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Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

Posted by lou_violette 8a (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 19:59

18 months ago I bought a staghorn bifurcatum mounted on a 7.5-inch board. The shield frond has almost completely covered the board and has made a large bulge at the bottom. I have added as much sphagnum as possible around the edges but it is almost impossible to keep the plant watered. I drip rainwater over the exposed moss as I water the rest of my plants in the morning and again in the afternoon, by which time it is bone dry. It never carries more than four fertile fronds and does not pup. It is almost time to take it out of the greenhouse and I can’t imagine how it will survive the hot, windy, dry summer. Several years ago I had huge pupping plants in wire baskets but then we started having 100 degree dry summers and I couldn’t keep them alive. I probably overwatered them to compensate for the dry heat.
What can I do for this plant to provide more water-holding medium for it to root in? Should I scrape it off the board and put it in a wire basket or orchid basket? Or try drilling holes in the board and placing it on a bed of sphagnum in a wire basket? I saw an enormous ball of bifurcatum at a local nursery but it had been left there and the nurseryman had no idea how it had been grown or how to care for it.
Thank you for your advice.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

The bulge near the bottom is norrmal. If you're pushing the sphagnum in at the sides that would be letting the back of the plant dry out. That board size is tiny. You need to attach it to another larger board. The shield/nest frond will grow across the new board. It'll press hard against the board preventing air circulation from drying the plant out. They do like high humidity. One that copes better with low humidity and heat is Platycerium veitchii.

RE: Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

I also have one that is on a small board that it seems to have outgrown. I had read before that it is best to attach the board to a larger board, however my small board is warped and would not lie flat on a new board.

Why is scraping the plant off and wiring it to a new board not an accepted way of coping with the problem? Also, the two boards together would be pretty heavy for me to deal with seeing as I'm a 77 year old female weakling.

RE: Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

Maxmom, you can still do that, but it is a bit riskier and you need to be a little more careful. The roots of the plant will have worked their way into the wood and will be broken off when you pull the plant off. Do it when the weather isn't too hot and keep the humidity up until it gets re-established. I've done it both ways, attaching a new board to the old is just the simplest in most cases.

RE: Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

Tropic, Thanks. I'll give it a try, crossing my fingers all the time.

RE: Staghorn has outgrown board - help!

I finally found an ancient cedar birdhouse, took it apart and glued the sides together to make a board 5" wider and 7" longer than my plant board. Does this sound about right? (Hubby will help with the weight. I'm a little 'ole Lady too.)
Do I pack the new board with sphagnum for the shield to grow over or is the shield supposed to attach itself to the bare wood?
Your pictures on the elkhorn thread are enough to make one weep. I rarely get envious but I got to admit to the green eyed monster.
Thanks for your help.

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