With houseplant trends taking over Instagram, we’re always excited to introduce a new, customer requested variety into the greenhouse! This week we’re welcoming the increasingly popular Staghorn Fern, a stunning houseplant with a lineage that dates back to the days of the dinosaurs! Like air plants or orchids, Staghorn Ferns are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants and trees in their natural environments. Giving and taking nothing from the trees, Staghorns require air and water for nourishment.
These artsy looking ferns are known for their leathery textured fronds with felt-like hairs used to absorb water.
The Staghorn Fern is composed of two types of fronds:
- Staghorn/Antler: these fertile fronds, shaped like antlers of deer or moose, branch out and grow away from the root in layers.
- Basal: these sterile fronds are round, flat and plate-like, shielding the base of the plant and acting as an anchor protecting the plant roots.
Staghorn Ferns have an uncomplicated root ball system that requires extensive drainage and is particularly susceptible to root rot if grown in the wrong environment. It is important to note that brown/cinnamon colour on Staghorn Ferns does not signify the need for removal. Fuzzy spores will develop on the lower fronds, do not remove them, and a brown shield frond should also stay intact.
Staghorn Fern Care & Maintenance:
- Bright, indirect/diffused light. Southern/Eastern light exposure is best.
- If purchased in a container, once it has outgrown its home, you will want to relocate your Staghorn Fern. Mount it to a piece of wood or place it in a basket. Incorporate a little mound of peat, compost or other organic matter piled up under the plant. They grow best this way because you are re-creating how they grow in a natural habitat- by allowing for maximum air circulation
- Should be placed in an area where the temperature will not drop below 50 degrees or above 100 degrees.
Water: Misting & Soaking
- Use a spray bottle and mist the entire plant, focusing on the underside of the antler fronds and the shield fronds (especially during Summer/Fall)
- Dunk the plan in a sink or bowl of water/run under the tap for about a minute or until the plant’s roots are fully saturated- allow your plant to drip dry.
- The amount of light, humidity, and heat will dictate the watering schedule for your Staghorn- however watering once a week in dry/hot times and once every 2-3 weeks during cooler months is recommended.
- Check the moss at the base of the plant regularly for dryness.
- If the antler fronds begin to brown/blacken at the base, this is a sign of over-watering. Reduce watering to once monthly until the plant begins to recover. If the antler fronds begin to brown at the tips/wilt, this is a sign of under-watering. Increase watering as needed.
- Fertilizing your Staghorn Fern will promote vigorous growth, especially in younger plants. It is recommended to feed your fern a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer (ratio of 1:1:1) monthly during growing seasons (Spring and Summer) and every other month during periods of dormancy, Fall and Winter.