Dividing Staghorn Fern - Knowledgebase Question

Jensen Beach, FL
Question by dmsammis
May 25, 1998
Need information on how to safely remove and divide my large staghorn fern (currently attached to full grown palm tree).


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Answer from NGA
May 25, 1998

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Staghorn Fern can be propagated by carefully cutting the plant off the palm tree taking care to cut as close to the palm as possible. Then you can carefully cut 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 spagnum moss) and filled with a spagnum 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. Keep the plant moderately moist. Little fertilizer is needed. An occasional dose of fish emulsion or seaweed extract is fine.

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