Staghorn ferns prefer bright, indirect light. They should be placed near a window with filtered sunlight or in a location with dappled shade outdoors. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch their delicate fronds.
Watering staghorn ferns can be a bit tricky. They prefer to stay consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the water to soak through the roots and substrate, but make sure to let excess water drain away. As an epiphytic plant, they can tolerate some dryness between waterings, but try to avoid letting them completely dry out.
Temperature & Humidity
These ferns enjoy temperatures between 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C). They are sensitive to extreme cold and should be protected from freezing temperatures. Staghorn ferns thrive in high humidity environments. If you live in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier or place a tray of water near the plant to increase the humidity around it. Regular misting can also be beneficial.
Staghorn ferns are often mounted on a wooden board, piece of bark, or in a hanging basket, as this replicates their natural growth habit. Use a well-draining substrate like orchid bark, sphagnum moss, or a mix of these to secure the plant on the mount. You can also use a well-draining potting mix if you decide to plant it in a pot.
Staghorn ferns are not typically repotted very often. However, if you notice that the plant has outgrown its mount or pot, you can carefully transfer it to a larger one during the growing season.
Feed your staghorn fern with a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to prevent over-fertilization, which can harm the plant.
Good news! Staghorn Ferns are considered non-toxic to cats, dogs, and other common pets. However, it's always best to prevent pets from chewing on any houseplants to avoid potential health issues.
Staghorn Ferns can face a few common issues:
- Overwatering: Staghorn ferns are susceptible to root rot if they are consistently overwatered or if water is allowed to sit in the crown (the center of the plant). To prevent overwatering, allow the top layer of the substrate to dry out slightly between waterings. Ensure proper drainage in the mounting or potting medium.
- Underwatering: While these ferns can tolerate some dryness, they should not be allowed to completely dry out. Consistently dry conditions can lead to wilting, browning of fronds, and slowed growth. Water your staghorn fern when the top inch or so of the substrate feels dry.
- Improper Light: Staghorn ferns require bright, indirect light. Insufficient light can result in slow growth, smaller fronds, and a less vibrant appearance. If you notice your plant is struggling, consider moving it to a location with better lighting conditions.
- Frond Browning: Brown or crispy frond tips can result from low humidity, insufficient watering, or overly dry conditions. Maintain humidity levels and water the plant appropriately to prevent this issue.
Ready to add a Staghorn Fern to your collection?