Saturday, April 14, 2012

Elk Horn fern - updated

I bought this elk horn many years ago (nearly 20!), it was lovely with purple dendrobium orchids filling the top of the basket and the elk horn around the base and sides. The orchids died a long time ago and I haven't been able to replace them. The stag died off and I thought it had gone to God, but hadn't thrown it out. After years of this dead looking brown thing there was a lot of rain and it was quite damp. New little rosettes of leaf plates appeared and suddenly it was back from the dead!

I made sure I kept it damp and it's still got little plants appearing. I repotted it (in the wire cage it is in) as the old one had rusted away. I'm so happy I didn't throw it out. I now need to harvest some of these little ones and make a couple of new plants.

and this is a stag horn fern, waiting to go up on the wall (or in/attached to a shady tree):

The stag horn is harder to grow, it is much more sun sensitive than the elk. They are tied to a block of hardwood with pantyhose and attach themselves (same can be done with the elks), I hear it is good to feed them with banana skins (put down between the wooden board and the back of the plant). I have two of these waiting to be hung up, one for me and one for my sister in law. I just need to figure out where and how!

For Merilyn, some hoya flowering currently - this is the first time this specimen has flowered. And a picture of where the hoya are, getting only morning sun.

I need to mow along the front there but it keeps raining, probably best if I poison that weed there!


Merilyn said...


Mick Gold Coast QLD said...

Marvellously resilient plants elkhorns and stag horns kae. That's a real nice display there.

I have hundreds of potted plants, all started by me from cuttings borrowed, given and thieved; with many experiments amongst them, but my obsession is maiden hair ferns.

Always I am on the lookout for a variety I've not seen or do not have sufficient of (the Goddess' eyes raise to the Lord every time she spots me at it, having long since given up on asking "And where are you going to fit that?!?!").

There are so many types and one must pay attention to them daily - find the right spot, ensure their exposure to breeze is controlled, extra careful feeding, moisture levels just so and so on. A lot of them are in hanging baskets, which makes it harder 'cos the bark or fibre needs to be thick enough to withstand the accelerated drying out that all round exposure brings.

Over the years I've determined their best host is unglazed terra cotta pots - just the right amount of circulation through the roots. This all came from lessons taught by my mother in the '60s!!!

The profit is in the fabulous displays, tiered down to show different leaf sizes, varieties and depth of colour.

I'd be a morose man if I was deprived of that morning coffee wander through those beautiful displays - to simply stand and admire and draw joy every day from those delicate plants.

kae said...

Hi Merilyn
Hi Mick
I love maiden hair, too. It's so delicate, I particularly like the black stemmed one. I love most ferns (except for bracken, but it has its place, too).
The plants under the hoya at the front of the house are azaleas and there are a few fruiting figs which need to be potted into larger permanent pots. The frangipani on the left is a red cutting from a friend. I have a lot of frangipani cuttings I need to pot up. So much to do.
It's much cooler now and easier to work, but still humid, and the drawback of winter is the shorter days.

Minicapt said...

Proper elk horns:


Merilyn said...

Absolutely delightful hoya flowers Kae.

As for Maiden Hair brought it down with me when I left QLD alas it did not like S.A. or the area where I put it.

However a man in this area has the most beautiful collection of ferns I have seen outside QLD but he has nearly his entire yard under shadecloth to enable them to grow.

Hi Mick good to hear from you.

Boy on a bike said...

When I was a kid, mum always made us throw our banana skins into them. The blasted things grew to be enormous!

Merilyn said...

BoB don't laugh but I use Banana skins on my Birds Nest Fern, works like a charm.

Skeeter said...

We have this rough maidenhair growing wild on our river bank.
You are welcome to some of it to add to your collection if you want it.
Kae can give you my Skeeter email address.

Skeeter said...

Have just discovered this bubba elkhorn and this bubba staghorn growing on mango trees.
Dunno how they got there — they are self-sown (or should that be self-spored?) The closest likely parent we have is about 400 metres from the mangoes.

Caz said...

Twenty years, hey? Fantastic!

Hoyas are lovely, Mum has some in her garden every year.