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Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern


Platycerium bifurcatum; Staghorn Fern - 6"

The Staghorn Fern is a striking and unique epiphytic plant, well-loved for its dramatic fronds that resemble the antlers of a stag. This fern is a splendid addition to any indoor or outdoor garden seeking a touch of the exotic.


  • Growth Habit: This fern grows epiphytically, meaning it often attaches to other plants or substrates rather than growing in soil. It is perfect for mounting on organic materials like wood or hanging in baskets.
  • Color & Shape: The foliar fronds are a vibrant green and can develop a silvery-grey fuzz on their surface, which helps the plant absorb moisture from the air. 
    Features two distinct types of fronds: basal fronds that are round and flat, which serve as anchors against the host tree or wall, and foliar fronds that are bifurcated and resemble deer antlers.
  • Plant Size: Mature individuals can reach impressive sizes, depending on their growing conditions and age.
  • Care Requirements: Prefers indirect light, high humidity, and needs to be watered by misting the fronds and the base regularly. It thrives in well-ventilated areas and should not be overwatered to avoid root rot.


Ideal for those looking for a low-maintenance plant that brings a lush, tropical feel to their environment, the Staghorn Fern is not only beautiful but also fascinating in its natural form and growth pattern.


A popular way to showcase Staghorn Ferns is by mounting them on pieces of wood or other organic substrates. See our additional information section below for a step by step guide on how to mount your fern!

  • Mounting a Staghorn Fern

    Mounting a Staghorn Fern: A Guide to Epiphytic Gardening


    Staghorn ferns (Platycerium spp.) are fascinating plants that naturally grow as epiphytes, attaching themselves to trees in their native rainforest environments without harming their hosts. This unique growing habit allows them to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and debris around them, rather than through roots in the soil. Given their natural propensity to grow on other objects, mounting a Staghorn fern on a piece of wood or another organic substrate not only mimics their natural growing conditions but also makes for a stunning display in home gardens. 


    Here's how to successfully mount and care for a Staghorn fern.

    Materials Needed

    -Staghorn fern plant
    -A wooden plaque, board, or a piece of driftwood
    -Sphagnum moss, soaked and squeezed dry
    -Fishing line, nylon thread, or plastic-coated wire
    -A hook or nail for hanging
    -Hammer or screwdriver (depending on hanging mechanism)

    Optional: sheet moss to cover the base


    Step-by-Step Instructions

    Select the Right Wood
    Choose a piece of wood that is slightly larger than the base of your fern. The wood should be clean and free of chemicals. Driftwood, cedar, and oak are excellent choices as they are durable and resistant to decay.


    Prepare the Fern
    Gently remove the Staghorn fern from its pot and carefully shake off any loose soil from the roots. It’s important not to damage the roots during this process.


    Hydrate the Moss
    Take your sphagnum moss (which should be pre-soaked in water and wrung out) and create a bed on the wood where you will place the fern. The moss will act as a moisture reservoir and encourage the fern’s roots to attach to the wooden substrate.


    Position the Fern
    Place the base of the Staghorn fern onto the bed of sphagnum moss. Arrange the fern so that its basal fronds (the shield fronds) are flat against the wood, as these will eventually cover the mounting hardware and moss.


    Secure the Fern
    Use the fishing line, nylon thread, or plastic-coated wire to secure the fern to the wood. Wrap the material gently but firmly around the base of the plant, over the moss, and around the wood several times. Ensure it is tight enough to hold the plant in place but not so tight as to cut into the plant material.


    Add Aesthetic Touches
    Optionally, you can add sheet moss around the mounted fern to hide the mounting materials and give the installation a finished look. This also helps to maintain humidity around the plant.


    Hang the Mounted Fern
    Attach a hook or nail to the back of the wooden plaque (or directly through part of the wood, if appropriate) for hanging. Choose a location for display that receives indirect light and has good air circulation. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the fern’s fronds.


    Initial Care
    For the first few weeks, mist the fern frequently to help establish it. The moss should be kept moist but not wet. Over time, the fern will start to attach its roots to the moss and wood, becoming self-sustaining.



    Mounting a Staghorn fern is a creative way to display these unique plants and bring a bit of the rainforest into your home. By following these steps, you ensure that your Staghorn fern will thrive and become a fascinating conversation piece. With minimal care, this epiphytic plant can provide beauty and enjoyment for years to come.

  • Comprehensive Guide: Caring for Staghorn Ferns

    Caring for Staghorn Ferns: A Comprehensive Guide

    Staghorn ferns (Platycerium spp.) are majestic, tropical epiphytes that mimic the growth patterns of orchids and other air plants. Known for their uniquely shaped fronds that resemble the antlers of a stag, these ferns make a dramatic addition to any indoor or outdoor space. While they may appear daunting to care for due to their exotic look, Staghorn ferns are surprisingly resilient and can thrive with the right care routine. Here’s how to ensure your Staghorn fern remains healthy and vibrant.

    Optimal Growing Conditions

    • Light: Staghorn ferns prefer bright, indirect light. An east-facing window that gets morning light or a shaded part of a southern or western window are ideal spots. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their fronds, while too little light will stunt their growth.

    • Temperature and Humidity: Being tropical plants, Staghorn ferns thrive in warm, humid conditions. They prefer temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). If your home is dry, especially during winter, increase humidity around the fern by misting it regularly, using a humidifier, or placing it in a naturally humid environment like a bathroom.

    • Watering: Watering correctly is crucial for Staghorn ferns. The frequency of watering will depend on the humidity and temperature of your home as well as the season. Typically, soaking the entire plant in water once a week during the growing season (spring and summer) and reducing to every two to three weeks during the dormant season (fall and winter) is sufficient. Ensure the plant has time to dry out slightly between waterings.

    • Feeding: Feed your Staghorn fern monthly during the growing season with a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer (like a 1-1-1 ratio). During the dormant season, reduce feeding to once every other month. Over-fertilization can harm the plant, so it's crucial to follow the recommended dilution ratios.

    Mounting and Soil

    • Mounting: Staghorn ferns are traditionally mounted on a piece of wood or hung in a basket, which allows for ample air circulation around the roots. When mounting, use sphagnum moss as a base for the roots and secure the plant with fishing line or nylon thread.

    • Soil: If you prefer not to mount your fern, ensure to use a pot with a very loose, well-draining medium, such as orchid bark mixed with charcoal and sphagnum moss. This will help mimic the natural growing conditions of the ferns and prevent waterlogging.

    General Maintenance

    • Cleaning: Dust and debris can collect on the fronds. Gently dust your fern’s fronds with a soft brush or blow lightly with a hair dryer set on 'cool' to keep them clean and allow for efficient photosynthesis.

    • Pruning: Remove dead or brown fronds from your Staghorn fern to keep it healthy and improve its appearance. This will also help prevent any fungal infections. Always use sterilized scissors or pruning shears to avoid introducing diseases.

    • Pest Management: Staghorn ferns are relatively resistant to pests, but they can still be affected by scale insects and mealybugs. Inspect regularly and treat pests with neem oil or a mild insecticidal soap.


    With their grandiose fronds and minimal care requirements, Staghorn ferns are excellent for adding a touch of the tropics to your living space. By providing the right balance of light, humidity, and water and following the simple care steps outlined above, you can enjoy the unique beauty of your Staghorn fern for many years. Whether mounted on a rustic piece of wood or nestled in a cozy basket, these ferns can transform any area into a lush, green retreat.

  • Propagation Techniques for Staghorn Fern

    Propagating Staghorn Ferns: Techniques and Tips


    Staghorn ferns (Platycerium spp.) are dramatic, epiphytic plants that not only beautify the space around them but also provide a rewarding gardening project. These unique ferns can be propagated by spore or by vegetative division. Both methods are fascinating and can be quite successful with the right approach. Here’s a detailed guide on how to propagate Staghorn ferns using these methods.

    Propagation by Division

    Dividing a Staghorn fern is the most common method of propagation, especially for the amateur gardener. This process involves splitting a mature plant into several parts, each of which can grow into a new plant.

    Materials Needed:

    • Sharp, clean scissors or a knife
    • Gloves (optional, for handling)
    • Sphagnum moss
    • String or fishing line
    • Mounting board or basket, as preferred

    Step-by-Step Instructions:

    • Choose the Right Time: The best time to divide your Staghorn fern is during the spring or early summer, which gives the plant plenty of time to establish itself before the colder months.
    • Remove the Fern from Its Support: Carefully take the fern down from its mounting board or basket. Remove any mounting materials gently to expose the root ball and basal fronds.
    • Identify Division Points: Look for natural divisions in the plant. These are typically smaller, separate growths around the main body of the fern.
    • Cut the Divisions: Using sharp and clean scissors or a knife, cut through the rhizome to separate the divisions. Ensure each division has at least one growth point (an actively growing frond).
    • Prepare New Mounts: Mount each division onto a new board or in a basket using sphagnum moss to hold it in place and tie it securely with string or fishing line.
    • Aftercare: Hang the newly mounted divisions in a shaded spot where they will receive plenty of indirect light. Keep the sphagnum moss moist but not wet to encourage growth. It can take a few months for the divisions to establish themselves and start new growth.

    Propagation by Spores

    Propagating Staghorn ferns from spores is a slower and more meticulous process, often used by more experienced gardeners or those interested in botany.

    Materials Needed:

    • Mature Staghorn fern with visible spores on the undersides of the fronds
    • Small brush or knife
    • Small pots or trays
    • Sterile seed starting mix
    • Plastic wrap or a glass cover

    Step-by-Step Instructions:

    • Collect Spores: Spores appear as brown patches on the undersides of the fertile fronds. Use a small brush or knife to carefully collect the spores.
    • Prepare Pots: Fill small pots or trays with a sterile seed starting mix. Water the mix lightly to ensure it is moist throughout.
    • Sow the Spores: Sprinkle the spores evenly over the surface of the moist substrate. Do not cover the spores with soil, as they need light to germinate.
    • Create a Humid Environment: Cover the pots or trays with plastic wrap or a glass cover to maintain humidity and keep the substrate moist.
    • Place in Indirect Light: Position the pots or trays in a warm place with plenty of indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can dry out the substrate too quickly.
    • Germination and Growth: Spore germination can take several months, so patience is key. Once the spores have germinated and the young ferns are large enough to handle, they can be transferred to individual pots or mounted as described in the division method.


    Propagating Staghorn ferns can be a fulfilling addition to your gardening repertoire, whether you choose the quicker division method or the slower, more detailed spore method. Both techniques provide a rewarding way to increase your collection of these unique and beautiful plants. With care and attention, your efforts will yield lush, healthy new ferns that can be enjoyed for many years to come.

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