Staghorn Fern: A Stunning Artistic Plant for Your Home


The Indoor Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) is more than just a plant; it’s a work of art. Adorning walls and hanging from ceilings, it offers an artistic twist to traditional indoor greenery. Its antler-like fronds set it apart from conventional ferns, and with proper care, it can be a show-stopping addition to any home or office space. This review dives into the intricacies of taking care of this unique fern, ensuring its vibrant presence year-round.

Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) Indoor Plant Details

Common NamesStaghorn Fern, Elkhorn Fern
Botanical NamePlatycerium
Plant TypeEpiphytic perennial
Mature SizeVaries by species; commonly 2-3 ft. in width and length
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeNot traditionally soil-rooted; best with sphagnum moss or orchid bark
Soil pHNeutral to slightly acidic (6.0 to 7.5)
Bloom TimeDoes not flower; produces spores on fertile fronds
Flower ColorNot applicable as it does not bloom in the traditional sense
Hardiness ZonesTypically 9-12; depends on species
Native AreaTropical and subtropical regions of the world
BenefitAir purifying, artistic & unique aesthetic, pet-friendly

The Staghorn Fern, with its distinctive fronds and growth pattern, is more than just a houseplant. As an epiphytic perennial, it naturally grows attached to other plants or trees rather than in soil, making it a unique choice for indoor displays. Its sun and soil preferences allow it to thrive with the right care, even though it doesn’t bloom like traditional flowering plants. Native to tropical and subtropical regions, it offers a touch of the exotic to homes and gardens. With benefits such as air purification and being pet-friendly, it’s not just a beautiful choice but also a functional one.


Indoor Staghorn Fern

Plant Care

One of the most captivating aspects of the Staghorn Fern is that it doesn’t need to be rooted in the soil. Instead, it’s an epiphyte, which means it often grows on other plants or trees in its natural habitat. This characteristic allows for diverse display methods, but it also entails a distinct care regimen.


Like many indoor plants, the Staghorn Fern thrives in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can be harmful, causing its fronds to become pale or scorched. East or north-facing windows are typically ideal. If you’re using artificial lights, ensure they’re kept at a distance to emulate indirect sunlight.


Interestingly, Staghorns don’t need traditional potting soil. Instead, they can be mounted on a wooden plank or grown in a basket filled with organic materials like sphagnum moss or orchid bark. The goal is to replicate their natural environment where they latch onto trees and rocks.


Watering is pivotal. Staghorns aren’t drought-tolerant but neither do they like being drenched. It’s a delicate balance. For mounted ferns, soaking them bi-weekly works wonders, allowing them to dry out between sessions. In a basket, regular misting keeps the roots humid without oversaturating them.

Temperature and Humidity

Being tropical in origin, Staghorn Ferns adore warmth and humidity. They flourish in temperatures between 60°F and 80°F. A sudden drop can lead to leaf damage. As for humidity, higher levels are preferred. If your home is dry, consider placing a humidifier nearby or regularly mist the plant.


Although not overly demanding, a diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing seasons—spring and summer—can give your fern an added boost. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to weak, leggy growth and potential burn.


Pruning isn’t just for aesthetics. By removing dead or damaged fronds, you’re allowing your fern to redirect energy to healthier growth. Use sharp, clean shears and cut close to the base.


As the colder months approach, ensure your fern isn’t exposed to temperatures below 50°F. If possible, move it to a warmer spot in your home and be mindful of heating vents which can dry them out.

 Propagating Plant

Propagation is a thrilling journey with Staghorns. Offsets or “pups” form at the base of mature ferns. Gently removing them and mounting them onto a new board or placing them in a basket sets the stage for a new Staghorn plant.

Types of Plant

The Staghorn Fern, or Platycerium, isn’t a one-size-fits-all species. Several types of Staghorn Ferns differ in appearance and care requirements. Some popular varieties include:

    • Platycerium bifurcatum: One of the most common types, it features smaller, divided fronds
    • Platycerium grande: Known for its large shield fronds and dramatic appearance.
    • Platycerium veitchii: This variety sports a more silvery appearance with lace-like fertile fronds
    • Platycerium wandae: Considered the largest Staghorn, it’s a real show-stopper with massive fronds.


    Indoor Staghorn Fern

     Common Pests & Plant Diseases with Solutions

    Staghorn Ferns, like many indoor plants, can sometimes face pest and disease challenges:

        • Pests:

        • Scale: Tiny, flat insects that attach to the fronds. Remove manually or treat with insecticidal soap.

        • Mealybugs: White, cottony pests. Wipe them off with a damp cloth or use neem oil.

        • Aphids: Tiny green or black insects that can multiply rapidly. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can be effective.

        • Diseases:

        • Root Rot: Caused by overwatering. Ensure good drainage and avoid letting the fern sit in water.

        • Fungal Infections: Indicated by black spots on the fronds. Increase air circulation and decrease humidity. Infected fronds should be pruned.

      How to Get Plant to Bloom

      Staghorn Ferns don’t bloom in the traditional sense. Instead, they produce spores on their fertile fronds which resemble a bloom. To encourage this:

        • Ensure they have the right light – bright but indirect
        • Maintain consistent humidity levels.
        • Avoid over or under-watering.

        Common Problems With Indoor Staghorn Fern Plant

            • Yellowing Fronds: Often a sign of overwatering. Ensure the fern dries out between waterings.

            • Brown, Crispy Tips: This can indicate low humidity. Increase humidity through misting or a humidifier.

            • Drooping Fronds: A possible sign of underwatering or root rot. Check the moisture level of the planting medium.

            • Paler than Usual Fronds: May indicate too much direct sunlight. Move the fern to a location with indirect light.

          In essence, understanding the diverse types of Staghorn Ferns and their unique requirements is essential. Moreover, staying vigilant against pests and diseases can guarantee a healthy plant. By recognizing the signs and promptly addressing common problems, you can ensure the longevity and vibrancy of your Staghorn Fern. This magnificent species, with its dramatic fronds and tropical feel, can indeed be a treasured addition to any indoor garden when cared for properly.

          Quickly Declining

          Like all plants, a Staghorn Fern might face some challenges. Over or under-watering, insufficient light, or pest infestations can lead to rapid decline. Regular checks and adjusting care routines can often reverse these issues.

          Reflections on the Staghorn Fern

          Staghorn Ferns aren’t just plants; they’re experiences. With their unique growth pattern and exquisite appearance, they certainly make for an intriguing indoor companion. By offering the right care and understanding their needs, you’re bound to enjoy a long-lasting relationship with this fern.

          Frequently Asked Questions

          Decode the magic of gardens with our guide to Landscaping Styles Frequently Asked Questions.

          • Yes, but they should be in a shaded area and only in climates that mirror their tropical origins.
          • During growing seasons, a monthly feed with diluted liquid fertilizer is sufficient.
          • This can be a sign of a fungal infection. It’s best to remove affected fronds and ensure proper air circulation.
          • Fortunately, the Staghorn Fern is non-toxic to both cats and dogs.
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