Stag Horn Fern

olivia13043(Zone 7)December 24, 2005

I have two stag horn ferns I purchased 2 winters ago in the FL Keys. They winter inside and summer outside. This fall when I brought them inside they have brown spots covering some of the foliage. Anyone know what it is and how to get rid of it. It's not on every leaf but about half of the long "staghorn" ones. Thanks.

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Sad news Olivia... First off how big are the spots and are they raised. If they're flat and appear as a discoloration on the frond say 1/4 inch to 1 inch in diameter they are likely a mold. However, if they are slightly raised and oblong 1/8 x 3/32 they're likely scale.
With scale you may also see little white specks which are the crawler phase. If possible scrape them ALL off with your finger nail, then spray with a systemic. The only one I trust goes by the trade name Cygon. You can find a generic. Scale, left untreated, may kill most of your tropical plants. It is usually introduced by bringing home a contaminated plant.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2005 at 7:44PM
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I have young staghorn fern,I would love to transfer her to a piece of wood.
What is the best type of wood and what is the best way for her to be transplanted to her new home?


    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 8:35PM
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buckyforce(10 So. Fla.)

Hi Beahr,

How young is your staghorn and why do you want to transfer it? What it is on now?

If it is bare, or just on a piece of pine bark or outgrowing its current home, I have a few suggestions.

I have had very good luck using flat bottomed bowl-shaped wire baskets. The bottom is small and the sides flare out. If the back of the fern is 6" get a basket with a diameter of at least 1 foot. You will want to line the basket with screening and then pack it with sphagnum moss. (Think about where these ferns grow in the wild - on the sides of trees, in the crotches of trees, where natural debris fall and deteriorate). I am in So. Fla. and I mix dried twigs, decaying bits of branches, mulch, etc. in the mix with the sphagnum moss that has been soaked. Pack it in there tight and place your fern, original growing place and all into the basket. I use monofilament fishing line to strap the plant into place. Depending on the size of the plant, cut a couple of pieces of line about 6' long. Tie one to one of the wires on the back and fish it through the mix. (You can even tie one or two on before you pack the basket) Now draw the line across the brown "ears" of the fern and behind another wire, pull it tight and repeat, back and forth. You'll see what I mean when you start.

By utilizing the ferns current growing medium, you lessen the shock of removing it and provide it a larger place to grow.

When the fern is secured to the new basket, you will hang the basket from it's side so that the small part of the basket is on one side and the fern is in the middle of the large part of the basket. It then has the entire area of the basket to grow and cover with new pups.

I'm not wild about slabs of wood. Wood is sometimes pressure treated with chemicals, dries out too quickly and doesn't provide the best habitat.

Like I said before, if you provide a stag horn the habitat they grow in in the wild, as best you can, you will always be rewarded.

If any of my instructions above don't make sense, please email me and I would be happy to send you pictures. If you keep a stag horn damp with lots of medium to grow in, they will be happy.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 10:19PM
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My staghorn has a frond that is dying. Do I just leave it alone until it falls off?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Old ones fall off in the normal process of ageing. If you don't like the appearance of the dead leaf you can just cut it off. The stub left behind will get covered by new nest leaves.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:50AM
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