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Plant-o-Pedia: Staghorn Fern

New Bohemians Staghorn FernEver since Tuesday’s This Just In post, with all those mounted epiphytes, we’ve had staghorn ferns on the brain. Definitely one of the more dramatic plants, especially when they’re mounted, staghorns really are plants-as-art. As epiphytes, staghorns get moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and even debris that falls on/around them, rather than from soil/fertilizer-so cool, right? Outdoors, staghorns often grow on the sides of trees, but as houseplants they can can be mounted to a board, displayed in an old wire stand, or even hung kokedama style!

Staghorn Fern Danae Horst

GET THE GREEN: Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum+ 18 other species )

WATER: Water regularly, but infrequently- let it dry out between waterings. Water it by submerging the whole root ball in a bucket or bathtub for 15 minutes weekly and letting it drip dry before rehanging. Mist leaves regularly between waterings, unless it is humid.

SUNLIGHT: Bright to medium indirect light.

PLACEMENT: Usually mounted on a piece of wood or cork and hung on the wall, or set in the crook of a tree. These can also be kept in clay pots, where their spores may start growing on the outside of the pot.

EXTRA CREDIT: Staghorns prefer humidity and temperatures 60°F- 75°F (15°C-24°C), so take it outside only when the temperature is right and the humidity is high (unless you live somewhere staghorns grow in the wild naturally). With proper care, they can be very long-lived. Note that they get heavy when wet, so mount well with strong hardware.

WORD OF CAUTION: Staghorns are SAFE for cats, dogs, and horses- yay!

Photo Credit: 1) Mattie Kannard & Dennis Smith’s home by Dabito, from The New Bohemians.  2) Danae Horst

Plant-o-Pedia excerpt from The New Bohemians with thanks to Stephanie Bartron.


Alternative Text Danae Horst

Total Plant Geek. Check out my botanical shop and design firm, Folia Collective.

4 responses to “Plant-o-Pedia: Staghorn Fern”

  1. aprilneverends says:

    Hooray! I love, love Staghorn ferns!
    For now, we’ve got just one growing on the side of a tree..we didn’t plant it-the previous owner did. I think it’s my favorite plant in the backyard.

    I dream of having them inside the house too.

  2. wild nettle says:

    I need to buy Staghorn Fern.

  3. Anton says:

    Such a beautiful plant, but it sounds like a pain to care for… you’ve gotta get it down and lug it into the bathtub just to water it? I suppose if you only have to do it once a week it’s not that big of a deal, but I definitely prefer plants that you only have to water the “normal” way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do they drop spores all over the ground like a regular fern? When i have ferns in arrangements i always have to sweep under them. Wondering if stags are the same

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