How to Care for Your Staghorn Fern

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Are you looking to grow something striking and unusual? Learn how to care for your Staghorn Fern, nature’s funkiest fern!

Staghorn Fern has been gaining a lot of attention lately in the houseplant world. Aside from the fact that it looked like nature’s work of art, they are also easy to care for and propagate. They can actually grow very large when provided with the right environment.

Staghorn Fern, also known as Platycerium bifurcatum, is naturally found in Australia, the Indonesian island of Java, and New Guinea. Similar to the Air Plant, Staghorn Fern is an epiphytic plant, which means it clings to trees, but not in a parasitic way. Since it doesn’t need soil, it absorbs nutrients and water mainly through the fronds. So if you’re considering adding Staghorn Fern to your houseplant collection, put it in a bright, humid spot.

Fun Fact: The Staghorn Fern got its name because of its long, forked fronds that resemble deer antlers.


However, a lot of people are intimidated by Staghorn Fern because its anatomy differs from common houseplants. Staghorn Fern has two kinds of fronds. First is the elegant, pendulous foliar fronds, which produces spores. Second is the round, flat basal fronds, which grow at the base of the plant. It may be brown and papery or green and succulent. Today, we’re going to learn how to care for your Staghorn Fern, the most commonly sold as a houseplant mounted on pieces of driftwood, plaques, or wooden boards.

To mount your Staghorn Fern, you will need a flat piece of wood with a hook attached to the back, a piece of driftwood or sturdy tree branch, or a plaque. Draw a circle on the wood’s surface, then hammer small nails along the circle. Leave a quarter-inch of the top of the nail above. Next, place the Staghorn Fern on top. Using a wire, secure the Staghorn Fern by tying the basal fronds and moss with the wire onto the nails. Lastly, hang your Staghorn Fern in an area where it will receive bright, indirect light.

In case you want to grow your Staghorn Fern in a container, fill it with potting soil, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole, then moisten it well. Here’s everything else you need to know on how to care for your Staghorn Fern.

Botanical NamePlatycerium bifurcatum
Common NameStaghorn Fern
Plant SizeStaghorn Ferns can grow up to 6 feet long.
Types of Staghorn FernsAmerican Staghorn Fern
Elephant Ear Staghorn Fern
French Elkhorn Fern or Silver Elkhorn
Green Staghorn or Stiff Staghorn
Moosehorn Fern or Regal Elkhorn Fern
Platycerium Alcicorne
Platycerium Bifurcatum
Platycerium Superbum
Ridley’s Staghorn
Triangle Staghorn Fern
SunlightStaghorn Fern prefers bright, indirect light.
WaterWater once per week during spring and summer, and water once every two to three weeks during cooler months.
HumidityStaghorn Fern is a humidity-lover. Increase humidity around your Staghorn Fern to help it thrive.
TemperatureThe ideal range is 60–80°F. Staghorn Fern is cold-hardy, but the temperature should not be allowed to drop below 50°F.
ToxicityStaghorn Ferns are non-toxic to both cats and dogs.
FoodFeed it monthly with a diluted balanced fertilizer during spring and summer, and every other month during fall and winter.
Pests and ProblemsStaghorn Ferns are susceptible to a disease called rhizoctonia leaf spot when kept too wet.
Omysa Plant Care TipLess light or heat = less watering.
More humidity = less watering.
More light or heat = more watering.
Remember these tips, and your Staghorn Fern will flourish.

Staghorn Fern Care Tips

As we have mentioned, caring for your Staghorn Fern is similar to caring for air plants. It’s pretty easy as Staghorn Ferns are mostly self-sustaining. Focus on recreating a rainforest environment for them to thrive. Here’s a detailed explanation of how to care for your Staghorn Fern, from sunlight requirement to common problems and its solutions.


First, on our list on how to care for your Staghorn Fern is to find a warm spot in your home where it can get bright, indirect light or diffused light. Do not put your Staghorn Fern under the direct sun because it can burn the leaves.

Common Problem: If the leaves of your Staghorn Fern are turning brown or pale, this could be because of too much direct light.

Solution: Staghorn Ferns will grow best under bright, indirect sunlight or somewhere more shaded. However, if you place it in very low light, the plant’s growth will slow, and it will encourage the growth of disease and fungus.


Next on our list on how to care for your Staghorn Fern plant is to water it once a week during the dry season, and once every two to three weeks during cooler months. Create a watering schedule, and adjust as necessary depending on the humidity, light, and temperature of your home.

Common Problem: If the antler fronds of your Staghorn Fern are turning brown, this could be because of overwatering. However, if the antler fronds are turning brown at the tips or wilt, this could be because of underwatering.

Solution: Staghorn Fern doesn’t tolerate overwatering. Check the moss at the base of your Staghorn Fern regularly before watering.

Humidity & Temperature

Adding to our list on how to care for your Staghorn Fern is to keep the area’s humidity between 70 and 80%. You can increase the humidity in its spot by misting it often, placing it near a humidifier, or by using a pebble tray.

It prefers temperatures between 60°F–80°F. Staghorn Fern can somehow tolerate cold temperature, but never let the temperature drop below 50°F or go above 100°F.


Staghorn Fern is non-toxic to animals and humans. It’s considered one of the best pet-friendly houseplants.


Another on our list on how to care for your Staghorn Fern is to feed it monthly with a diluted balanced fertilizer during spring and summer, and every other month during fall and winter.

Remember to follow the recommended amount of fertilizer and schedule to avoid fertilizer burn or plant burn.

Pests & Other Problems

Staghorn Fern is prone to common houseplant pests, such as aphids and scale insects like mealybugs. To eliminate these pests, gently spray the plant with insecticidal soap. It’s also susceptible to a fungal issue called black leaf spot, also known as Rhizoctonia. Trim out diseased parts of the plant and spray down the plant with a mild fungicide.

Learning how to care for your Staghorn Fern depends heavily on the humidity, light, and temperature control. Provide it with proper care, and we can guarantee you that your Staghorn Fern can live for many years. Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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