Ask a Question forum: My platycerium holttumii is not doing well

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Godot
Jan 6, 2017 5:42 PM CST
Hi. I'm posting a photo of my staghorn. I live in San Diego, CA, near the coast and have been bringing it inside the house at night. I've been watering it about every 2 weeks when moss is dry. Does this look like a fungal infection or over watering? Any advice?
Thumb of 2017-01-06/visitor/e5512b


Thumb of 2017-01-06/visitor/bae884

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 6, 2017 6:45 PM CST
Welcome!

I'm not an expert but this I do know: The basil leaves do turn brown and hard with age. But, I don't think your plant is old enough for that to be happening. I suspect you just aren't watering enough. I would be soaking the entire plant in a tub of water a couple times a week.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 6, 2017 6:57 PM CST
@drdawg knows a lot about the Staghorn ferns.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jan 6, 2017 7:34 PM CST
Soaking ! Well !!! Bottom watering . Especially if its rootbound 😬
Pull it out of pot to see. It probably is.
I would up pot it or repot it.
Trim/ scuff up rootball.
If rootbound the rootball wont take any or much water in.
You live in San Diego. So ! I'm wondering why you bring it into a WARM , DRY , and LITED house at nite ???
Its being deprived of all that nice cool damp air at nite and darkness. While inside its warm, lited and getting dried out.
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
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drdawg
Jan 6, 2017 7:49 PM CST
Welcome! @godot. I have never grown that particular variety, so what I will state is simply what I have seen and learned from growing other Platycerium varieties.

Staghorns, particularly when they are young and small require frequent watering. Depending on the temperature, I water mine every 3-14 days. Mounted ones are really very hard to overwater, since excess water drains away, there is little or no water-retentive soil, and mounted ones have more air-movement around them, drying them out more quickly. The problem is that I don't know the age of your plant and don't know how thick the basal-frond layer is. The thicker that layer, the less watering it requires. The basal-frond layer acts like a sponge, so the thicker it is, the more sponge-like material there will be.

Basal fronds, the round fronds, do die back and thus turn brown. That's what forms that "spongy" layer. I have fronds turn brown when my plants are really young, even less than 1 yr. old. That's their nature. Mounted plants will have the basal fronds die and brown more quickly than plants growing in pots and baskets, those growing in potting soil. The exact same age plant will have the basal frond die within 2-4 wks. mounted, but it can remain bright green for 6-8 weeks when potted. That's because those growing in soil will have the root-ball remain wetter longer. Thus, what I see on your plant may be perfectly normal.

Staghorn fern, like most tropical plants, don't need as frequent watering in the fall and winter months. They never really quit growing but they do seem to grow more slowly during those months. While my staghorns are inside, from November until April, I water the small ones every 4-5 days and the large ones every two weeks. I water them by filling a large sink with tepid water and invert the mounts so that the plants face-down in the sink. I will let them soak upside down for 5-15 minutes. The smaller ones are there for 5 minutes and the large ones for 15 minutes.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Tropical Plants & More
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 6, 2017 7:51 PM CST
Philip, I believe this staghorn is mounted, not potted.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.

Godot
Jan 6, 2017 10:38 PM CST
Thanks very much for your input!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Tropical Plants & More
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 7, 2017 7:14 AM CST
By the way, @Godot, where did you get this (unusual) Platycerium?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.

Godot
Jan 7, 2017 3:00 PM CST
I bought a ridleyi and holttumii in 4" pots from eBay in Oct 2016. The holttumii has really taken off and grown very quickly. The ridleyi is a much slower grower. I also got a tiny andinum in June 2016 and it was so tiny when I mounted it I didn't know which way was up.... now it's looking much stronger and I'm posting a photo of my andinum. It's on a 7 by 7" board.
Thumb of 2017-01-07/Godot/2199d0

Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Tropical Plants & More
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 7, 2017 3:25 PM CST
You are growing some really unusual stags, @Godot. I guess you know that the P. andinum is the only staghorn native to the Americas.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.

Godot
Jan 7, 2017 5:38 PM CST
I meant I bought the 1st two in Oct 2015 so that probably makes them about a year and a half old. That is interesting about the andinum. I'm handling them carefully because I know they are more difficult to grow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Tropical Plants & More
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jan 7, 2017 6:10 PM CST
Good luck. Your plants were at least 6 mo. old when you got them, so they are older than you think.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.

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