Perhaps you’re thinking about bringing a Staghorn or Elkhorn Trophy home or you've recently purchased one and would love some more info about the majestic fern and how to care for it. Well you have come to right place, STAGHORN the home of Stags and Elks. I hope you find this info helpful and you feel ready to care for your new babe!
The namesake of Elkhorn and Staghorn comes from their unusual fronds, which bear a striking resemblance to Staghorn deer, antlers. In their natural habitat, these epiphytic plants grow on branches and trucks of palms, they absorb water and nutrients through their fronds rather than the soil, which makes them perfect for a mounted wall hanging.
There can be some confusion between Elkhorn and Staghorn’s. American's have the common names reversed adding to the confusion! To clarify the Staghorn is botanically known as Staghorn superbum these majestic plants grow as individual ferns with larger more prominent antler statue and have a real ‘superbum’ look.
The Elkhorn, Platycurim bifurcatum has many anter-like slender leaves called fronds that grow from the centre of the plant called the shield, this surrounds and protects the roots of the plant. The Elkhorn grows multiple plantlets and can often be mistaken for one plant. Shield fronds start out green and eventually turn brown; this is a normal part of the fern life cycle and should not be removed.
Both Staghorn and Elkhorn’s propagate via spores which form on the underside of the fronds/leaves, it looks like a soft brown velvet, these spores are part of their reproductive cycle. The fronds also grow fine hairs that have a dust like appearance- It's important you don't wipe either of these off mistaking them for dust or dirt. Resist the urge to wipe clean the leaves.
LOCATION & CARE
LIGHT: Staghorn and Elkhorn ferns require a bright indirect natural light (not full sunlight), in a sheltered spot if positioned outside. It's best to choose the brightest space in your home, near a north or east, facing window. a short amount of morning sun can be okay for the Elkhorn's as they can be a little hardier then the Staghorn's, but full sun should be avoided if possible.
Staghorn and Elkhorn’s must have natural light and will not survive in an artificially lit space.
There are 2 water regimens; misting and soaking
· Softly mist every few days, misting the full plant and concentrating on the top area of the fern and underside of fronds.
· Soaking, take your plant off the wall and run the tap over the entire plant in a basin or sink using room temperature water. Water once or twice a week in Summer and every 2-3 weeks is sufficient in Winter. Allow your plant to drip dry before hanging back up
If you live in a dry area like Melbourne your fern will require more misting and watering over the summer, as Elks and Stags enjoy humid environments. Less watering is required in more humid areas like Brisbane as Elks and Stags absorb moisture through their leaves from the air.
Monitor your fern for signs of wilting, and note if the antler fronds begin to turn brown or black at the base- this is a sign of overwatering. Reduce watering and monitor.
If dark spots appear on the shield of the plant it can be a sign of over watering.
WINTER: Careful of placement of your ferns over winter, if they are near a heater during winter they may need to be relocated or watered more often as a result of the dry heat.
SUMMER: Pay extra attention to your fern over Summer as they can dry out quickly and show signs of stress with wilting leaves. Check the outer edges of the moss, if they are dry it's time for a water!
If these plants are placed inside they will appreciate a water soluble fertiliser every month of two in growing season, Spring and Summer. This can be added to their water regime.
REMEMBER your Staghorn and Elkhorn's are a living plants! Be patient with them, as they need time to adjust to their new home environment. They will reward you with your patience with a beautiful living display and the excitement of watching the new green growth unfurl. Enjoy xx
If you need any advice please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org