Staghorn ferns look very much like deer or elk antlers, hence their unusual name. Native to Asia and Australia, the plants are part of the Polypodiaceae family—they grow slowly, but end up being quite large and impressive once mature.
Staghorn ferns make for tons of eye-catching visual interest, not only because of the beauty of the ferns themselves but also due to the unusual way they're typically grown. Because staghorn ferns are often mounted on wood planks and hung on the wall, they make for a great way to add a bit of green decor to your room or gallery wall scene.
The best part: For something so stunning, they're not terribly difficult to cultivate, either. The key to helping your staghorn fern thrive is to mimic its natural, sub-tropical conditions as best as you can. Dapples of sunlight (they're used to growing on the bark of trees beneath a canopy of leaves) and lots of moisture will be two essential ingredients to a happy, healthy staghorn fern.
Staghorn ferns prefer to be kept in a location that boasts consistent, shaded light. That being said, they can handle more sunlight if given enough water, warmth, and humidity. Just be cautious about allowing any direct rays to hit the fragile fronds, as they can burn easily.
Proper watering is an essential component of a staghorn fern's success. They'll need frequent watering, but the base should be allowed to dry out in between—about once a week in warmer climates or during the summer months, and once every two to three weeks in cooler months. For easy watering, remove your fern and its mounting from the wall (or wherever it's hung) and soak in a sink filled with water for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the roots are fully saturated. Allow to drip dry before rehanging.
If you notice the fronds have begun to brown or blacken towards the base, it's likely your plant is being overwatered. Likewise, if the tips of the fronds begin to brown or wilt, it probably needs to be watered more frequently.
If there's one thing to remember, it's that staghorn ferns love humidity. Though more mature staghorn can survive briefly freezing temperatures, they thrive in warm, humid conditions.