Gardening Tips

Elkhorn Fern Care

Elkhorn Fern Care

The plant popularly known as elkhorn is a fern scientifically called Platyceriumwhich is why it is also sometimes called platycerium, but it also has other names such as staghorn or staghorn plant. It is called that because of its resemblance to the antlers of some animals, especially elk and deer. It belongs to the Polipodiaceae family and to the Platyceria genus, made up of 17 species from different parts of the world.

If you want to know everything about how to care for the elkhorn plant, keep reading this EcologíaVerde article in which you will find a practical guide on the elkhorn fern care.

How is the elkhorn fern

The main characteristic of the elkhorn fern is that a epiphytic plant, which means that it grows naturally by anchoring itself on other plants or surfaces, instead of burying its roots in the ground. In the specific case of the deer antler plant, its natural environment is the bark of trees in the tropical forests of Australia. To learn more about these plants, we recommend this other article on Epiphytic Plants: what they are, types and examples.

Another remarkable aspect is that this fern has two types of leaves:

  • vertical and wide: which make it possible to cling to the branches due to its large size, as they grow around the trunk of the plant to which it is attached.
  • the pendants: these are covered with a characteristic fine fluff that acts as a protection for the leaf. They are responsible for the pendant elkhorn being considered, and also for the nickname of this plant, since its appearance is reminiscent of the antlers of one of these animals.

The latter can reach a meter in length and any of the species of this fern can be grown as an indoor plant and taken outside when the good weather arrives. Once you have seen the main elkhorn fern characteristicslet’s move on to what to consider in order to know how to care for an elkhorn plant.

Elkhorn Fern Care - How is the Elkhorn Fern

Elkhorn Fern Watering

Like many epiphytic plants, the elkhorn fern needs a good dose of humidity, although they do not require as much watering as one might think. In fact, the best method to water elkhorn It is by immersion.

For water the staghorn fern by dip, in the warm months, once a week take your potted staghorn or platycerium plant and submerge it in a container of water without lime, to which you have added a small amount of specific fertilizer for ferns or delicate plants. Keep it submerged in the water for approximately 2 hours, which will be the time necessary for the plant to absorb the water it needs. It is very important not to wet the leaves in this process, as they are prone to rot. In the cold months, irrigation may be more spaced and fertilizer will not be necessary. We advise you to read this other post to know when to water the plants.

Weather for Elkhorn Fern

like many tropical plantsplaticerio thanks stable temperatures throughout the year, in this case between 15 ºC and 20 ºC. Variation above or below this range of temperatures has a good chance of affecting this plant negatively, which is why it is common to grow it as houseplant. Pay special attention not to place this plant near artificial sources of heat or cold, such as air conditioners or heaters, which could dry it out and affect it negatively.

Elkhorn Fern Care - Elkhorn Fern Weather

Elkhorn fern fertilizer and substrate

On the one hand, as we have mentioned in the irrigation section, platicerium appreciates a weekly contribution of liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water during the warm months. Here you can learn about What are fertilizers and their types. In the cold months the plant absorbs less water and does not need the extra nutrients.

On the other hand, this plant needs very little substrate if you take into account the size it can reach, and the most important thing here is that it be a mixture with good moisture retention. Peat mixes with coconut fibre, perlite or pine needles can work well.

Care of the elkhorn fern - Fertilization and substrate of the elkhorn fern

How the Elkhorn Reproduces

play elk horn by spores, as a fern, it can be quite a laborious task, especially for amateurs without much experience, so this is an option that is very rarely taken.

When multiplying it, it is much more practical to take the suckers of small size that the plant produces when it is in optimal conditions, that are easy to separate with its own roots and transplant. We recommend you read this other post about when and how to transplant a plant.

If your elkhorn does not produce suckers, you may need to increase the humidity a little in summer by sprinkling water, but without overwetting the leaves, and check that your plant is away from drafts or sources of heat or cold.

Elkhorn Fern Care - How Elkhorn Reproduces

Elkhorn Pests and Diseases

It is not exactly a disease, but one of the most frequent problems that this plant suffers from is that many times a cloth is passed over the leaves, thinking that the protective fluff that covers them is dust to be removed. This severely damages them, so it should never be done.

It is also common to find cases of leaf rot when they have gotten wet when watering them and, if the plant is weakened by environmental dryness or due to drafts, it can be attacked by the red spider and the cochineal. Here we talk to you in depth about How to eliminate the red spider mite and about the Treatments and home remedies to eliminate the cottony mealybug.

Now that you know how to care for the elkhorn or platycerium fern, we recommend you also read this other post about Cultivation and take care of ferns.

If you want to read more articles similar to Elkhorn Fern Carewe recommend that you enter our category .

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