Dividing Staghorn Ferns

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Staghorn ferns are spectacular little plants that can grow to an amazing size if given the water and climate conditions that they crave. A few months ago I realized that  my basket-bound staghorn fern had begun to form clumps where leaves were sprouting  haphazardly causing it to lose it’s fernlike form. My mom had bought me this particular fern more than 15 years ago at a local nursery when she had come down to Costa Rica for a visit.  It had gone through periods of growth and near death over the years and I had finally set it in a shady corner and pretty much left it alone except for an occasional spray with the hose during the dry season. Now it seemed that it had begun to suddenly reproduce faster than a rabbit and the whole thing looked like it was climbing out of the basket. I decided to try and pull off all the baby ferns and plant them individually and thus give the mother plant more room. I’d never  divided Staghorn ferns before so I  checked online to see how this might be done. The general consensus was to just hack away and rip those babies right off. So that’s basically what I did.

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Each round cluster of fuzzy leaves that grows on the mother plant is a new baby. Staghorn ferns have two types of leaves. The round anchor leaves that sort of look like fuzzy lily pads and the long leaves that look exactly like the antlers on a moose or a stag. Hence the name.

All these individual clusters of baby plants had to be separated.

All these individual clusters of baby plants had to be separated.

I ended up with quite a large stack of new plants.

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And there were still plenty of leaves left on the mother plant for next time:

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Since Staghorn ferns are epiphytes (which means that they don’t grow in soil but instead derive their nutrients from the air and rain) I figured I could “plant” them just like my orchids, i.e. mounted on a piece of plywood and cushioned with moss, then hung on the wall. I had some pieces of plywood in different sizes in the tool shed and I purchased a bag of fresh Christmas moss.  Then I simply mounted a fern cutting on top of a mound of damp moss which I had set on the plywood and then secured everything with wire.

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This slab of plywood was large enough to place twins on.

This slab of plywood was large enough to place twins on.

Everything is secured with wire

Everything is secured with wire

I added wire hangers to the back of the plywood

I was doubtful at first about my fern dividing abilities and I didn’t think the little plants were going to make it.

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But a few months later, all is looking well:

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I will be joining:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Saturday Show Off at The Rose Garden in Malevik 

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

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