Elkhorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

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The Elkhorn Fern is an epiphyte that grows on the trunks and branches of trees. It consists of a series of plantlets that have fronds of 25-90 cm protruding from the base nest leaf. This nest leaf which is 12-30 cm wide, attaches itself to the tree. 

Elkhorns require shade and need to be kept moist to flourish.  Given these conditions they are generally easy to grow, although subject mealy bugs and scale. A small amount of native fertilizer once a year will help them to stay healthy.

Over time, the number of plantlets multiply, and the plants can become large and heavy. 
You can propagate Elkhorns by prizing the roots of a plantlet from the other plantlets with trowel or knife and mounting the separated plantlets on a backing board. 

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Elf fern Cordyline IMG_6817

 This article is part of our Gardening with natives series.

 

 

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