Steps to nourishing your staghorn fern

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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Last month, I wrote about how to mount a staghorn fern. If you aren’t familiar with them, these ferns are often seen growing from the sides of trees.

I am happy to report that I followed those same instructions, and my staghorn is doing quite well. But maintaining a staghorn fern is not the same as maintaining other plants in your home. If you mounted your own or if you plan to in the future, remember these tips to keep your staghorn in tip-top shape:

Know where to place it. Staghorns are native to tropical climates, and they need bright light. Place the fern somewhere it can get indirect or diffused light. Areas with no sun at all, unfortunately, will not work.

Figure out how often to water. Depending on your environment, you will need to water the staghorn either once per week or once every two to three weeks. Drier, hotter areas will need more watering, and cooler, more humid environments will require less. Be careful not to overwater. If your plant is in a humid area, like a bathroom, it probably won’t need to be watered often, even if it is hot. Look for browning or even blackening fronds. These are signs of overwatering. If you see this, cut down on watering to about once per month. If the fronds begin wilting, you may need to water more.

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Learn to water properly. You can either mist or soak to water. Spray the entire plant, but pay extra attention to the underside of the fronds. To soak, fill a tub or bucket with water. The vessel should be large enough to hold the plank. Then, turn the stag-horn upside down and submerge it in the water for a few minutes, until the root ball is saturated. Turn it back upright and allow it to drip dry before re-hanging.

Remember to feed. Fertilizing your staghorn will keep it strong and healthy. Opt for a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer (1:1:1). Fer tilize once a month in hotter months and every other month when the weather cools a bit.

Have a question or comment for Joanne? Email her at thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.