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Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern
Staghorn fern is a unique and attractive looking plant. These plants will make you amazed by its beauty and distinctiveness. If you’re searching for a rare and unusual plant to enhance the beauty of your house and office, then staghorn […]
Staghorn Fern Plant

Staghorn fern is a unique and attractive looking plant. These plants will make you amazed by its beauty and distinctiveness.

If you’re searching for a rare and unusual plant to enhance the beauty of your house and office, then staghorn fern will be the best option for you. 

About the plant

The appearance of this plant is indescribable. Two types of leaves are present in Staghorn fern.

The leaves of these plants are bifurcated. One of them resembles the horns of a stag (deer). 

The botanical name of this plant is Platycerium. It is mostly known as Staghorn fern, elkhorn ferns, antler fern, and antelope ears due to their unique shaped foliages.

They are from the Polypodiaceae family and are native to the tropical region.

Overview of the plant

Staghorn ferns have a completely different appearance from other plants, and they are not like ferns also.

These plants are epiphytes means they don’t require soil to grow. They thrive on other plants and rely on their roots to support themselves.

The roots of these plants are tufted. Staghorn ferns have two types of fronds(The leaves of ferns called fronds).

The first type is ‘antler’ frond, and the second type is ‘shield’ frond.

Antler/Sterile frond:

The staghorn with antler frond is the most prominent. These leaves are large and bifurcated from the middle of the leaves. The leaves of this type resemble the antlers of deers. Due to bifurcated leaves, they get the name of ‘staghorn.’

Shield/ Fertile frond:

These leaves are round and hard, surrounding the base of the plant and protecting them. They are like a shield and cover the roots of the plants.

At first, the leaves remain green, but eventually, it turns brown and then falls down, and it is a normal life-cycle of these ferns.

Platycerium Bifurcatum - Shop Staghorn Ferns - Pistils Nursery
Staghorn Fern

Growth preferred area

Like other houseplants, staghorn ferns prefer bright light and avoid direct sun rays.

These plants prefer low water and high humidity. They can’t tolerate the cold.

These plants can thrive well, and their beauty increases in proper growing conditions.

Origin

These plants are native to Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, and guinea. There are some species of staghorn fern found in Indonesia and the Philippines.

These plants thrive well in tropical and temperate regions.

Botanical namePlatycerium
Common namesThe staghorn fern, elkhorn ferns, antler fern, and antelope ears
FamilyPolypodiaceae
GenusPlatycerium
SpeciesAround 19
Plant TypeEvergreen
Mature size3 feet
Native areaAustralia, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Guinea
Suitable locationAnywhere with bright and indirect sunlight
Sun exposureBright to partial shade, indirect sunlight
WaterAvoid overwatering and underwatering
Temperature60-80
HumidityHigh

The cost of the plant

The cost of the plant will be around $15-$50 or more. Prices may vary according to the species and the place you live.

How much does seed cost?

The cost of the seeds will be around INR 85-200 or more. The price of the seeds varies upon the quality and the quantity of the seeds.

Varieties

They have around 19 species. Among them, few species are cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Here is the list of all the varieties-

  • Platycerium andinum
  • Platycerium alcicorne
  • Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Platycerium coronarium
  • Platycerium elephantotis
  • Platycerium willinki
  • Platycerium wandae
  • Platycerium wilhelminae reginae
  • Platycerium ridleyi
  • Platycerium stemaria
  • Platycerium superbum
  • Platycerium veitchii
  • Platycerium wallichii
  • Platycerium hillii
  • Platycerium grande
  • Platycerium quadri dichotomum
  • Platycerium holttumii
  • Platycerium madagascariense
  • Platycerium ellisii

The varieties which are cultivated as an ornamental plant

  • Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Platycerium superbum.

Staghorn fern care guide

These plants need a bit of care. Never place them under direct sunlight. Don’t overwater them or underwater them.

Keep the temperature and humidity maintained.

You can place these plants outdoors when temperatures range between 55℉-100℉ (12°C-38°C) and bring them back inside when the temperature gets chilly at night.

With proper care and suitable conditions, they can live for many years.

Here, are the few care tips for staghorn fern plants

Sunlight

Staghorn fern plants prefer bright and indirect light to grow well. Avoid placing them under the direct sun because They can’t tolerate the harsh rays.

Many other houseplants can thrive in artificial lights also but don’t take the risk with these ferns. These plants may not flourish well in artificial light. 

Water

How much watering they require totally depends upon how much amount of sunlight, heat, and humidity they are getting.

Overwatering and under watering can kill your beautiful staghorn ferns.

 The best way to provide them with water is through misting and soaking.

Misting:  Use a spray bottle and mist these plants thoroughly. Mist both the antler fronds and shield fronds properly.

These plants absorb water from their fronds, so misting them is a great option. It also maintains the humidity.

Soaking: Immerse your staghorn fern in the sink filled with water and let the plant remain until it is adequately saturated or you can leave it for 1-2 minutes in the water sink, it will be enough for them.

 Misting and soaking prevent the plant from overwatering and under-watering. They require proper drainage.

Temperature

These plants don’t prefer cold. They favoured warm temperatures.

They prefer temperature ranges from 55℉-100℉ (12°C-38°C)but an ideal temperature for these plants will be 60℉-80℉ (15°C-25°C). Avoid temperature below 55℉ (12°C).

Humidity

They prefer high humidity. In rainforests, the humidity levels are over 70%. So, they require at least 50-60% humidity.

Misting is the easiest and best way to provide them with a proper humid level or you can place the plant in the bathroom or place a humidifier near the plant.

Fertilizer

Feeding these plants encourages vigorous growth. Feed your staghorn fern on a monthly basis during the growing season (spring and summer). Provide them with diluted fertilizer.

Toxicity

These plants are non-toxic and safe for pets and children. You can plant it in your home without any worries.

Hang these plants on the wall or in a hanging basket because they enhance the beauty of the plant more while draping from the hanging basket.

Pests and problems

These plants are quite pest-resistant, but due to improper care aphids and scale insects might attack your staghorn fern. If you notice any pests, spray insecticidal solution over them or use neem oil to get rid of them.

Common Problems

Black spots: If you notice any black spots on the fronds of a staghorn fern, that is an indication of overwatering.

Reduce your watering and allow the plant to dry out completely.

Brown tips: If the tips of the fronds of staghorn fern turn brown, that is an indication of underwatering. Make sure to provide your staghorn fern with enough water.  

Brown shield fronds: At first shield fronds, starts out green but gradually it turns brown and eventually becomes dry.

The mistake that most plant keepers do with their staghorn is, they remove the shield fronds when they look dry.

It shouldn’t be removed because brown and dried shield fronds don’t always indicate that they are dying. 

Repotting and propagation

The plants looked at their best when they potted in hanging baskets.

Larger staghorn fern can be divided into two sections and can be repotted separately.

Repotting process:

Step 1: Choose a basket bigger than the previous one.

Step 2: Filled the basket with 1 inch of moist sphagnum moss.

Step 3: Now, fill the basket halfway with equal potting soil, wood chips and moss.

Step 4: Take out the fern from the previous pot or container and repot it in the new basket or pot.

Step 5: Now, fill the remaining half of the basket with potting mix.

Step 6: Provide the plant with appropriate conditions.

Propagation

Ferns don’t grow from seeds. They propagate from pups.

Propagating staghorn fern by pups is the easiest and convenient way.

Here are the steps:

Propagating by using pups:

Step 1: Use a knife and cut the pup from its parent plant.

Step 2: Cover the end of the cut pup in damp sphagnum moss.

Step 3: Now, tie it with a piece of wood and provide proper care.

Pruning

They don’t require pruning, but you can prune the damaged leaves any time of the year.

Benefits of the Staghorn fern plant

NASA clean air study found that ferns are effective in purifying the air and removing pollutants such as xylene, formaldehyde, toluene, etc.

Staghorn fern plants can purify the air by removing the chemical pollutants in the air.

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