Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Staghorn Fern ( Platycerium bifurcatum )

I’ve grown staghorn ferns off and on as houseplants. When I went on a garden club garden tour in April I saw several growing in people’s gardens outside. Once settled in they will grown outside here. Some were mounted on boards and fences, I decided to try mine in a tree nook.

Staghorns produce two types of leaves: basal, and foliar. The basal (nest) fronds are the brown ones that the fern uses to hang onto something, foliar are the green fronds. The basal collects rain water and debri to break down and feed to the plant. The foliar fronds are the fertile ones and you’ll see spores appear on the fronds occasionally.

Place some moss or dirt between the basal frond and the mount. If the moss or soil fades away replace it with more.

Water when fronds are dry. The older fronds tolerate dry weather better than the younger ones.

Grow in part to full shade.

Protect from frost and freezing.

Native to Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. There are 16 known platycerium species all growing in temperate rain forests. The staghorns produce the two leaves.

Propagation is difficult, best done by division of pups from mother plant once it has its own basal leaves.

Due to their popularity they are disappearing from the rain forests making it all the more important to establish some plants here.

Note: Did not survive below freezing temps winter 2011