Staghorn fern

Don Burns donburns at
Thu Aug 22 22:39:07 EST 1996

In article <4vdu9q$dar at>, pwielard at (Paul
Wielard) wrote:

 >         I am trying to grow Staghorn ferns (Platycerium sp.) from very small
> plants - the leaves start out about 3 cm high.  I plant them into a
> peat/perlite mixture and keep them constantly moist.  Most of the
> ferns either rot off or shrivel up within three weeks.

Sounds like you may be seriously damaging root systems when you are
cutting them away from the mother plant.  When cutting them away cut
deeply (2 inches at least into the existing substrate material.  Then
transplant the entire cutting including the old medium into the new

You are also exacerbating the problem by using peat and it sound like you
are "potting" the plants.  Platycerum does not like to be planted like any
old house plant. It must be mounded on a wood plaque or something upon
which you can fasten a substrate of sphagnum moss. Use >sphagnum< only. 
Skip the Perlite.  Wire the sphagnum to a wood plaque or in sime kind of
basket arrangement and hang the plaque so it drains.    Then soak the
sphagnum daily this time of the year and your plant will grow just fine. 
As for temperature, here in south Florida we are not far behind you.  I
suggest you grow your ferns out of direct sun.  I am confident once you
get them into the right medium and allow them to drain you will be
successful.  Fertilizer?  Some time release stuff dropped into the top of
the moss twice a year won't hurt and might help a little.  But these plant
survive just fine with little or no feeding by humans.

Email me if you want to talk more about them.

Don Burns           <donburns at> or <epur01 at>
Plantation, FL

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