Repoting staghorn fern - Knowledgebase Question

Winter Haven, Fl
Question by cjgero
October 4, 2009
What category does a fern fall into? I have a stag horn fern that broke 1 of it's wires that was hanging it. Then it started growing flopped to one side. It has grown right over the wires on one side. How do I straighten this out and hang it evenly? Also how do I rid it of large red ants without hurting the plant? Thank You, Cyndi

Answer from NGA
October 4, 2009


I would try to fish the wires out of the plant by pulling them with a pair of pliers. If you cannot extract them without breaking a frond, just cut them off as close as possible to the plant and leave them alone. In time they may girdle the plant and a frond may fall off so try to remove them if possible. I don't know that you can straighten the plant out - at least not all at once. You may be able to coax it into a straighter position by wrapping the lower part with a sling made of soft material (such as some old pantyhose or nylon stocking) and attached to a stable area on the slab or tree or wherever you have yours planted. If you increase the tension on the sling every few weeks you may be able to coax that part of the plant to straighten up. Don't apply too much tension or it can break the plant. I'm not sure why ants are interested in your staghorn. They may be finding water or even sugary nectar there. Tanglefoot is a super sticky substance that is sometimes applied to the trunks of trees to keep ants from climbing up. You may be able to make a cardboard or wooden barrier near your staghorn and spread Tanglefoot on the barrier to keep ants from getting to your staghorn. Hope this helps!

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