a tiny fern plantlet. This sporophyte grows through a juvenile phase, where it develops a rhizome and fronds. As it matures, the Hen and Chicken Fern distinguishes itself by producing bulblets on the tops of its fronds, which can fall off and grow into new independent ferns. The mature fern continues to reproduce both via spores and vegetatively through these bulblets, completing its life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The most popular way to propagate Asplenium bulbiferum, commonly known as Hen and Chickens fern, is through its bulbils which form on the top side of the fronds. This method is particularly easy because the bulbils essentially do much of the work themselves. Once a frond with bulbils is mature, it can be laid on top of moist potting soil in a shaded area. Over time, the bulbils will develop roots that penetrate into the soil. Eventually, these rooted bulbils can be severed from the original frond and potted up as individual plants. It's important to maintain humidity around the baby ferns as they establish themselves, but this method bypasses the need for spore collection and germination, making it a simpler and more efficient method of propagation for this fern species.