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Fern Care

A guide to Platycerium Fern care

by Plants for all Seasons 15 Mar 2023 0 Comments

Platycerium, commonly known as Staghorn or Elkhorn Fern, is an epiphytic fern with unique, antler-like fronds. They can be grown mounted on wooden boards, bark, or in hanging baskets with well-draining media. Here's a guide to help you care for your Platycerium:

  1. Light: Platycerium prefers bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so place them near a window with filtered light or in a spot with dappled shade. Too little light can result in slow growth and weak fronds.

  2. Watering: Staghorn Ferns don't like to be consistently wet, as it can lead to rot. Instead, water them by misting or soaking the roots. For mounted ferns, remove them from the wall and soak the root mass in a basin of water for 10-20 minutes, then let them drain before rehanging. Do this every 1-2 weeks, depending on your climate and humidity levels. For ferns in hanging baskets, water them thoroughly and let the excess water drain. Allow the top inch of the potting medium to dry slightly before watering again.

  3. Humidity: Platycerium prefers high humidity levels. To maintain humidity, mist the fern regularly, or place a tray of water near the plant. You can also grow your fern in a well-ventilated bathroom, where humidity is naturally higher.

  4. Potting media: If your Staghorn Fern is in a hanging basket, use a well-draining, chunky mix, such as orchid bark, coarse peat moss, or a blend of peat moss, perlite, and bark chips. This will help prevent the roots from staying too wet.

  5. Feeding: Platycerium has low fertilizer requirements. Feed it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can cause damage to the fern.

  6. Temperature: Staghorn Ferns prefer temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures but should not be exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) for extended periods.

  7. Pruning and grooming: Remove any dead or damaged fronds to maintain the plant's appearance and promote new growth. Use clean, sharp shears or scissors to avoid spreading disease.

  8. Propagation: Platycerium can be propagated by spore or division. To propagate by division, carefully separate the pups (small plantlets) from the parent plant and attach them to a new mounting surface or place them in a hanging basket with well-draining media.

By providing the proper light, watering, humidity, and overall care, your Platycerium will thrive and become an eye-catching addition to your indoor garden.

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