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Staghorns and Elkhorns

Walking through the rainforest at Mary Cairncross Reserve, Buderim Forest Park or any other rainforest part of the coast, you will see some lovely Staghorns and Elkhorns growing up in the trees.

Staghorns and Elkhorns are Epiphytic ferns, which means that they grow on the surface of another plant, and get their moisture from the rain and their food from the leaves that fall and decay on and behind it. You may even see one that has fallen from a tree growing on a log on the ground.

The way to tell them apart is that the Elkhorn has heaps of thin fronds and the Staghorn generally has one Single plant and much larger fronds. a simple way to remember is, S for single, S for Staghorn.

To grow one of these in your garden you need to mimic the natural environment as much as possible. So you need to position them so they have some dappled sunlight and out of the wind.

You can tie them to a timber backing board, (not Chip Board), a tree or an old piece of wood. To tie it on use something soft and flexible such as a stocking. This won't hurt the plant and it will break down as the plant takes hold. Place some Sphagnum moss behind it. This will help keep the plant moist as it grows.

To have a lush healthy plant, fertilize with some Katek Chook pellets every six months and water with some Searles Seaweed every few weeks.