The Q&A Archives: staghorn fern

Question: I have a medium sized staghorn fern, I put moss underneath it with a large piece of wood to support it, since the moss and padding it has no way of drying out. The base I formed holds the water and it is very unhappy and not as firm as it was. I read that moss would be good for it and not the coconut base but since the switch it hasn't been looking good, any advice?

Answer: Most Staghorns are grown on slabs of bark or in hanging baskets. Staghorn Fern can be propagated by carefully cutting apart any plantlets produced at the base of the plant. These may be established on a slab of redwood or cork. First, wrap the roots in damp sphagnum moss and then tie the root ball tightly. Some people use cotton string and others use a small piece of chicken wire. Eventually the roots and round basal fronds will grip the bark and support the plant. An alternative technique that I have used with good success is to place the plantlets on the exterior of a hanging basket lined with a coconut coir liner (or sphagnum moss) and filled with a sphagnum or potting soil mix. In time, you will have one big, beautiful staghorn as a hanging (rather than wall mounted plant! Just resist the urge to overwater. Little fertilizer is needed. An occasional dose of fish emulsion or seaweed extract is fine. I'd move it back to the way it was growing well....

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