Platycerium Care
(Staghorn Ferns)

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Light:

In general, Staghorn Ferns like bright patio light but not much, if any, direct sunlight. If indoors, be sure to keep your Stag in a brightly lit room. These Platyceriums can survive anywhere between 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and should be kept out of freezing temperatures.

Water:

Staghorn Ferns don’t like to be sopping wet or bone dry for extended periods of time. Water them thoroughly with a hose and then let them dry out for a short time. In average Southern California conditions, they should be watered every two or three days in summer and once a week or so in the winter. If you live in an inland valley, adjust for the hotter, colder, and drier climactic conditions.

Fertilizer – Epiphyte’s Delight:

Your Staghorn is more likely to thrive and produce more offsets if you use Epiphyte’s Delight fertilizer. It is the ideal one-stop-shop-fertilizer for all your Neos, Tillandsias, orchids, and more! Follow the directions on the tub, and use it on your plants once or twice a month in growing season (April through October).

Epiphyte’s Delight fertilizer was developed for a special reason. Nitrogen promotes foliar growth. If you have Tillandsias, Orchids, or other epiphytes and you fertilize them, take a look at the nitrogen content. If it’s high in urea, the plants can’t use it because the urea needs a bacteria in soil to break it down into ammonia and nitrates. Since the epiphytes don’t have any soil they can’t break down the urea. It was for this reason that we had Epiphyte’s Delight formulated. It contains only ammoniacal and nitrate nitrogen which is immediately accessible and usable by the plants.

Platycerium Reproduction:

Since they don’t flower and yet must still reproduce to survive, most, but not all, reproduce by periodically producing offsets when grown in favorable conditions.  These offsets grow to maturity over a period of a year or so which starts the process of turning the single specimen into a clump.  This process can be left to continue indefinitely over a period of years and the clump can become enormous.  However, offsets can, at any time, be separated from the mother plant and mounted on separate plaques.

All ferns also reproduce by spores which are the brown patches that develop periodically on the underside of the fertile frond (leaf) tips.  It is a sign of health when they appear and, in Nature, some of these wind-blown spores grow into mature plants over a period of years.  However, they are difficult to propagate for the homeowner. The antlerlike fertile fronds are distinctive and attractive.  Their normal way of growing up off the ground gives them front and center visibility.

The spore producing fronds that grow out from the base and look like antlers are called “Fertile Fronds.”  The fronds that cover the plaque at the base of the plant are called “Shield Fronds.” These fronds cover the roots, hold together the soil substrate and serve to catch nutrients. THESE SHIELD FRONDS GROW FROM THE CENTER OUT, ARE GREEN FOR A SHORT PERIOD, AND THEN TURN BROWN.  THIS IS NORMAL FOR THEM TO BE BROWN AND NOT A DEFECT IN THE PLANT.


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