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How to Care for your Staghorn Fern

Posted on May 21, 2019 in House + Home, Indoor & Tropical Plants

Written by West Coast Gardens

Staghorn Fern

Platycerium

This unusual fern is a gorgeous addition to your indoor plant collection, with eye-catching antler shaped fronds that create dramatic shapes and draping. Often used as a hanging plant, this fern is versatile and can be potted up for a desk or table as well. Definitely unique!

Basic Care for your Staghorn Fern

Light: This fern likes bright indirect light, as it's used to having sun filtered through tree canopies. Use a sheer curtain or blinds to keep the direct sunbeams from damaging its fronds, allowing it to get 4-7 hours of light. The Staghorn Fern does not tolerate low light locations very well and will slowly decline in health, so during winter months you may have to move your plant to a sunnier location or closer to the window.

Watering: Let your Staghorn Fern's soil dry out slightly between waterings, without getting completely parched. Make sure to use well draining soil so that the roots can breath and aren't standing in water. This fern also absorbs water through its fronds, so misting the plant every day or two will also help to keep it hydrated!

 

Temperature: This fern will do fine in average household temperatures, as long as they do not go below 10'C (50'F). The Staghorn plant does not like being cold as it is used to warm rainforests.

Fertilizer: To feed your Staghorn Fern, use a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer at half strength every watering. This helps the plant get enough nutrients to continue to grow its impressive fronds!

Other Notes About the Staghorn

In the wild this plant is an epiphyte (like orchids and bromeliads) and can be found growing off of trees, with its roots exposed. They are used to getting a lot of air circulation, which is why you have to be careful and used well draining soil as the roots need to breathe. You can grow your Staghorn in a hanging basket with no soil, or using some sphagnum moss as a base, however then your plant will need more regular waterings and misting.

The attached brown leaves on your plant, which look like parchment, actually are important and shouldn't be removed (even though they may look like they are dead). These fronds help protect the roots of the plant, and also absorb water and nutrients. Definitely don't cut these leaves off, as the plant needs them to stay healthy.

Staghorn Ferns are not fast growers, and require lots of TLC to stay healthy and eventually become larger house plants. Enjoy the unique shapes of the fronds and eye-catching design of this beautiful houseplant!

If you want to find out how to care for your other ferns, check out our blog post with tips and tricks here.

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