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Care of the plant Platycerium alcicorne or Staghorn Fern.

Care of the plant Platycerium alcicorne or Staghorn Fern

The genus Platycerium, family Polypodiaceae, includes 17 species of ferns native to New Guinea, Australia, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, South America, and Africa. Some species are: Platycerium alcicorne, Platycerium bifurcatum, Platycerium grande, Platycerium superbum, Platycerium hillii.

Common name: Staghorn Fern. This species is native to Mozambique and Madagascar.

They are epiphytic ferns that reach 80 cm in height and 90 cm in diameter. They have 2 types of leaves: the horizontal and wide ones that allow it to cling to the branches of the trees and those that hang vertically that look like the horns of the elk. The leaves are covered in a waxy coating that prevents the evaporation of water. They do not produce flowers. It's very important not to remove the waxy layer from the leaves thinking that the fern is dirty.

They are used as indoor and greenhouse plants. They can be grown in summer outdoors in damp moss on walls and trees.

They need high humidity in the growing season but the leaves do not have to be sprayed directly because they can rot. Water with lime-free water frequently in spring and summer and moderate watering in winter. If it's grown in a pot it's convenient to immerse it 30 minutes in lime-free water once a week in summer.

The Platycerium alcicorne needs a semi-shade or shade exposure, always avoiding direct sun. They do not resist temperatures 15 ºC. It's a delicate plant that does not resist direct sun or the dry heat of heating.

The soil can be a mixture of leaf mulch, sphagnum, and peat. In case of transplantation, it's done in spring.

Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with liquid fertilizer at half the usual dose.

They do not need pruning.

They can be attacked by mites and mealybugs if they suffer from drought; avoid drafts and sudden changes in temperature.

They are propagated by separating suckers planted in peat in a warm and very humid environment.

Images of the plant Platycerium alcicorne or Staghorn Fern

Platycerium alcicorne
Platycerium alcicorne
 

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