Dust On A Staghorn Fern – Do Staghorn Ferns Need To Be Cleaned

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Staghorn fern (Platycerium spp.) is a uniquely eye-catching plant, appropriately named for the impressive fronds that bear a striking resemblance to elk antlers. Not surprisingly, the plant is also known as elkhorn fern.

Do staghorn ferns need to be cleaned? Because the fronds are so large, it isn’t unusual to find a thin layer of dust on a staghorn fern. Washing staghorn fern plants carefully will remove dust that can block sunlight and, of course, also brightens the appearance of the plant. If you’re convinced that cleaning a staghorn fern is a good idea, read on for helpful tips on how to get it done.

Cleaning a Staghorn Fern

So you’re in need of cleaning a staghorn fern plant. The first question that likely comes to mind is “How should I clean my staghorn fern?”

Washing staghorn fern plants should be done carefully and should never involve wiping the fronds with a sponge or cloth. Take a close look at the plant and you’ll notice that the fronds are covered with a felt-like substance that helps the plant retain moisture. This substance is often mistaken for dirt or dust, and wiping the fronds can easily remove this covering.

Instead, just mist the plant lightly with lukewarm water, then shake the plant gently to remove excess moisture. Repeat weekly to keep the plant dust-free. Your staghorn fern will also love being cleaned by a gentle rain, but only if outdoor temperatures are mild.

Now that you know a little bit about washing staghorn fern plants, it will be easier to tackle the issue should the need arise.

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