Home Wearne’s Staghorn Nursery
Photo Gallery Linda Wearne Owner
Caring for your Staghorn Portland, OR 97267
Technical Description 503-709-7672
  email: LindaTooWearne@gmail.com
Common Name:Staghorn or Stag's Horn Fern
Botanical Name:Platycerium Bifurcatum
Family:Polypodiaceae
Plant Type:Epiphytic Fern
Origin:Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Africa and South America
Zones:9 - 11 -- hardy to Orlando and Tampa Area.
Soil Requirements:None, epiphytic fern which may be attached to a pad of moss or similar substrate and tied onto a tree or board. If a large tree is not available a large wire basket may be used.
Water Requirements:Water freely when in growth (mist daily), sparingly in winter.
Nutritional Requirements:Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
Light Requirements:Partial Shade.
Leaves:Deep gray-green colored, lightly hairy heart or kidney shaped sterile fronds 5-18" in diameter becoming papery and brown with age. Fertile fronds 5" to 6' long, deep gray-green resembling antlers. Spores are produced in cinnamon-colored patches on underside tips of the fronds. As the fronds age they fall off and are replaced by new ones.
Flowers:None.
Fruits:None, produce spores year round.
Pests:Sometimes affected by Scale Insects
Uses:Show piece
Bad Habits:Become extremely large with maturity, must have strong support, may colonize entire tree. Provides cover for tree frogs, lizards, snakes, palmetto bugs, etc.
Propagation:Spores or detach and replant plantlets from parents when pups form mounds 4" across.
They are unusual in the sense that they grow semi-epiphytically, that is, with very little soil and attached to tree trunks or branches rather than growing in soil. Staghorn Ferns are among the most exotic of all Patio-Garden plants. They come in a variety of 18 species plus many cultivars and hybrids that are wonderfully collectable. The most common species is (Platycerium bifurcatum).
Since they don't flower most, but not all, reproduce by periodically producing offsets when grown in favorable conditions. These offsets grow to maturity over a period of a year or so which starts the process of turning the single specimen into a clump. This process can be left to continue indefinitely over a period of years and the clump can become enormous. However, offsets can, at any time, be separated from the mother plant and mounted on separate plaques.
All ferns reproduce by spores which are the brown patches that develop periodically on the underside of the fertile frond (leaf) tips. It is a sign of health when they appear and, in Nature, some of these wind-blown spores grow into mature plants over a period of years. However, they are difficult to propagate for the homeowner. The antler like fertile fronds are distinctive and attractive. Their normal way of growing up off the ground gives them front and center visibility.
The fronds that grow out from the base and look like antlers are called "Fertile Fronds" and they produce the spores. The fronds that cover the plaque at the base of the plant are called "Shield Fronds" and they cover the root structure. They hold together the soil substrate and also serve to catch nutrients. These shield fronds grow from the center out, are green for a short period, and then turn brown. This is normal for them to be brown.
The genus platycerium has few species and cultivars and availability of these remarkable plants and information about them have been scant. There are one or two books that have been written on the Staghorn ferns One By: A hobbyist handbook By Roy Vail. Desert Biological Publications Po box 722 Mena Arkansas. 71953
Some of this information was gleaned from http://www.rainforestflora.com/species/stags.htm and http://www.floridagardener.com/pom/staghorn.htm
Wearne’s Staghorn Nursery Home
Linda Wearne Owner Photo Gallery
Portland, OR 97267 Caring for your Staghorn
503-709-7672 Technical Description
email: LindaTooWearne@gmail.com