Platycerium Culture (Staghorn Ferns)

LIGHT: Staghorn ferns require plenty of filtered light; direct sun quickly sunburns the leaves. Ideal light situation would be on tree trunks or a shaded wall of a porch or lanai.

FERTILIZATION: Feed these ferns with a good liquid fertilizer (Peters 20-20-20) occasionally. Once each month is sufficient. Use of banana peels is NOT recommended as a fertilizer.

WATER: It is easy to over-water staghorns. On an average, once or twice a week in dry, hot summer months and once every week or two during the winter months is plenty. More water is required if there is a hot, dry spell; less water if the weather is cool and cloudy. Misting the plant is not necessary when it is outdoors, but if it is grown indoors, then misting lightly once a day is beneficial. Water large specimens thoroughly with a hose – the spray softened with a water breaker.

TEMPERATURE: The common staghorn fern, Platycerium bifurcatum is often grown outdoors year-round in the Sarasota area. However, most species of staghorns prefer to be kept above 40° F temperatures.

MOUNTING: Staghorn ferns can be grown in wire or wooden baskets, or mounted directly on wood slabs. Rough sawn cedar or cypress is an appropriate choice for a mounting platform. Offsets (pups) of potted staghorns can be mounted directly on a board and secured with coated wire, plastic strips, or Monofilament nylon line. (Do not use copper.) The bud (growing point) must be UP. Place a pad of dampened sphagnum moss around the root ball before mounting to keep moisture around the roots. The line or wire will soon be covered with new sterile fronds.