The staghorn fern, known by its botantical name as platycerium, is an epiphytic and so grows on the branches of other trees and plants to absorb nutrients and moisture from the air.
The staghorn fern produces two kinds of leaves, namely foliar and basal. The foliar leaves have brown coloured structures which function as reproductive organs for the plant. The basal leaves are divided or lobed and usually stand upright, to help the plant collect water. Both these types of leaves are partially covered in silvery, star shaped hairs.
Many of the varieties of the staghorn fern genus originate from Florida, as well as parts of Eastern Australia. Generally speaking, most varieties of this plant will not tolerate the cold and they will require temperatures of between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.
The seasons of spring and summer are the growth months for the staghorn fern, so for those who want a fully grown one to mount (these plants are mounted rather than potted), it is best to purchase one during the winter months, when the plant will have matured to its full height.
The staghorn fern genus belongs to the polypodiaceae family and there are eighteen species of this plant which are recognised by the scientific community at present.
This plant should be fertilised once a month during its growing seasons of spring and summer, after which the feeding should be reduced to once every two months. Avoid placing these plants on a south facing window, as direct light can often cause wilting. Instead, place them somewhere where they will be exposed to indirect light.
Did you know?
The scientific name platycerium translates as ‘broad horn,’ due to the lobed leaves’ resemblance to antler horns.