Platycerium - “Staghorn Fern”

Light: Staghorns ferns prefer bright, filtered light. They can handle more sunlight given enough water, warmth, and humidity. 

Water: Water frequently to keep even moisture at all times. If mounted, you will want to dampen the growing medium by running water over the board and growing medium. Potted ferns can be watered once the top inch or so of soil is dry, but be sure it drains well as these epiphytic plants do not enjoy sitting in standing water. If the tips of the foliar fronds begin to brown, your fern might be underwatered and you should increase the frequency or volume of your watering. If the bases of the foliar fronds begin to blacken, this is a sign of overwatering and a sign to cut back the frequency.

Environment: Staghorns thrive in warm, humid conditions. Fertilize during the growing season with a heavily diluted all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks.

Toxicity: Reported to be non-toxic to dogs and cats.

Of Note:

  • Young plants are frequently grown in pots. However, these plants are natural epiphytes and, when mature, should be mounted to a plaque or piece of bark.
  • Platycerium have two distinct types of fronds: basal and foliar. The basal fronds cover the root ball and collect moisture and nutrients from decaying leaves in their natural environment. It is normal for basal fronds to brown with age. The foliar fronds reproduce via spores found in patches on the backs of mature fronds. Foliar fronds have a velvety covering that absorbs water and protects from intense sun. Take care to not wipe this velvety surface away.