Staghorn Ferns

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Staghorn Species

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Most species of Staghorn ferns grow readily in Florida although much depends on the
familiarity of the grower with the specific needs of different species. Beginners are advised to start with the easy-to-grow'' species, which are readily available at local nurseries. As you become accustomed to their culture and growth habits, you can 
start to acquire some of the harder-to-grow and more expensive species. A partial 
list of species is provided below with specific cultural information and notes on 
their ease or difficulty in growing.

P. alcicorne - P. vassei Easy-to-grow species with upright fertile fronds, dark green. 
Basal fronds turn brown naturally. Pups well. Semi-hardy to 40F (4.4C). Native to Madagascar and East Africa.
P. andinum Moderately difficult. This dry forest species needs good ventilation, and drying between watering. Fronds covered 
with dense silvery hairs. Pups well. Only Platycerium  native 
to South America, specifically in the mountains of Bolivia and Peru. Temperatures between 70-80F (21.1-26.6C), low of 60F (15.5C). Requires low light.
P. bifurcatum The most common species in cultivation and also the easiest 
to grow. Produces large numbers of "pups," eventually forming a very large plant. Dark green color.Hardy to temperatures of 25-30F (1.1C) for short periods. Many varieties are available. Native  to Australia and New Guinea.
P. elephantotis (P. angolense) Moderately difficult. Thrives in warm temperatures of 80-90F (26.6-32.2C), low of 60F (15.5C). Produces large unbranched foliar fronds, dark green. Basal fronds brown in the winter. Large fern. Native to dry forests of tropical Africa.
P. grande Difficult to grow. Likes high humidity but is easily over-watered. Young plants produce only basal fronds. Foliar fronds reclining, light green in color. Does not pup. Tender below 60F (15.5C). A large fern, prized by collectors. Native to Philippines.
P. hillii Easy to grow with semi-erect dark green foliar fronds. Produces pups. Semi-hardy to 40F (4.4C). Several varieties are available. Native to Australia and New Guinea.
P. madagascariense Interesting, small Platycerium, from Madagascar.  It is essentially a twig epiphyte, and is inhabited by ants, which live in the gaps created by the waffled shield fronds.  
P. ridleyi One of the most striking and beautiful Platycerium. It is difficult to grow. This species grows very high in trees. Subject to rots and other diseases, and a favorite of many plant eating pests. One problem is that this is a solitary species. This means that, 
if an insect eats the bud, the plant will die. The veins are raised. Ants in habitat inhabit this species, and this means it likes good fertility and the substrate should be somewhat acidic.
P. stemaria More difficult to grow, requiring temperatures of 80F (26.6C) and not below 50F (10C). Needs high humidity and frequent watering. Semi-erect, large foliar fronds with a silvery case when young. Pups well. Large plant native to tropical Africa
P. superbum Difficult to grow. Very similar in appearance to P. grande when young. Easily over-watered. Large reclining foliar fronds light green in color. Does not pup. Hardy to 30F (1.1C) for short periods, although prolonged cold temperatures not tolerated. Prized by collectors. Native to Australia.
P. veitchii A common and easy-to-grow species with erect, silvery foliar fronds. Produces pups. Semi-hardy to temperatures of 25-30F (1.1C) and tolerant of light frost. A semi-desert species native to Australia that requires a lot of light.
P. wandae Difficult to grow species. High humidity, easily over-watered. Temperatures between 80-90F (26.6-32.2C), lows of 60F (15.5C). Possibly largest Platycerium. Native to New Guinea.