Q. What is the best way to grow staghorn ferns indoors?
Staghorn ferns (Platycerium) are interesting plants that can make a dramatic statement when grown in your house. However, they can grow quite large (3-4 feet high), so they need lots of room.
They produce two kinds of fronds. Sterile fronds at the base, which usually turn brown, grow in overlapping layers and clasp onto a growing surface. Fertile fronds are green, flat, and shaped like stag's antlers (hence the name).
Platycerium are epiphytes whose native habitat is rain forests, so they prefer a moist environment. They can be grow in two ways--either attached to a board or in a hanging basket. In the former case they should be grown in sphagnum moss attached by wire or fishing line to a piece of wood or bark (larger than the existing plant). For a hanging basket, line the basket with sphagnum moss and place the plant inside. Eventually, the brown fronds will cover the outside of the basket.
Staghorn ferns should be grown in strong, indirect light. The moss should be kept moist but not waterlogged. The best way to water them is to immerse the brown portion in a large container of water for 2-3 minutes in the winter and for about 15 minutes during the growing season, and then allow the plant to drain before rehanging. Feed occasionally with a liquid fertilizer.
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- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service