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Are my staghorns dying?

Posted by kateanne 11 (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 20:48

I have a pair of mounted staghorn ferns, which were taken off trees a few weeks ago, and I am not sure if they are thriving. One seems to be showing signs of drying out, about once a week one frond gets a mottled yellow/tan dry look to it, and falls off, the other fronds look ok, just a few brown tips, I soak them 2-3 times a week in the sink.

the other has developed black patches on the basal fronds, near the 'neck' which I am afraid is rot or fungus, but otherwise the fern is full and healthy looking, and has not dropped any fronds since I acquired it.

They both get the same amount of water and indirect light, but there may be an age difference.

Here are the black patches.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Also, I know that there is a fern forum, but it doesn't seem to get as much action.

Here is the whole plant with the black patches.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

here is the second plant, which I believe is older, that is slowly losing its fronds.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

A few little points. You need to be careful with tap water. The authorities often put a lot of chemicals in it, including chlorine, which ferns don't like. Keeping them inside can be a problem, especially if you have airconditioning. Air inside is usually much drier than outside. After a remount you can expect a few fronds to fall because of the disturbance. Also that darkening on the nest leaves can happen from lots of water as those leaves mature. The new nest leaves will cover them over anyway. If there's a possibility of leaving them out in the rain then do it. Rain water is great for them.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Collecting rainwater for watering any/all of your plants isn't a bad idea either when/if it can be easily managed. SO much better for them.

That dark waterlogged color is all over my stag as well,..and I'm hoping that whenever it feels like throwing on a new shield(seems like forever now)it will look alot better. Meanwhile it's putting out new fronds so things can't be doing TOO badly,right?
I'll get a pic in the morning.

Hey Tropic,
In your experience,do you recommend banana peals? Just gave mine some the other day and I'm hoping to see results. a feed is long overdo for all my plants at the moment actually. Hopefully by sometime tomorrow I'l give everyone a splash of the good stuff(I've really been putting it off),and thankfully I have been storing rain in heavy duty trash cans that are under the gutters(which are in bad shape lol),and I'll use that to mix my fert with because who wants flouride and chloromines with their nitrogen?


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

We don't get much rain in my neighborhood in the summer, but it gets moderately muggy. I am new to Hawaii, and have not been here in the winter, so we will see if it rains more later. We don't have air conditioning, and it stays humid inside, if that helps. I will have to examine my water more closely, see if that helps.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Stags love humidity so that should be peachy! That fuzzy texture on the leaves is for collecting water from the air so high humidity = happy stag.

Here's a few shots of mine...


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Topside view...


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

And here's a look at it head on up close...see what I mean about waterlogged looking?

...but I assume it's just gonna get covered with new shields eventually so I'm not gonna sweat it(unless I find out here that I should).


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Thanks! Yours looks great. I am going to wait for the base fronds too, the new ones starting when I mounted them have dried up already, presumably from the disturbance. Hopefully I dont have to wait too long til some pretty green ones start back up.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

I know what you mean about the waiting...drives me nuts...patience is tough at times like these. :)

So I gather that in order to water yours,you dunk the thing plaque and all in a tub?

Just curious. :)


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

well I have tried a few different ways, I have been alternating, between that and and hosing it off.
I like the hosing idea because it seems to recreate the climate that they originated from. Since these were taken off trees in a different micro-climate here in hawaii. While my neighborhood is hot and sunny, about two miles away is a valley where it is much more rainy and forested, where these ferns grow on all the trees.
But dunking may be better when I feed them, since I have them indoors I don't want to just shove a banana peel in there, as there are huge cockroaches around here, and I don't want to tempt them in. I woke up not long ago to one 2 inches long in the bathtub. Ahh life in the tropics.

This post was edited by kateanne on Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 19:07


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

First things first...Thank you for the compliment on my stag...it started out as such a tiny thing too when I first bought it. It used to be in a four inch pot if you can believe that.

It's come a long way,and now I think I can safely say that I've finally managed something I've always failed at before...extracting a viable division! At the moment it's snug in a terrarium where I don't need to concern myself with maintaining it for the most part in any way(I love that about ters!)

Here in minnesota I haven't seen too many roaches,but if I did I'd feed 'em to my anole because she needs variety in her diet...thus,..I'm not worried about what might come in with the stag when it comes time to bring it back in.

Speaking of lizards,..seeing as you get the occasional monster cockroach,I can't help wondering if there are lizards that follow them in.

...Ever find lizards in the house?

Maybe one day I too shall live in the tropics...really is a lovely thought. :)

Here's a shot of my anole in silhouette...


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

We get a lot of geckos inside. Cute little things, except for their poop, but they seem to mainly hang out on windows so its pretty easy to clean. I let them stay in hoping they keep the bugs down, ants, roaches, and poisonous centapedes are part of life here, it took me months of agonizing before I accepted that you cant clean your way to a bug free home. Its the downside of living in a tropical paradise.
There are many anoles on the lanai, they are pretty friendly, I saw one the other day chasing a roach that was almost as big as it was, I wanted to see what it planned to do with it once it caught the roach, but they went under the fence. The anoles are bug eating machines, but they jump on me, which makes me jump every time, and after I saw one eat a baby gecko, I still carry a grudge.

How long have you had your staghorn? I am wondering how fast they will grow, what do you feed it with? I have been occasionally giving it some bone meal and boiled banana peal/coffee ground water, as advised from someone local.

Here is an anole visitor to my desert rose. The geckos are shyer, its hard to get them to sit still for a picture.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

I'll bet if you held a bug out,one of the rascals would run up and take it from your fingers.
Doubt it will make you feel any better about the grudge,but it's pretty likely that the geckos are taking out a few of the anole's kids as well...not to mention that both will eat their own young given the chance. Not pretty but it is what it is.

It's been about five or so years since the staghorn was in the four inch pot I got it in,..and last year it was bigger than it is now...of course that was before the scale insect invasion came to lunch. Everything I tried failed to yield noticeable results and at this rate I feel lucky that it held out til spring...but it did...and once it was outside I kinda crossed my fingers in the hopes that natural predators of scale would discover an all you can eat extravaganza.

They did!
...was so happy I coulda done cartwheels in the yard

In general I'm real negligent when it come to feeding and when I do get around to it I use a weak solution at about fifty percent what's recommended. Boiling the banana peal is news to me...wonder if it makes a difference?


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Asleep, those stags look good. But I still find it strange seeing them in pots instead of up on trees or rock faces. Banana leaves are a very "slow release fertiliser". They do take a bit of time to break down, and the animal life they attract will only bring slow results. I recall Purp. posting about how she pureed bananas in water and used that as a fertiliser. But blood and bone fertiliser is a good one for them.

I have a lot of wildlife on my place, and they're all eating each other (isn't mother nature wonderful). I try not to interfere but on occasion have separated the "eater" and the "being-eaten". That's mostly been snakes and frogs. I grab the snake in one hand and the frog in the other. The snake usually thinks they've both suddenly become the meal and lets the frog go. I guess that's why there's so much wildlife here, they've plenty to eat, like each other.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

The peel I used was found in the park already brown and shriveled so I'm hoping that would make it better somehow ...like closer to composted state almost...or something.

A compost tea from banana peels sounds interesting,no?

As to prying predator off of prey,I can't say as I blame ya. When you get to know them over time it's like they become family and it's not like you can let that happen to your buddies. lol


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

I think compost tea is good for plants, there's already nutrients available in it. Worm castings tea from worm bins also.

On the matter of predator/prey relationships, I have no illusions about where they would place me at the dinner table if I were small enough.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Perhaps if I washed out a terrarium and kept the sludge left by earthworm culture and water the stag from the stained water...might have a similar effect?

"if I were small enough"

...Or they were BIG enough,right?

Just how big do those adorable baby constrictors in your yard actually get? Wonder how big the mama is now?

Wasn't there some saturday morning series with some mad scientist with a shrink ray...wow that goes way back there if anyone remembers that stuff I'll be really impressed! .

But seriously,..don't people get swallowed sometimes?


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Asleep, that would be great for the plants, but I'd water it down a bit to make sure it isn't too strong.

The Darwin Carpet Pythons on average get to about 2 metres, although the largest I've seen at my place would only be 1.5 metres. The Olive Pythons get to around 3 metres but again, the largest I've seen at my place would only be 2 metres. The water Pythons are generally slightly smaller than the Olives, the largest at my place so far is about half a metre. The Darwin Carpet is the most common at my place, and they seem to be the most placid and not shy. I think for a snake to swallow a human it would need to be bigger than 3 metres, although babies would be vulnerable, and pets as well.


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Good idea about watering it down...wouldn't wanna burn anyone should the N be too high(don't exactly have a lab at my disposal so it's better too err on the side of caution.

I'm thinking if I were surrounded by all those pythons I wouldn't feel the need for any more pets than the snakes themselves.

I've had friends who kept snakes of various kinds in enclosures but all I can think is how jealous they would be of you that rather than having to seek out and purchase these things,they just come right to your yard of their own free will. MAN they would be green!! LOL


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RE: Are my staghorns dying?

Watering down fertiliser is always a good approach with ferns. Some are very sensitive, especially epiphytes.

The only "pets" I have are 2 Long-necked Turtles, Chelodina rugosa, and I only enclosed them to protect them from Cane Toads. But their enclosure is a very natural set up.


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