Staghorn ferns look very much like deer or elk antlers, hence their unusual name. Native to Asia and Australia, the plants are part of the Polypodiaceae family—they grow slowly, but end up being quite large and impressive once mature. There are 17 species of Platycerium, but only one, the staghorn fern, is truly common in home cultivation.
Staghorn ferns were once considered difficult to grow, but today they are quite popular. This plant grows outdoors in warm season locations and indoors elsewhere. Mounted or in a basket is how to grow a staghorn fern, because they are epiphytic, growing in trees generally. The fern has the antler-like foliage as well as a flat basal leaf.
Staghorn ferns prefer to be kept in a location that boasts consistent, shaded light.
Though young ferns may be started in a moist traditional potting mixture, staghorn ferns should be mounted once they progress towards maturity. Staghorn ferns are epiphytes, growing on the sides of trees or other plants in the wild, and will therefore thrive in similar conditions in your home.
To promote increased growth in your staghorn fern, you can feed it monthly with a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer—this is best done during the spring and summer, when the fern experiences active growth. Fertilizing frequency can slow to every other month during the fall and winter.