Staghorn Fern Care

Staghorn Fern Care Guide

Staghorn fern stand out as houseplants. They grow on other plants, not in soil. They look like deer antlers, which is unique. These staghorn ferns also pull water and nutrients from the air. This makes them interesting for indoor gardens.

What are Platycerium Species?

Platycerium Species

Water the soil occasionally, but avoid excessive watering to maintain dampness. Staghorn ferns are a unique type of fern. They grow on other plants instead of soil. Ferns like this get by by taking in moisture and nutrients from the air.



Botanical Name

Platycerium spp.

Common Name

Staghorn Fern



Plant Type


Mature Size

Up to 3 feet wide (varies by species)

Sun Exposure

Bright, indirect light or partial shade

Soil Type

No soil needed; typically grows on boards or in baskets with moss

Soil pH

Not applicable

Bloom Time

Non-flowering; valued for its foliage

Flower Color


Hardiness Zones

9-12, US

Native Area

Tropical regions of South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia

Different kinds of Staghorn Ferns

Different Staghorn Ferns

Staghorn fern fronds differ across species. Some look like banana leaves, others like antlers. Notable types include:

Platycerium bifurcatum:

Often seen in homes, it has wide, flat fronds.

Platycerium superbum:

Known for large, shield-like fronds that cover its roots.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Growing Conditions for Staghorn fern plant


Staghorn ferns do well with indirect light. Their leaves can catch fire in the hot sun. They thrive in areas with ample sunlight. Place the room near a north-facing window or use sheer curtains for optimal lighting.

Hot and humid weather.

Staghorn ferns do well in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Humid conditions are perfect for their growth. It's perfect for damp areas like kitchens and bathrooms. It handles moisture with ease. For dry air at home, put a humidifier near the plant. It helps with the perfect moisture level.

Planting and Mounting

Mounting Staghorn fern


Sphagnum moss and orchid bark are two examples of organic materials to consider. By simulating its native environment, these materials encourage the fern's growth. They are crucial for the plant's well-being. They keep the roots moist and allow air to reach them.

Mounting: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Select a Base: 

Use a wooden board or a sturdy wire frame as your mounting base. Make sure it's big enough for the fern.

Prepare the Moss: 

Soak the sphagnum moss in water to make it thoroughly wet. This will be your primary substrate.

Create a Moss Bed: 

To prepare the base for the fern, spread out the damp sphagnum moss until it forms a thick covering.

Position the Fern: 

Place the staghorn fern's root ball on the moss. Arrange it so the roots are in contact with the moist substrate.

Secure the Fern: 

Secure the fern to the base using a fishing line, nylon thread, or narrow pieces of cloth. Securely wrap the fern by encircling its base and moss with the material.

Hang Your Fern: 

Pick a spot with plenty of ventilation and indirect sunlight. Use a hook to suspend the mounted fern from the ceiling or any suitable surface.

Watering and Nutrition

Staghorn fern plant


Water staghorn fern plant weekly during warm months. Mist them in between. Reduce watering in cooler months to every two to three weeks. If the moss appears dry, it means watering is necessary.


Water the ferns once a month while they're growing. Apply liquid fertilizer at a concentration of 1/4 strength. To keep damage at bay, don't fertilize too much.

Keep your plants healthy and tidy with regular pruning and maintenance.

Pruning Staghorn Ferns: A Simple Guide

Trim away dying or brown fronds at the base using sharp scissors. This not only tidies the plant but also prevents disease. Remove any dirt or debris from the fern's fronds to keep it healthy and looking good.

Keep up with maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

To make sure the fronds can photosynthesize well, dust them often. Brush away dust softly with a gentle brush. Watch out for pests such as mealybugs and scale. When you see these symptoms, apply a horticultural oil or soap to the plant right away. Don't use chemicals that could harm the fronds.

Ways to Spread Plants

Propagating Staghorn Fern Plant

How to Propagate Staghorn Fern

Spores and division work well for propagating staghorn ferns. Usually, you divide the parent plant into pups.

Follow these instructions carefully to ensure successful propagation.

  1. Identify a Pup: Look for a puppy that's starting to establish its territory. These are smaller plants growing at the base of the parent.
  2. Gently Separate: Carefully separate the pup from the main plant. Make sure to keep some roots attached.
  3. Prepare the Substrate: Sphagnum moss and bark are best used together. Moisten the mix before use.
  4. Mount the Pup: Attach the pup to a wooden board or in a basket with the prepared substrate. Use fishing lines or soft garden ties to secure the pup.
  5. Maintain Proper Humidity: Keep the moss moist by misting regularly. This is crucial in the first few weeks to help the pup establish.
  6. Location: Place the new plant in indirect light and a humid environment to promote growth.

Common Pests and Diseases

Identifying Common Issues

Watch for yellow or drooping leaves, which can suggest water stress or pests. Sticky leaves often point to insect infestations like scale or mealybugs. Fungal infections may present as dark or soft spots on the fronds.

Treating Issues

To remove pests, wipe the fronds with a cloth soaked in soapy water. Trim any heavily infected parts to prevent spread. For fungi, improve air circulation and reduce watering. Use fungicides only as a last resort.

Preventative Measures

Maintain cleanliness by regularly dusting the fronds. Ensure the plant has enough space for air to circulate. Regular checks can catch problems early, making them easier to manage.


We've covered the essentials for growing staghorn ferns. From proper light and moisture to pruning and tackling pests, these tips should help you care for these unique plants. The unusual appearance and growth patterns of staghorn ferns make them intriguing houseplants. If you want to bring a little bit of nature's beauty into your house while also completing a satisfying endeavor, try growing one yourself.

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