Staghorn Ferns are quite possibly the coolest ferns in existence (and yes I realize how lame of a statement that is). The grow in the freaking air. You can mount them on a wall, on a tree, or even the side of your house. I am going to tell you how to care for a staghorn fern in this post. If you are looking for specifics on mounting a staghorn fern check out this article. I have seen them in pots or even hanging in the air from a big old oak tree down the street from my mother’s house. Although there area bunch of different kinds of stearns (platycerium if you are nasty) the bifurcatum is the one we are used to seeing. They can range from a small wall mounted planter to freaking huge boulder sized plants with fronds almost 4 feet long and can weigh hundreds of pounds.
How to grow staghorn ferns:
Staghorns are native to tropical regions of the world (think southeast asia, south America, and northern Australia) so if you want to grow them outside I would keep it within the areas on the map. Anywhere outside of the southeastern states I would make my staghorn an inside plant. Which by the way is totally possible and awesome. If you do try to grow them anywhere where it gets cold bring them in whenever there is any frost expected. The biggest consideration when growing a staghorn either inside or outside is water. With most plants you pour some water on the dirt and carry on but Staghorns really don’t need dirt. What most folks do is usually just bundle up some peat moss or other organic material to provide the fern with a growing platform. These plants are used to growing on the side of things so they do not need soil like other plants. They often grow on the side of a tree and catch water that pools in a hollow with other humus material. I would not plant them on a direct southern facing side of a tree or wall if possible. Staghorns like light but too much light will dry them out. They can survive there but to make them thrive in such a situation would require you to water them a little more often. I would suggest a spot with a little shade for ideal growing conditions. Speaking of watering scheduling that will also depend on what you use to grow the fern in. If you put too loose a moss in it may dry out too quickly so just make sure check how long the medium stays moist after you mount/hang/plant it for the first time.
Once you get your Staghorn growing you might be thinking about trying to divide it. Nature is cool in that it allows us a free way to have more plants if we want to. As your staghorn grows it will develop “pups”. These are little staghorns. As the pups start to grow fronds you can cut them off from the main plant and put them in their own growing material. Then just take care of them like you do your original fern and you will have staghorns all over the place.
Where to get a staghorn fern
You can find Staghorn ferns for sale at most of your nicer nurseries. They usually are not floating around at the local home depot but a boutique real nursery (not just a wholesale shop) often will have one or two. There are also several places online that sell them including amazon or even ebay.