Staghorn Fern, scientifically named Platycerium, is a remarkable fern cherished for its distinctive fronds and growth pattern. It hails from tropical and subtropical regions in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. This fern is a member of the Polypodiaceae family and it has a unique anatomy and ancient heritage, unlike most houseplants. It's fascinating to note that there are approximately 12,000 fern species globally, making ferns among the Earth's oldest known plants.
Staghorn Fern has two types of fronds - sterile and fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are flat, shield-shaped, and resemble the antlers of a stag or deer, which is how they got their common name. These fronds are usually green and grow outward to capture sunlight and rainwater. Fertile fronds, on the other hand, are brown and appear as tufts or masses near the center of the plant. They produce spores and help with reproduction.
Staghorn Fern is epiphytic, which means it attaches itself to trees or other surfaces but does not harm their hosts. When grown as houseplants, this fern can either be planted in a pot or suspended in hanging baskets. Its striking appearance fits in a variety of display options.
Staghorn Fern is easy-care, pet-friendly, tolerant of low-light conditions and perfect for beginners. It is also among the most effective air-purifying houseplants.
While it does best in bright, indirect light, Staghorn can tolerate lower light conditions. This makes this plant suitable for rooms with limited natural sunlight or spaces that receive filtered or diffused light.
Water your Staghorn fern thoroughly by submerging it in a basin of water or by pouring water over the root ball. Let the water drain out completely. Water when the top few inches of the mounting material or potting mix feels dry.
Staghorn Fern doesn’t grow in traditional potting soil. Instead, it thrives in an epiphytic mix, which is typically a combination of sphagnum moss, orchid bark, and a small amount of potting soil or well-rotted compost.
Maintain a room temperature between 60-75°F. Avoid exposing the fern to temperatures below 50°F. This fern loves humid environments (humidity level of 50% or higher).
Fertilize approximately every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Reduce or eliminate fertilization during the dormant season (fall and winter) when the fern's growth slows down. Apply fertilizer to the shield fronds, not the antler fronds.
This plant is non-toxic.
USDA Zone 9-12
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)