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The staghorn fern, or Platycerium superbum, is an epiphytic large fern that grows well in sub-tropical to tropical areas, and in sheltered spots in temperate areas. The fern is native to rainforest areas of northern NSW and Queensland, where it grows on trees or sometimes on rocks. The fern resembles a collection of antlers (hence the name), that grow from a central crown or nest of fronds. This crown collects leaf litter and dead insects, which feed the plant. The antler fronds can grow to 2 metres in length.
In the garden, the fern can be attached to a board or similar, which can then be attached to trees, walls or fences. It can also be attached directly to a tree host. The fern is epiphytic, and not parasitic. As the fern grows, it can be fed by placing organic matter, such as banana skins and tea leaves, etc, into the top crown of the fern. Staghorns like moderate humidity, good air circulation and bright light.
Propagation is only from spores, as this fern, unlike other Platyceriums, does not make offsets or pups. The spores are brown felty masses on the underside of mature fronds. A section of frond with ripe spores is placed into a paper bag. The spores will shed, and can then be sown onto sterilised damp coir and kept under glass to grow.
Flower colour: not specified
Flowering season: not specified
Maximum height: 1 metres
Minimum height: not specified
Maximum width: 1 metres
Minimum width: not specified
Will tolerate partial sunlight.
Light frost tolerance.
Plant is not salt tolerant.
This plant species will grow in the following climates: temperate, subtropical, tropical.
Loam: not specified.
Clay: not specified.
Sand: not specified.
Native to: Australia.
Planting season: not specified.
Types of fertiliser: not specified.