Staghorn Fern Repotting: How To Repot A Staghorn Fern

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

In their natural environment, staghorn ferns grow on tree trunks and branches. Fortunately, staghorn ferns also grow in pots – usually a wire or mesh basket, which allows us to enjoy these unique, antler-shaped plants in non-tropical environments. Like all potted plants, staghorn ferns occasionally need repotting. Read on to learn about transplanting staghorn ferns.

Staghorn Fern Repotting

When to repot a staghorn fern is a common question to many but an easy one to answer. Staghorn ferns are happiest when they’re slightly crowded and should only be repotted when they’re nearly busting at the seams – usually once every few years. Staghorn fern repotting is best done in spring.

How to Repot a Staghorn Fern

Here are some tips to follow when you begin transplanting staghorn ferns into another pot.

Prepare a container at least 2 inches (5 cm.) wider than the original container. If you’re using a wire basket, line the basket with about an inch (2.5 cm.) of moist, firmly packed sphagnum moss (Soak the moss in a bowl or bucket for three or four hours first.).

Fill the basket (or a regular pot) about half-full with a loose, well-drained, porous potting mixture: preferably something like shredded pine bark, sphagnum moss or a similar medium. You can use up to one-third regular potting mix, but never use garden soil.

Remove the staghorn carefully from its container and move it to the new container as you gently spread the roots.

Finish filling the pot with potting mix so the roots are completely covered but the stem and fronds are exposed. Pat the potting mix gently around the roots.

Water the newly transplanted staghorn to soak the potting mix, and then allow it to drain well.

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