How to Pot Up a Staghorn Fern


Staghorn ferns are members of the genus Platycerium--eight different species exist in their native jungles in Africa, Australia, South America, Southeast Asia and Madagascar. These ferns have fronds that look like thick, broad leaves. The staghorns are epiphytes, or "air plants," meaning they don't need soil. In the wild, they grow on trees, so you'll need to pot your staghorn in sphagnum moss. You can also mount your staghorn fern on a tree, a piece of driftwood or other wood.

Step 1

Soak sphagnum moss in water for three to four hours--make sure you soak enough moss to fill the pot you have chosen for your staghorn fern.

Step 2

Fill your pot about 1/2 full with your soaked moss, leaving room for the root system of your fern.

Step 3

Place your staghorn fern on top of the moss and then fill in around it with enough additional moss to fill the pot and keep your fern secure.

Step 4

Put your potted staghorn fern under a tree or arbor, or in another outdoor area that receives only morning sun or filtered sunlight throughout the day. Staghorn ferns also serve well as houseplants. You can hang your fern outdoors in the summer and bring it indoors in winter if you live in a cold climate zone.

Step 5

Water your staghorn fern once a week by soaking the moss. Because the water will quickly run off, be sure to pour water on it several times.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum moss
  • Flower pot with drainage hole
  • Fish emulsion


  • Master Gardener Online: Staghorn Fern
  • The Gardener's Rake: Indoor Plants---The Staghorn Fern and Its Care
  • Herself's Houseplants: Staghorn Fern
Keywords: ferns staghorn, tropical gardening, houseplant planting

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.