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All About Platycerium bifurcatum ‘Staghorn Fern’

Posted on December 12 2022

Staghorn Ferns venture on the side of “extraterrestrial artwork”. Put simply: They don’t look like your average houseplant! With 18 different species of Staghorn Ferns to choose from, why select the Platycerium bifurcatum? Because it’s one of the easiest Staghorn Ferns to care for, indoors or out! Whether you keep your fern planted or decide to mount it, it’s guaranteed to provide visual interest to any living space! 

Meet Your Match:

    • Nickname: Elkhorn Fern, Antler Fern.
    • About the Family: The Platycerium bifurcatum is a relative of other Platycerium varieties, such as the Hillii and Vetchii. 
    • Understanding the Family Tree:  Polypodiaceae (Family), Platycerium (Genus), Platycerium bifurcatum (Species).
    • Hometown: Tropical Java, Australia, and New Guinea.

    How to Care for Your Staghorn Fern Indoors:

      • Watering: Wait for the antler fronds to become slightly drooper than usual (usually once every 1-2 weeks).
      • Humidity: High.
      • Soil: For the best results, use equal parts peat moss, sphagnum moss, and bark as a growing medium.
      • Fertilizer: Orchid Fertilizer poured over the shield and antler fronds 1-2 times a year.
      • Environment: Indoors, keep your Platycerium in bright indirect light and temperatures between 65-90 degrees.
      • Propagation: Division of pups.
      • Toxicity: Non-toxic to pets and people.

      The Best Unboxing Practices:

        Properly caring for your newly unboxed Staghorn Fern indoors for the first week of its new life is crucial to the extended wellness of your plant. Follow these practices to get the best results:
          • Watering: Exotic Forest ships freshly watered plants. Do not water your Platycerium until it exhibits the proper signs.
          • Repotting: Do not immediately repot your plant, which would likely result in shock and leaf-loss. Allow it to acclimate to its new environment for at least one week.
          • Lighting: Place your Platycerium in filtered, low light for a few days to acclimate. Relocate your Staghorn Fern to your desired location that fits its indoor care needs afterward. Do not ever place a freshly un-boxed plant in direct sun.

          What You’re Getting:

          • You will receive a carefully selected, quality evaluated 8” diameter plant. All Exotic Forest plants are rooted and thriving. 

          What Makes Us Special:

          • Shipment Methods: Plants are precious, and we want yours to arrive safely! We ship our plants via UPS, with a maximum of 4-day shipping. 
          • Our Packing: Have you received ‘squished’ plants from other companies? Our solution to this common issue is bamboo stakes and biodegradable packing peanuts (starch), which securely holds your plant in place during shipment. 
          • Chemical-free: We are committed to keeping our plants and customers safe. We never treat our plants with chemical pesticides. 
          • Quality Standards: Exotic Forest strives to meet stringent quality standards and evaluates each plant we resource from our nursery. Pest-free, healthy plants are a requirement!
          • Customer Service: Your satisfaction is our priority. If you are experiencing issues with or have questions about how to care for your Platycerium bifurcatum ‘Staghorn Fern’, reach out to us at or via our social media accounts. Are you tired of receiving pre-written responses? We believe that plant parents want to talk to people, not robots. A knowledgeable team member reads and replies to each individual concern: no cookie-cutter answers here!
          • Returns: While we do not accept returns at this time, you can contact us at with photos of your plant and receipt to discuss the specific plant care issues you’re experiencing with your Platycerium bifurcatum ‘Staghorn Fern’ and possible resolutions.
          • Your Personal Plant-Care Resource: Do you love your new addition? We couldn’t be happier! Join our mailing list to receive exclusive offers, updates, and care tips.

          FAQ about How to Care for Your Indoor Staghorn Fern:

            • What is a Staghorn Fern? A Staghorn Fern is an epiphyte, which means it naturally grows in rainforest treetops. These plants have different anatomy: Their showy “antler fronds” protrude from the front, while their brown paper-like “shield fronds” hug the plant’s base. The frond’s purpose? Antler fronds are part of the plant’s reproduction system: a very healthy plant will produce felt-like spores, which should never be cleaned off. Shield fronds are responsible for the majority of the plant’s nutritional and moisture intake; even though they may look dead and crispy, never remove them! So what about the plant’s roots? The Staghorn Fern’s root system is simply there as an anchor.
            • How do you propagate a Platycerium bifurcatum? As noted, a Platycerium bifurcatum reproduces by creating spores. Unless you’re a mad scientist, harvesting spores and producing more ferns is very difficult. The easiest way to propagate your Platycerium bifurcatum is by separating “pups” from the parent plant. Your plant will produce pups when it’s fully mature (and healthy). 
            • How do you take care of a Staghorn Fern? For the best results, it is recommended that you eventually mount your Staghorn Fern horizontally in a loose, non-traditional potting mixture. Why? In a nutshell: Imitating nature is the surest way to have a healthy plant. Overwatering is one of the #1 risks with a Staghorn Fern. Wait to rewater your plant until you can see that the antler fronds are “droopier” than usual. These plants will recover more quickly from underwatering than overwatering, so err on the side of caution.

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