How to divide a staghorn fern is a common question for anyone wanting to grow these beautiful ferns. There are two schools of thought on this subject, both of which make good sense. One way is to separate them into two separate plants, one with the staghorn stalks and the other without. The method you choose is really a matter of personal preference, although the reason for dividing the plant has a lot to do with one main factor.
As mentioned above, staghorn fronds do not like growing in groups. If they were, it would be easy to simply pull them all outta their holes, pot them all together, and then return them to where they started out – together. However, while they will indeed grow in groups, it is not a very pleasant sight. If you cannot bear to see them all together, divide them according to how fast they grow.
Staghorn fronds can have two divisions per stem, each with two leaves. In each division, the upper leaf moves up over the base of the lower leaf, forming a cord-like branch. You have basically two branches, each with four leaves, moving in opposite directions. These branches also come with a single bottom leaf. It is this base that you will want to divide the plant.
The simplest method of how to divide a staghorn fern involves dividing the lower leaf into four equal divisions, then replacing each leaf at the base with the next in its division. If you are growing a large fern that has many leaves, this may work well. If you are just beginning, however, you may find this method very time consuming. It will require you to keep on hand several cuttings from each division.
Some people divide staghorn ferns according to how they appear when the plant is fully grown. If the lower leaf is in the original position, the cuttings will be placed directly on this lower leaf. The remaining leaves can be positioned so that they face up toward the light. This division does not usually affect the appearance of the plant, but it is a good way to distinguish between divisions.
Divisions can also be based on how the plants grow along the divisions. If some of the leaves grow inwards towards the light while other leaves grow outwards toward the light, this division is used. If all the leaves grow outwards towards the light, then this is considered a true trunk split.
How to divide a staghorn fern is an art that takes patience and perseverance. It can sometimes seem very confusing because the plant has a trunk and branches that grow in different directions. You have to decide which division your specimen falls under. You may also have to use a magnifying glass so that you can be sure you are looking at a true staghorn. If you can’t see any of the branches of the fern by holding the specimen in front of a bright light, then you will have to use a microscope to inspect the specimen carefully.
When you learn how to divide a staghorn fern, you are taking a step toward showing your creativity. This is a beautiful plant that is often overlooked because its blooms die after just one bloom. But don’t let its small size fool you. With its unique features, it is a show stopper.
Staghorn ferns are usually quite large and can exceed six inches in diameter with a cluster of more than twenty leaves. It can grow easily in most gardens with mild to medium conditions and is well known for its ability to reproduce rapidly. Because it blooms at the top of the season it will produce spectacular blooms in just a few short weeks. Once the blooms have died down it goes into a state of dormancy and will take another two or three years to bloom again.
It is a natural reproductive creature that tries to produce as many seeds as possible each year. It will take two years to reproduce even once. This makes it very hard to move a plant from one location to another and makes it very hard to kill off one single leaf.
The best way of dividing a staghorn fern is to use your hand. Simply pinch each leaf between your thumb and forefinger and gently twist. You should be able to remove about half of the leaves. This will make your job that much easier because it will allow you to separate the plants without damaging them too much.