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Platycerium grande

Common name: Staghorn Fern

Family: Polypodiaceae

 

Platycerium grande

Platycerium grande

Distribution and habitat: Platycerium grande is coming from the Philippines where in growing on tree branches near cultivated plants. Apparently Platycerium grande did escape from cultivation in the early stages of becoming established in the wild. It grows on both trees and rocks, usually in rainforest.
This ferns are epiphytes, using trees for support only; they do not obtain nourishment or water from the host tree as would a parasite plant do. Photosynthesis takes place in the green fronds just like any ordinary plant leaf. But the overlapping brown fronds near the base of this fern serve to trap falling debris such as dead insects and pieces of plant material; this is where the fern gets its minerals and other nutrients that most plants would get through their roots from the soil.

Description: Platycerium grande is an epiphytic fern (a fern that grows on the branches of tree canopies or on fallen logs). It is a large fern that produces enormous sterile fronds, like a large battle shield, with forks off of the top edge. The fertile fronds up to 2m (6 feet) length, have two lobes with long fingers hanging down off of their lower edge. In between those two lobes, on the underside of the frond is a large spore patch. Each fertile frond also has a second spore patch located on the lower side of a large triangular lobe.

Platycerium grande is very similar with Platycerium superbum. Platycerium grande can be identified from other Platycerium species by having two spore patches, no frills around the growth bud and having thin papery sterile fronds.

Houseplant care: Platycerium grande ferns are best suited to greenhouse cultivation, but can be grown in the home if water is supplied regularly. Platycerium grande is advisable to be mounted on a sphagnum covered wood plaque. This fern does not do well growing on a hanging basket.

Clean the fronds of Platycerium grande by leaving them in gentle rain in mild weather or by mist-spraying them; Wiping them with a soft cloth or sponge is not a good idea as it will remove the attractive felty scurf. Do not allow water to remain on the fronds.

Light: In nature, Platycerium grande usually grow high up in the branches of the trees; thus, they strive in bright light. Strong direct sunlight, however, will rob the fronds of much of their colour and may cause unsightly markings.
Keep them in bright light without direct exposure to sun. If only artificial light is available, they should have at least 4300 lux (400 foot-candles).

Temperature: Platycerium grande like temperatures up to 24°C (75°F) as long as humidity is kept high. These plants should be mist sprayed once a day when they are grown in warm rooms. An ideal summer temperature is about 21°C (70°F) with a minimum winter temperature of 13°C (50°F). Airy, well ventilated situation suit these plants best.

Water: During the spring and summer give to Platycerium grande enough water at every watering to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely before watering again. During the rest period water these ferns much more sparingly than in the growing period, giving only enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Because the ‘shield’ frond often covers the surface, it may be virtually impossible to water some potted Platycerium bifurcatum from above. The way to solve this problem is to submerge the root portion in a large container of water until it is soaked. During the active growth period leave the plant in water for 15 minutes or so at each watering. During the rest period leave the plant in the water for no more then one or two minutes at a time. Whatever the plant is growing actively or resting, do not soak it again until it is obviously in need of water, which will be indicated by abnormally droopy fronds or by an evident loos of weight of the plant.

Feed: Feeding is rarely necessary, but mature plants – especially those growing on bark – should have two or three applications of standard liquid fertiliser during the period of active growth. For a satisfactory feeding, the bark section that carries the roots should be immersed for a few minutes in the fertiliser solution until it is thoroughly soaked.

Potting and repotting: Platycerium grande plants are often sold growing on a piece of tree fern or bark. When the sterile fronds of such plants have almost covered their backing, fasten the fern onto larger piece of material, either tying or carefully nailing the two together.
To fasten a plant initially to bark wrap the small, spongy root mass in an equal parts mixture of very coarse peat moss and sphagnum moss and tie this bundle securely to the backing with some strong cotton – not nylon – thread. Keep both bark and root mass moist until the roots (which are sparse) and the sterile fronds have adhered to the support.

Alternatively, plant the fern in a wooden, slatted hanging basket (similar to those used for orchids) which is filled with same mixture of peat and sphagnum moss. When established, the plant will gasp the slats firmly.

Platycerium grande can be grown in pots only when very small, since they wrap their supportive fronds around the pot, which must be broken to sever their hold. It is extremely difficult to move them into larger containers.

Gardening: Platycerium grande prefers to be mounted on a sphagnum covered wood plaque. This fern does not do well growing on a hanging basket.
Platycerium grande prefers temperatures to be above 15°C (60°F). It will survive short periods of colder temperatures. Damage will begin to occur below 4°C (40°F).

Light: Platycerium grande ferns do best in bright light, but not direct sun. It will thrive suspended in the filtered light beneath a canopy of trees.

Water: Water regularly, but don’t keep it too wet. The entire Platycerium grande fern and the organic material to which it is attached should be dunked once a week in a dilute solution of fertilizer and rainwater. This species likes high humidity. It will thrive when the fronds are misted daily, but they can do without. Rainwater is best, but soft water can be used.

Fertilise: Feed Platycerium grande with diluted liquid fertiliser once a month during the spring and summer.

Propagation: Nonclumping species such as Platycerium grande can only be propagated from spores and this can be quite a difficult undertaking.

Problems: Scale and mealy bug, sometimes attack Platycerium grande.
Treatment: Use an adequate insecticide.

May be confused with: Platycerium holttumii, Platycerium superbum and Platycerium wandae
When immature, Platycerium grande, Platycerium holttumii, Platycerium superbum and Platycerium wandae will look more or less identical to one another. The adults, however, differ from each other in for key aspects: only Platycerium superbum has only one spore patch, the other three species have two spore patches, only Platycerium wandae frills around growth bud and only Platycerium holttumii has thick and spongy sterile fronds.

Uses and display: Platycerium grande are grown on a moisture retentive medium such as tree bark, osmunda fern root or sphagnum moss, usually in hanging containers or mounted on wall planters. In frost free climates they can be attached to trees or they are often grown in containers suspended beneath a large tree. Platycerium grande ferns are best suited to greenhouse cultivation, but can be grown in the home if water is supplied regularly. Platycerium grande ferns can grow to enormous size, even with little care and a large specimen is truly impressive.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing
Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9 – 11



Evergreen, Ferns, Platycerium ,

Platycerium bifurcatum

Common Names: Elk Horn Fern, Elkhorn, Stag’s Horn Fern

Synonymous: Platycerium alcicorne

Family: Polypodiaceae

Platycerium bifurcatum

Platycerium bifurcatum

Distribution and habitat: Platycerium bifurcatum is an epiphytic rainforest fern native to Australia and New Guinea. This fern will fix itself on trunks or branches of trees with a shielded-shaped frond that clasps on its host bark. A second type of fronds grows on the same fern – the fertile fronds – spreading or drooping and forked like a stag’s antlers, which is what gives its common name.

Decsription: Platycerium bifurcatum is growing to 90cm (35 inch) tall by 80cm (31 inch) broad, it has two kinds of fronds: heart-shaped sterile fronds and arching grey-green fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are 12–45cm (5–18 inch) long growing at the base of the plant and clasps the plant’s support. The fertile fronds are forked and strap-shaped and grow up to 90cm (35 inch) long.

The sterile frond main function is – apart form holding the plant to its support – to trap debris that can be broken down into nutrients as it falls from the branches of the host tree. In time this frond becomes brown and papery and a new green one forms in its place.
The single sterile frond is constantly being replaced, each new one appearing as a small silver spot on top of its predecessor and gradually spreading over the dry brown rather papery surface of the earlier one. When it is young, the new ‘shield’ is a soft peppermint green, which gradually turns brown. At first it clings tightly to the brown patch bellow it, but is unfurls for the last few centimeters (1 inch) of its growth and it is this upward-turning section that catches falling leaves and any other tree debris in the wild.

The fertile fronds are more decorative. They are several in number, fleshy and deep green which is overlaid with fine, white, felty scurf. The overlay of white scurf give the fronds a silvery green appearance. When mature, they have brown spores arranged in dense clusters on their undersides, mainly concentrated at the tips of the fronds.
The fertile fronds develop from the centre of the sterile one; they can extend up to about a metre (3 feet) or so with each of the terminal ‘antlers’ as much as 22cm (9 inch) long. These long folds are often semi-erect with the divided parts drooping a little. There are a number of quite different forms, which have fronds of varying colours and length.

Houseplant care: Platycerium bifurcatum is much the easiest species of Platycerium to grow indoors. It will do best when it grows on a pieces of rough bark or tree fern. Alternatively, Platycerium bifurcatum can grow in moss filled baskets.

Clean the fronds by leaving them in gentle rain in mild weather or by mist-spraying them; Wiping them with a soft cloth or sponge is not a good idea as it will remove the attractive felty scurf. Do not allow water to remain on the fronds.

Light: Platycerium bifurcatum should be kept in a well-lit position away from direct sun.
Strong direct sunlight, however, will rob the fronds of much of their colour and may cause unsightly markings.

Temperature: Platycerium bifurcatum likes temperatures up to 24°C (75°F) as long as humidity is maintained high.  An ideal summer temperature is about 21°C (70°F) with a minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F).

Maintain a humid atmosphere by mist-spraying the plant once a day.

Airy, well ventilated places suits these ferns best. For this reason is best to grow them suspended on a piece of bark or in hanging baskets.

Water: During the spring and summer give to Platycerium bifurcatum enough water at every watering to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely before watering again. During the rest period water these ferns much more sparingly than in the growing period, giving only enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Because the ‘shield’ frond often covers the surface, it may be virtually impossible to water some potted Platycerium bifurcatum from above. The way to solve this problem is to submerge the root portion in a large container of water until it is soaked. During the active growth period leave the plant in water for 15 minutes or so at each watering. During the rest period leave the plant in the water for no more then one or two minutes at a time. Whatever the plant is growing actively or resting, do not soak it again until it is obviously in need of water, which will be indicated by abnormally droopy fronds or by an evident loos of weight of the plant.

Fertilising: Feeding is rarely necessary, but mature plants – especially  those growing on bark – should have two or three applications of standard liquid fertiliser during the period of active growth. For a satisfactory feeding, the bark section that carries the roots should be immersed for a few minutes in the fertiliser solution until it is thoroughly soaked.

Potting and repotting: There are three ways to grow Platycerium bifurcatum. The most natural way is to let them attach themselves to the rough and moist surface of a piece of bark or similar material; another way is to plant them in wooden hanging baskets; the least satisfactory way is to pot them.

Platycerium bifurcatum plants are often sold growing  on a piece of tree fern or bark. When the sterile fronds of such plants have almost covered their backing, fasten the fern onto larger piece of material, either tying or carefully nailing the two together.
To fasten a plant initially to bark wrap the small, spongy root mass in an equal parts mixture of very coarse peat moss and sphagnum moss and tie this bundle securely to the backing with some strong cotton – not nylon – thread. Keep both bark and root mass moist until the roots (which are sparse) and the sterile fronds have adhered to the support.

Alternatively, plant the fern in a wooden, slatted hanging basket (similar to those used for orchids) which is filled with same mixture of peat and sphagnum moss. When established, the plant will gasp the slats firmly.

Platycerium bifurcatum can be grown in pots only when very small, since they wrap their supportive fronds around the pot, which must be broken to sever their hold. It is extremely difficult to move them into larger containers.

Gardening: Within its hardiness zones the Platycerium bifurcatum it is usually grown outdoors. When you grow them epiphytically on a tree, the way they do in nature, they require very little care. The sterile fronds collect falling debris which composts itself in the space between the frond and the tree. This composted organic material absorbs water during rains, which the plant uses when rain becomes scarce.

If not in suitable climate for leaving these plants outdoors all year long, Platycerium bifurcatum is attached to a piece of wood or is grown in hanging baskets. In both cases the fern can be sheltered to safety during harsh winter conditions.

Place them in a well lit position away from direct sun and care them as per indicated above.

Propagation: Propagation is usually from spores and not practical for the indoor amateur grower.

Larger plants occasionally develop more than one growing point and a small side growth can be detached without harming the rest of the plant; this can be treated as a new young specimen on bark or in a basket.

More often, however, old plants are broken up into several separate sections, but it should be kept in mind that the braking-up process may cause considerable damage to some sections.

Problems: Any problems that arise are likely to be the result of incorrect care – insufficient humidity in hot dry conditions or overwatering in winter.

Dry indoor air will cause brown tips.
Treatment: Mist the fronds regularly to keep the humidity high.

However, do not allow the base of the fern to stay wet, which may cause it to rot.

Avoid damaging the fronds by over-handling.

Platycerium bifurcatum are not often troubled with pests, but scale insects sometimes infest the underside of the fronds.
Treatment: They can be treated by applying methylated spirit on a fine-tipped brush direct to each on the insects.

Uses: Platycerium bifurcatum is used as house plant. It is best grown on large slab of bark or wood. It can also be effective in a hanging basket.

Outdoors Platycerium bifurcatum can be grown epiphytically on a tree as well as mounted on a piece of wood or grown in hanging baskets in shaded position.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing
Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a – 11

 



Climber, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Platycerium , , , ,

Platycerium superbum

Common Names: Staghorn, Stag Horn Fern

Synonymous: Alcicornium superbum

Staghorn Fern

Distribution: Platycerium superbum is native to tropical and subtropical Eastern Australia. It is very similar with Platycerium grande from Philippines which is assumed that was escaping from cultivation into the wild.

Description: Platycerium superbum are medium sized, epiphytic plant. They have short rhizomes, usually completely obscured by fronds. There are two kinds of fronds, both densely covered with soft, stellate heirs when young:
– Sterile fronds are broad, adpressed to substrate, based round to kidney-shaped, persistent, 120 to 150cm long and 90 to 135cm wide. This fronds are green slowly turning brown with the upper margins fan-shaped, irregularly sinuate or shallowly lobed, rounded to sharp pointed with lobes divided into two parts and elongated reaching forward. The sterile fronds are overlapping and form the basal nest.
– Fertile fronds are drooping, usually growing in pairs of equal sizes up to 1m long, narrowly wedge-shaped and tick at bases, broadening upward. Major veins are evident.
Sporangia borne in a single semicircular patches on broad, wedge-shaped area of frond extending into sinuses of first fronds forks.

Care: Platycerium superbum is a hardy and interesting fern that is grown on trees or walls as a specimen or feature plant. It will establish in 2 to 3 years and is commonly grown around a water feature or used in rainforest setting. It has short creeping rhizomes behind a nest of leaves. The feature fronds are pendulous and the plant is mid green in colour. Ferns require constant moist, well-drained compost but not wet or waterlogged as this promotes rot. Platycerium Superbum like the water to pass by the roots regularly. Platycerium Superbum prefer decomposed organic material. This will improve their growth.

Propagation: This specie does not produce offshoots and must be grown from spores.

Note: Platycerium genus is form by a group of 15 species from Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and South America. Represented in Hawaii by two naturalized species (Platycerium superbum and Platycerium bifurcatum), both potentially serious invaders of native forests.

 

PROPER CARE:

  • Filtered light
  • Well Drained moist soil
  • Fixed to boards
  • Frost sensitive


Ferns, Platycerium , , ,

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