My Staghorn Fern is Losing Leaves!

Hannah V
by Hannah V
Gardening experts I need your help! My staghorn fern lost three leaves today. The other leaves still intact seem brittle too.

Any idea how to get it back to good health? I know they can be sensitive to over watering so I water it once a week and mist it every day. It gets plenty of indirect sunlight too. Any tips are appreciated! :)
Leaves that fell off
  13 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Apr 23, 2017

    It may need re-potting for one, and it's possible that you are misting too much based on what I see. I would try re-potting it in fresh soil and cut back on the misting.

  • Valeri Martin Valeri Martin on Apr 24, 2017

    Agree with Janet. It's getting too moist by misting it everyday. Re-potting it would prob be best, but you may not need to if you can allow it to dry out really well.

  • Cynthia Livsey Price Cynthia Livsey Price on Apr 24, 2017

    Please let it dry out and quit misting it daily as Janet said. These are resilient plants, and yours is trying to tell you it needs time to dry out.

  • Jennie Herrick Jennie Herrick on Apr 24, 2017

    Yes! It's getting way too much water.... It's true that they come from humid climates, however, they do not get direct water every day, and the water that they do get is the small amount of water that runs down the trunk of a tree that they should be attached too. I'm not sure who came up with the bright idea of bringing them inside as house plants but they do not normally do well inside a dwelling. They need the sunshine, the nutrients that get carried in the rain water that flows down the trunk of the tree from everything from bird poo to dirt. They even need the nutrients from the dead and dying insects that crawl into their base. I will even give them a banana peel once every 6 months for extra nutrition. If you decide to keep yours in the house, I would recommend that you place itin your bathroom since it is the one room of the house that has natural humidity and get some organic plant fertilizer sticks. DO NOT give it a full stick, but only maybe an eight to a quarter of a stick at a time because it will digest it VERY SLOWLY. This is one of those times where more IS NOT better. But if you are in a warm climate, or just somewhere where it is finally getting warm and staying above 60* at night, take your Stag outside and hang it on the trunk of a tree or something similar and it will love you forever!! Then once the weather changes, you can bring it inside, and follow the directions for inside care. Best of luck to you and your Stag Horn!! Jennie Herrick

    North Fort Myers, Florida

  • Christelmondon Christelmondon on Apr 24, 2017

    Feed it old rotten bananas mashed up.

  • Abbigail Hunter Abbigail Hunter on Apr 24, 2017

    Let it dry out some and feed it banana peels does not get potted but we have ours hanging from a chainbed that is 3 or 4 chains that meet together and make a place for the stag horn to set in. Ours hang from a tree in the front yard and is shaded but does get light .

  • Rx7race Rx7race on Apr 24, 2017

    Any thoughts on mealy bugs and how to get rid of them. I wipe them off and spray them off, but of course they come back. I have had this Stag horn for over 10 years the last 4+ with the bugs.

    • Teresa Vera Teresa Vera on Apr 24, 2017

      For mealy bugs I normally use Neem oil that you can buy at Home Depot, diluted with plain water, in a spray bottle or even a weak solution of Dawn and water works equally well. These are better than any pesticide you can buy which can ultimately damage the plant. The banana peels work wonders for the staghorns.

  • Janet Janet on Apr 24, 2017

    I agree with these comments. We live in a much dryer climate, but this was my solution. First, replace the moss with new moss from a garden center - not a hobby store. These are not heavy feeders but do like a balanced fertilizer - try a time release in the root area (it will find its food). I never misted mine at all because it lived in my bathroom. The daily showers gave it just a natural misting. I never had bugs in mine. In general, disrupt the insect's habitat and they disappear. Perhaps they are feeding off the moss and you could change it. If you are feeding it banana peels, stop.

    • Hannah V Hannah V on Apr 24, 2017

      Thanks Janet! Any suggestion on the best balanced fertilizer to buy for it?

  • Katherine kelly Katherine kelly on Apr 24, 2017

    I have 6 Staghorn fern's. They are all outside under a tree I hose them with the holes every few days and I feed them banana skins they love them

  • Katherine kelly Katherine kelly on Apr 24, 2017

    Hose not holes

  • Pauliegirl1 Pauliegirl1 on Apr 24, 2017

    I have one for the past 15 yrs...I water it once a month, a good watering...then let it dry dry dry out!! Once a month, up to 2 water!!! Depending on time of year....It has grown a lot over the years....AND...Thanks for the tip about bananas!! I will give that one a try!!!!

  • Lynn Vellucci Leahy Lynn Vellucci Leahy on Aug 31, 2017

    Mine has lost all of it's leaves. Will it grow new ones or is it ready for burial?

    • Kar Kar on Aug 10, 2018

      How did your plant do? Did it grow back? If so, what encouraged the growth?

  • Lynn Vellucci Leahy Lynn Vellucci Leahy on Aug 10, 2018

    It died. I think it was getting too much water.