This plant has been on my wish list for sometime now and is a superstar on social media platforms like Instagram. These are a must have in your collection if you are a plant lover / collector. Not only are they a super interesting trendy design element they also are alive and provide us with green therapy & oxygen right in our living rooms.
A Staghorn's anatomy of is much different then your common plant. They don't reproduce the same way through seed or flowering but rather through spores almost like mushrooms and mosses.
The leaves are called fronds and there are two types: The Female "Antler" shaped fronds are the largest ones that you will see sticking the furthest out from the plant. Spores will form on the lower area of these fonds appearing like a brown fuzz ( don't remove!).
The second male frond is called the shield. These are round in shape and located at the base of the plant. They provide protection to the roots and take in water and nutrients. These are the fonds that dry up and turn brown and should be left on the fern as is ( Do not remove!). People always think this means there fern is dyeing but this is part of the ferns natural cycle.
Then there is the root ball which is fairly minimal and there main purpose is to help attach themselves to trees.
Indoor Care Requirements:
Light: Bright Indirect light. Do not place in direct sunlight or you will burn the fronds. These guys are native to the tropics and Australia depending on which variety you have. So the brightest room in your house would be and ideal spot as long as there is no direct sunlight hitting the plant. Southern / Eastern exposure if possible.
Water: When the soil/moss at the base of the plant feels dry, dunk board in a sink or basin of room temperature water for about a minute, or until fully saturated. Due to such a small root system make sure that there is adequate drainage to avoid rot (Moss is great for avoiding this).
Mist fronds periodically with a fine mist spray bottle. You can mist entire plant but focus on the shield fonds and base ( where the plant absorbs most of it water and nutrients through).
How Often to Water:
The environment in everyones house will be different and therefore require a different watering schedule. As a general rule water once per week in dry, hot times of year ( many of our houses in Canada will not get this warm but furnaces and wood stoves can make it quite dry), and once every two to three weeks during cooler months. Start with this schedule, and adjust as necessary depending on your space.
The Staghorn Fern prefers an environment with warm temperatures, high humidity and good air circulation. We have a long winter here in Canada so remember to reduce your watering during these grey months. Many of you are like myself and snip off all brown "dead looking leaves" on your house plants to keep them looking happy and healthy. With your Staghorn fern you will notice the flat “shield fronds” turning brown this is normal and do not remove these brown fronds. The plant needs these brown fronds to live.
Platycerium bifurcatum "Netherlands" most common ( in pictures above).