Elkhorn/Staghorn Fern~ Anyone growing this??

jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)February 24, 2010

I saw this at the Home Depot the other day and just had to have it!

Do you have any tips if you grow this. I was thinking of a hanging basket with the coco lining and orchid mix. The pot it came in is water stained and looks horrible!

I would be growing it indoors. It just gets too windy here, if I put it out, it would be torn up in a day.



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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, JoJo!
These plants are often mounted to mossy boards, or else suspended by chains, et cetera.
They become QUITE large and quite heavy from what I've read/heard/seen.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:01AM
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donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)

I've been growing four of these for the past six years indoors here in Massachusetts during the fall and winter months. Late spring and summer they are brought outdoors and weather quite nicely. I noticed your in Arizona. They do like humidity and a misting.As greenman mentioned they do get quite large but it is my belief that a hot humid environment will be the contributing factor to them getting QUITE LARGE. The ones I have are in large slatted teak orchid baskets growing in sphagnum moss. Here are a couple of links that you will find interesting.

You may want to "Google" up The Fern Factory, but at this moment their server was down.

Happy growing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Staghorn Fern Culture

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 11:08AM
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I love this plant..I wanted to buy one a few weeks back, and I didn't think they could even grow indoors until Don here says it can be done.

In fact, even more so, since we both live in Mass..I am excited to hear this..! Don, please share with me your success..I plan on aquiring one this weekend now.. You gave me incentive..Can these thing hang form the ceiling next to a skylight without direct sun?

Jojo, your husband didn't get up one night and think it was a loose elk on the loose in the house, did he? Man and guns just don't mix..lol

I wish they had these at HD here..What a prize you got! Please keep us posted with this one, especially after a full growing season. I would be curious to see how it does in the drier air there..
Congrats on your prize, without having to go to the forest to find one..:-)

Hey Josh, has anyone answered that question you asked at the Moss forums yet? Yikes..Hope you are well! TTYL

Thanks for these beautiful pictures and for the info..


    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 11:57AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

(Mike: the Moss Forum moves at a moss's pace... :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 12:17PM
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I needed that..:-)

Lata gata

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I have two growing in a sphagnum moss lined metal basket filled with orchid bark chips for the roots to grow in. although in my case, the staghorns stay about the same size since I bought them yrs ago, maybe because they get less light/fertilizer then what they probably need, not really sure, but that's ok, I don't want them to get out of hand.
It's pretty easy to water, I just unhook the chain and take it over to the kitchen sink and water it thoroughly with the sprayer (not to hard a spray) or sometimes with a watering can, then set the basket in the dish drainer for a few minutes and then just hang it back up.

Sorry, it's a little dark.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 12:15AM
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donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)

Hi Mike. I have found these extremely easy to grow here in Massachusetts. The ones I have were purchased 6 years ago at Russell's on Route 20 in Sudbury. I frequent the place about once a month but have not seen any for sale. I have mine hanging sideways so that the fronds do not face up but face out as this is the way they grow in the wild. As previously stated I really don't pamper them. They just grow with little effort on my part. I grow a lot of orchids with temps varying from 55 at night to 78 during the day. The room humidity rarely gets above 48 during the winter months but I do mist them on occasion. Have a blast.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 10:19AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone~
Thank you for all the help!

Josh~ Where were you before I bought it! ROFL! Yes~ I've heard it can get big!!! lol! We'll see what happens.

Don~ Thank you!

Mike~ Hubbys just not sure what to think theses days.. first loc ness, now this...LOL!
Right now it is sitting on the printer, not sure where it will move to.

It was burried in the middle of all the house plants! I really had to move alot of plants to get to it. I guess that's why all the broken leaves. It was really packed in, poor baby....

Billy Rae~ That is beautiful! Thank you! I think I will do similar for mine. do you think it would do O.K. in a coco lined basket? or would that not be enough air? Would moss be better.?

Hope you all have a great day!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Don, I am going to take your word for it.Thanks a lot..
Since I pass your area many times, and I had no idea that a place called Russell Farms exsisted on Route 20, I will definatley have to check that place out..Ohoh...
Thanks for letting me know if they had anymore too.


That plant was destined for you...Imagine.Of all the customers that found it, you did..That plant is very lucky!
I am not sure about putting it near your husband though..lol
All the warmth down there and light should make that plant very very happy too..

Billy, just how many plants do you have.? Amazing!Every plant you have posted here looks greenhouse grown..Beautiful..Strong work!

Have a great day all.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 11:00AM
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Mine's sort of messed up right now. I keep it on top of a tower fan (which I never run) next to the heater, and usually this isn't a problem because the dorm staff usually has the heater running on really low heat and it doesn't affect the plants negatively.

Apparently they changed that this year when I was away for a couple days and decided to actually run the heaters for once. It's not dead or anything but the foliage isn't in great shape. Hopefully it holds out okay till spring and puts out some new growth. Sort of annoying since I JUST got rid of the scale infestation it's had for the past three years.

They're actually semi-succulent, I think, and not hugely particular about humidity. I think the problem is that mine's in a coir basket, and while the foliage isn't really near the heater, the basket itself is. So the substrate probably baked without me noticing it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Murphies law for sure...

I hope it comes back for you..:-)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 1:02PM
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Billy Rae..thanks for the idea..I bought one last year..it's not doing well..I'm going to pot in bark and moss..oops, out of moss..how about orchid bark and Peat moss??? Does the moss have to be Spaghnum? Do you mix the bark and moss together or lay moss on top of bark?

JoJo..you found this guy at HD? Wow, it's pretty big for a HD plant. Most Stags/Elks sold here are in 4" pots.
Yours would look great mounted, like someone above suggested. Very nice plant. Toni

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 4:02PM
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Thanks JoJo!

I guess you could use coconut fiber to line the basket, as long as it drains well because you don;t want the roots to stay wet for too long.

Hi Toni!

I wouldn't use peat moss because it can get hard over time. I like the sphagnum moss because it drains really fast and never hardens so much so that water won't drain fast thru it. I don't mix the moss and bark together. You'll want to line or press/mold the moss to the inside of the basket with big thick pieces (about 4") The moss HAS to be "moist" you won't be able to work with it if it's dry.

Hey Mike,

Thank you! My or my, your making me blush, stop that, Lil.
I do my share of taking off dead leaves and whatnot with each week like I'm sure lots of plant people do, I just can't stand to have anything yellow or dead on my plants. How many plants do I have??? I'm not sure, I do know it's less then a lot of you here have, I'll guess and say 100+ not anywhere like what Toni has, 1,000 plants and counting, lol.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 5:27PM
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I don't know if I was clear enough about lining the wire basket after re-reading my post.

You'll want to press moist moss inside the basket like a ready made pie crust to a pie dish. The thickness of the moss should be between 3"-4" depending on the size of the basket, line it a couple inches or so more below the top of the rim. Fill the basket with orchid bark chips.
Make sure you cover all the staghorn roots with chips, keeping the "Shields" above the chips.

Water it all in thoroughly.

Hope that makes sense!
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:04PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Perfect description!
Great growing!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 2:32PM
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I think I've discovered the perfect indoor situation for Staghorns. I grow mine in a loose mix (mostly bark)... in the shower. I have a small northernly window in my shower, so it gets just enough light. The humidity from showers keeps it VERY happy, and I don't have to worry about drainage problems. It sits in a moss lined basket, so when I water it, the excess just goes into the tub and down the drain. The moss filters out any dirt particles, so no mess.

Jojo, it looks like you got two specimens in there! Soon you'll have a big fern ball :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 3:51PM
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I take showers with my citrus trees...

Nothing wrong with that..I guess if one has a tub big enough to shower with a plant, and then has an advantage of a window in there, go for it..

Great idea..:-)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:40PM
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You wrote "I take showers with my citrus trees..." Too much information! I don't take showers with my succulents, by the way!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 10:05PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone!
Thanks again for all the help!

Billy Rae,
Great help and instructions.. as Josh said..;) Thank you!

Toni~ It would look good mounted, but about the only place to do that is an area that would put it too close to the ceiling, or above the tv.. which hubby doesn't care for the idea there..LOL! Plus I worry all the loud noise from TV would upset the plant..LOL! Hubby gets all the loud, blow them up, die hard kinda movies...lol!

I too was shocked at the size~ It was cramed into the middle of a huge table of house plants. All I had seen was one leaf sticking out. So I moved dozens to get to it! LOL!

How do you water them if mounted? It would seem to get messy!

Zusya~ Mike~ no room in my tub or shower...ROFL!! Its a very small bathroom, and no light due to awning over patio. :(

My girlfriend has a garden tub I would kill for, but no room in my house for one... :(

Mike~ Did you get your fern yet??

amccour~~ I hope yours comes back too! How is it doing now?

Christopher~~ I don't think succulents would like a shower.. LOL! I could see where a tree would or ferns..

I have threatend to throw the dogs in with hubby... LOL~ Brats need a bath. :)

Thanks again~
Have a great day everyone!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:52AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I asked hubby this morning where we could mount this and he said the neighbors. ROFL!!

Who's a grumpy ole red neck/ x truck driver who would probably wake and shoot it in the middle of the night! LOL!

I think my baby will go in a basket in my plant room..:)


    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:58AM
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I started a small staghorn fern about 30 years ago and it hangs outside my dining room window, under the mulberry tree here in San Diego. It gets full sun all winter when the mulberry drops its leaves, and just partial sun in the summer. I have it in spaghum moss on a board. Just tied it on with fishline. About 10 years ago, it was about 5 feet across and it fell down on the ground. We uprighted it, and hubby took a bow saw and cut it into 5 pieces. I mounted them all the same way, and only one didn't make it.
In fact, the original, which I nailed to another board and lleft about 3 feet wide, is now back to about 4.5 feet wide. I never fertilize it, just tuck a rotten banana down in the "throat" a couple of times a year. My husband almost broke his back uprighting it when it fell. It was really heavy and there was no way he could pick it up high enough to get it back up on the stand.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 2:27AM
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