staghorn firn - Knowledgebase Question

Staten Island, Ne
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Question by bborzoi
January 7, 2011
Have staghorn firn for a few years. hard to find lately.I Would like to propergate this tell me how to do this. Is there more than one way? i also heard something about spores to propergate it. I live on the east coast and have mine mounted on wood inside my house. it has lost a few areas of where i had horns. i now have a few horns and sheilds. please give details each way

Answer from NGA
January 7, 2011
Staghorn ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum) can grow sterile fronds that are three feet long and up to a foot across. The fertile fronds are even larger. 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. You can collect the spores from the fertile fronds by scraping them off the fronds and collecting them. Place a few pieces of broken clay pot in a petri dish or shallow container with a plastic lid. Scrape the spores off onto the broken clay pot and add about an inch of (cooled) boiled water to your container. You should have a large area of the clay or terracotta exposed. Of course the surface should rise up about an inch or so above the water surface. The sterile water can 'wick' through the terracotta and provide sufficient moisture. Securing the lid onto the container maintains humidity. Place the container in a place that's nice and warm, with good light, but not in direct sunlight. Just wait and watch. When you find the plants growing you can carefully remove them, roots and all and pot them up so they can develop a larger root system. Once they do, you can mount them just as you did your original staghorn.

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