Welcome to The Bio Dude!
Common Name: Elkhorn Fern
Scientific Name: Platycerium bifurcatum
-Care Recommendations By The Dude-
Best for These Animals: Small climbing snakes, tree frogs, climbing lizards, and other climbing animals.
Bio Dude Substrates: Elkhorn ferns, which are a type of staghorn fern, are epiphytes (air plants), and do not need to be placed on or in soil. However, they can be attached or mounted to wood or branches using the Bio Dude's sphagnum moss as a base to help hold the roots and keep them moist.
Soil Depth: None; does best mounted on wood.
Lighting: Low to moderate, or bright indirect light. Do not place under basking light or heat lamp.
Humidity & Misting: Prefers heavy misting, usually at least twice a week, and high humidity. Try to keep the sphagnum moss base moist at all times. Does best with rainwater, reverse osmosis, or distilled water. Tap water may contain certain chemicals which the plant can be sensitive to over time.
Mature Plant Size & Root System: Individual plants can reach up to more than a foot in diameter, however they can easily "pup" out with additional plants (since elkhorns reproduce using spores) and the shield fronds that face outwards can continue growing along mounted wood. Large colonies can eventually form, overgrowing their mountings or forming large "balls" of elkhorns attached to each other.
Elkhorns can be re-mounted onto larger pieces of wood as the grow out, or "pups" can be taken off and mounted elsewhere.
Because elkhorns are epiphytes (air plants), and evolved to grow in trees instead of soil, their root system is minimal and mainly used to attach itself to its mounting rather than collect nutrients, which is done through its fronds (leaves) instead. However, root systems and shield fronds of individual elkhorns can grow and weave into each other to form one large, tightly bound structure.
Temperature Tolerance & Placement in the Terrarium: Can tolerate temperatures from the high 50's to the 90's, but prefers a temperature range from 65 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Best when mounted on wood or cork branches or backgrounds.
Edible & Side Effects if Ingested: Elkhorns are non-toxic to people and animals; however, they are rarely ingested or used as a food source by any animals.
Pot Size & Packaging: A single 4" potted elkhorn fern is shipped wrapped in newspaper.
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