The Q&A Archives: Help for stag horn fern

Question: I have a stag horn fern that has been in my kitchen over 3yrs. This year however, it is not looking as good as usual. The leaves are turning a light green, turning brown at the tips, overall just looks bad..HELP!

Answer: There may not be anything wrong with your staghorn fern. There are 2 kinds of fronds on a staghorn fern: sterile fronds are flat and pale green, turning tan with age: fertile fronds are pale green, forked and resemble deer antlers. The brown tips could very well be spores for the next generation. The ripe spores can be collected on a piece of paper placed under the spore-bearing leaves. Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. Spores germinate best at a temperature of 68-70 degrees. The growing medium should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle, they can be transplanted into individual containers. The root of your existing plant can be divided at the end of the rest period, Feb.-March. Do this carefully with a sharp knife and keep a healthy rhizome section with each division.

Best wishes with your staghorn fern!

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