Repoting staghorn fern - Knowledgebase Question

Winter Haven, Fl
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Question by cjgero
October 4, 2009
What category does a fern fall into?

Answer from NGA
October 4, 2009
Hmmm... good question! In any gardening region except Florida, it is considered a houseplant. But in Florida it is considered a perennial. In any event, you can successfully transplant or repot a staghorn fern and you can take little starts or plantlets from a mature fern and pot them up.

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. The fronds accumulate organic matter which feeds the plant. Most Staghorns are grown on slabs of bark or in hanging baskets. Either can be removed from the slab or basket and placed on a larger slab or into a larger container. Just remove as carefully as possible so you don't damage too many roots.

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. Keep the plant moderately moist. Little fertilizer is needed. An occasional dose of fish emulsion or seaweed extract is fine.

Hope this information is helpful.

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