Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Platycerium bifurcatum
Platycerium bifurcatum

Click to Enlarge

Zones 15-17, 19-27
Partial Sun
Regular Water

Platycerium bifurcatum

Common Staghorn Fern


Native to tropical regions, where they grow on trees. In gardens, these grow best mounted on slabs of bark or tree fern stem, in hanging baskets, or attached to trees. To thrive, they need regular water, very well-drained soil, and strong indirect light. Plants have two kinds of fronds. Sterile fronds are flat, pale green, aging to tan and brown; they support the plant and accumulate organic matter to provide nutrients. Fertile fronds are forked, resembling deer antlers (hence the common name). Difficult to grow under normal houseplant conditions, but possible in a garden room, sun porch, or an attached greenhouse where direct sun can be filtered by a sheer window covering. Water thoroughly but not often. Check moisture levels by pressing on the sterile brown frond base; water only when dry. Apply balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during growing season.

Platycerium bifurcatum

From Australia and New Zealand. Arching or pendent gray-green fertile fronds, 3 ft. high and wide. Produces numerous offsets, which may be detached for use in propagation. This species shows much variability in form. Look for named cultivars like ‘Netherlands’ with distinctive grayish, upward-arching fronds.

You Might Also Like...

Rhododendron (Azalea hybrid - Rutherfordiana) 'Alaska'

Grows 3 to 5 ft. tall, 4 to 6 ft. wide. White flowers with chartreuse blotch; mid to late season.

Rhododendron (Azalea hybrid - Rutherfordiana)

These bushy, 2–4-ft. plants have handsome foliage and medium-size blossoms that may be single, s...

Cyperus albostriatus

A clump of upright 1 1/2-ft.-tall stems is topped by a tuft of broad leaves and, in late summer, loose...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More