Staghorn or Stag’s Horn Fern
An extraordinary fern in both size and shape the Staghorn Ferns are an absolute must for Florida gardens that have a large tree for these wonderful plants to grow on or hang from. Of the family Polypodiaceae it is well known as Staghorn Fern for the fertile fronds that resemble antlers when maturing. It is fairly easy to grow in partial shade and mostly undemanding. Staghorn Ferns are native to the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Africa and South America.
Common Name: Staghorn or Stag’s Horn Fern
Botanical Name: Platycerium Bifurcatum
Plant Type: Epiphytic Fern
Origin: Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Africa and South America
Zones: 9 – 11 — hardy to Orlando and Tampa Area
Rate of Growth: Slow to Medium
Salt Tolerance: Not Salt Tolerant
Soil Requirements: None, epiphytic fern which may be attached to a pad of moss or similar substrate and tied onto a tree or board. If a large tree is not available a large wire basket may be used.
Water Requirements: Water freely when in growth (mist daily), sparingly in winter
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly
Light Requirements: Partial Shade
Form: Mounding fern
Leaves: Deep gray-green colored, lightly hairy heart or kidney shaped sterile fronds 5-18″ in diameter becoming papery and brown with age. Fertile fronds 5″ to 6′ long, deep gray-green resembling antlers. Spores are produced in cinnamon-colored patches on underside tips of the fronds. As the fronds age they fall off and are replaced by new ones.
Fruits: None, produce spores year round
Pests: Sometimes affected by Scale Insects
Uses: Show piece
Bad Habits: Become extremely large with maturity, must have strong support, may colonize entire tree. Provides cover for tree frogs, lizards, snakes, palmetto bugs, etc.
Cost: $$ – $$$ — reasonable to expensive
Propagation: Spores or detach and replant plantlets from parents when pups form mounds 4″ across.