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How To Care For A Staghorn Fern?

How to care for a staghorn fern will be the first thing on your lips if you have recently acquired one of these pretty little ferns.

How to feed it; how much water it likes; when it needs to be repotted – all this and more will be covered in this guide, so you have the best ideas on how to look after your little green gem!

Caring For A Staghorn Fern

How To Care For A Staghorn Fern

It may surprise you to learn that these plants, although they are tropical and rather specialized, are actually quite easy to care for.

They don’t need too much water or feeding; they rarely need repotting, and they don’t need to chase the sun in order to thrive.

Staghorn ferns can grow in a few different mediums – although some will produce better results than others – and they will generally reward you with nice green growth.

  1. Keep your staghorn on a board covered with sphagnum moss, or in a wire mesh hanging basket, to mimic its natural conditions as closely as you can.
  2. It needs to have air circulating all around its leaves and roots, so hanging it in a basket or mounting it on a board is the best plan.
  3. Do not use normal garden soil – anything this epiphyte is planted in needs to be very loose and well draining.
  4. Give it a position with indirect, dappled sunlight, so that it can photosynthesize without getting burnt.
  5. Water it sparingly – once a week in the summer and every 2-3 weeks in its dormant stage is plenty.
  6. Feed it with a balanced, organic, water soluble fertilizer once a month in the growing season, and sporadically during the winter.
  7. Remove the “pups” – new baby staghorns growing from the “mother” – to propagate new growth and to allow the main plant to focus on its growth.
  8. Keep an eye out for pest infestations. These plants are vulnerable to sap suckers like aphids and mealy bugs.
  9. Remove dead or diseased leaves – it may be that these have been attacked or damaged, so they should be removed for the health of the whole plant.

This article will tell you just about everything you need to know about how to care for staghorn ferns.

How Often Should I Water A Staghorn Fern?

Of course, watering requirements varies between plant to plant, and it also depends on the weather conditions.

Most plants don’t need as much water in the winter as the summer, when the weather is warmer and the plant is growing at full steam.

Although staghorn ferns are tropical plants, they have pretty low water requirements compared to some other plants.

A good rule of thumb is to give it a drink around once a week in the hot summer months, and hold off to between two and three weeks in the winter.

Of course, you will need to pay attention to your plant itself – if it is showing signs of over or under watering, then you will need to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Staghorn ferns, because of their preferred tropical environment, will like to be kept humid – you should give it a little misting once in a while.

Don’t do this excessively though – too much moisture will rot your fern’s roots, so hole off on the spray unless conditions are seriously warm.

What Do You Feed A Staghorn Fern?

What Do You Feed A Staghorn Fern

These little plants really don’t need too much outside help in order to thrive and grow healthy and strong.

If you need to give them an extra little dose and you don’t fancy making your own, a balanced fertilizer from a gardening store is just fine.

Look for one whose NPK numbers are equal – this plant doesn’t need lots of feeding, and certainly doesn’t need too much of any of plants’ favorite nutrients.

Go for a water soluble fertilizer, so your staghorn can easily absorb it through its roots. This is how it feeds in the wild, so this is perfect for your fern.

You won’t have to dose them with fertilizer on a regular basis, and you can use some very unexpected ingredients to keep them nourished!

Placing a banana peel under the shield leaves will help to release essential nutrients – you can snip up the peel to speed up the process.

Kelp is something that staghorns love, so feeding them a little seaweed extract once in a while will do them nothing but good.

Diluted fish emulsion is another good bet; apply this over few weeks in the summer for the best results.

If you want to go down the shop-bought fertilizer route, go for a water soluble, balanced fertilizer whose NKP numbers are the same.

Here is a video showing you why you should, and the best ways, to feed your staghorn banana!

How Much Sun Does A Staghorn Fern Need?

Although these plants hail from hot, sunny countries, they need surprisingly little sunlight themselves!

Staghorn ferns grow clinging onto trees in jungles and rainforests, so they very rarely see the brightest light of the sun.

Diffused sunlight is the best for these little beauties; direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and make the plant sick.

If you are growing them outdoors, pick a shady spot where they can be sheltered by taller plants which will block out the brightest sun.

For indoor growing staghorns, pick a room which gets plenty of bright sunlight, but keep them away from direct sun streaming through windows.

Remember that, although this is a low light requiring plant, it will still need sunlight in order to survive.

Caring for a staghorn fern is very rewarding – this little fern is actually pretty easygoing, and it will reward you with some lovely trailing greenery.

Once you know how to care for a staghorn fern you will be the envy of all your gardening friends as you grow and train your tropical beauty!

Staghorn Fern Key Facts

NameStaghorn Fern
Scientific NamePlatycerium
FamilyPolypodiaceae
Light RequirementsLots of bright, indirect light
Soil RequirementsThis is an epiphytic plant which needs no soil
Temperature RequirementsBetween 16 and 24 degrees C, no colder than 12 degrees C
Water RequirementsWater once a week in summer, every 2-3 weeks in cooler months
Fertilizer RequirementsFeed a balanced water soluble feed monthly during spring and summer, reduce to monthly when the plant is dormant
Bloom TimeNon flowering fern
PestsAphids, mealy bugs
Size2-3 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide

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