sick elkhorn plant with brown spotting on leaves

nachtischeMay 22, 2010


I have a plant, it looks like it is some kind of elkhorn variety. I've had it only about 1 month, as a gift from a friend. I'm being careful not to water it too much, just soaking it once a week.

It is currently winter, and it is positioned so it gets all day sun, but the sun is not too much.

I can feel from the base of the basket that the bottom of the basket is damp, so I think it's holding the water well enough.

I have heard that they need two things - shady and not to be over-watered.

The leaves have began having brown irregularly shaped spots.

When I water it, the spores on the back of the leaves have washed off in parts. Where the spots are now appearing is most commonly on the opposite side of where the spores have been washed off, but it may be a coincidence.

I would appreciate any recommendations on what I should do to help the plant get better.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Do you mean elkhorn fern? If so, lots of sun is rhe problem.

Any chance of pictures?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 4:36PM
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Hi, thanks for the reply. I do have pictures, but I am still figuring out how to upload them. I will do that asap so you can take a look.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:20PM
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hi Jean001,

I have already posted the pic in the hortiplex gallery, with the description elkhorn with brown spotting. I would really appreciate any advise you can give as to how to help my plant. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:49PM
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i'm pretty sure what I have is an elkhorn fern. whenever I do searches for elkhorns I usually get articles on staghorns. can someone verify this. I resurrected it when it was down to a few rhizomes. I replanted them and kept them in a shady spot and slowly it grew into this. It's filling out slowly.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:18PM
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There are distinct plants which are Elkhorn Ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum) and Staghorn Ferns (Platycerium superbum). Unfortunately the names are too often confused and even nurseries get it mixed up. They have similar growing conditions and people who don't know just use the names interchangeably. Because they are native locally (though not exactly where I live) differentiating is a bit more important. In foreign countries the Elkhorn is the most common. In fact I haven't seen any (accurate) reference to Staghorns on foreign garden web sites.

I've dug out some of my photos which will show you the difference. This Elkhorn (Platycerium bifurcatum) is in habitat. The photo's of a small plant, they do get a lot bigger. It's a "colony" of many plants in fact, they multiply and grow in a cluster. You can divide the clusters/colonies and get more separate plants.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Staghorn (Platycerium superbum) grows as a single plant and gets quite huge. You can only propagate them from spores (or perhaps tissue culture).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:45PM
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then what would this be?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Interesting question. All Platycerium have nest or shield leaves which wrap around the roots and around trees or against rocks. These trap debris and water, and protect the root system from drying out. I can't see any nest leaves on yours. It does look similar to another that I have. Sold to me as "Celery Fern", but I've never been able to positively identify it. Yours, though, branches more deeply than mine which just get multiple branching right near the tops of the fronds. So not sure what that makes yours. Maybe (hopefully) someone else here will know.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Microsorum punctatum grandiceps?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Thanks for that suggestion. I googled it and that does seem to be what it is. There are a number of cultivars, so mine is also probably one. I did see some on the floor of a rainforest a couple of years ago, but those weren't quite as "frayed" as mine.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:14AM
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