Friday, April 1, 2011

Staghorn Fern

My Staghorn Fern - Platycerium bifircatum is putting out new shields this time of year!  It is a really easy plant to grow here in SoCal.  I've had mine for over 20 years(5 houses/moves).  I started with one plant and strapped it with fishing line to the top of a hanging wire basket filled with moss and potting soil.  It slowly filled it with more plants.   It gets water about twice a week and is hanging from our Ash tree.  Staghorn Ferns grow 2 different types of foliage; the shield which anchors it to it's perch and the antlers which are the part that makes spores(from which it spreads).  It is an epiphytic type of plant which means that it holds onto something else to grow and gets it's nutrients from air, water and debris.  It's not like a parasitic plant which holds onto something and saps it's nutrients from it's host. Ick!  My Staghorn is a happy plant.  I was almost not sure if I could bring it to our new house.  But luckily we have a tree that is just right from which to hang it.   We plopped it into the back of my truck and hauled it here(filled up 2/3 of my mini truck bed). It got a little smashed on one side but is beginning to fill in.  It took two of us to hang it.  They can also be mounted on a wooden board.  But I find that they grow out of that in a few years and then you have to do surgery to move it to something bigger.

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