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Re: Killing Platycerium an essay

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Killing Platycerium an essay
  • From: "Keith Rogers" kerogers@lm.net.au
  • Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 10:38:20 -0400

Hi Guys

Dan's comments are very relative to Platycerium culture, the un-natural way
we try to grow them, laying flat and this is somewhat to their detriment.
We place them in enclosed places where wind movement does not dry out the
Platycerium to what its natural requirements are.

When they are mounted, you then reciprocate their natural conditions much
better.  Their shields protect from sun and wind and store moisture for
later use and allow the excess to drain freely from below.

Most Platycerium grow in environments which have a wet and dry periods.
Usually in the cold weather, no rain and in the warm, it is wet.

The species which have thick corky water absorbing reservoir material
between the layers of the shields are from the drier areas and the thinner
shields are from more humid or longer annual period of moisture areas.

In larger P. superbum, the bud is protected from the elements by a very
large "flap" formed from the shield frond.
It would appear this is a significant sign of its protective needs not
necessarily seen in other Platys and its cultural needs then being somewhat
This I believe is the sign that water and sunlight on the bud is

There is nothing wrong with overhead watering or dunking the entire fern in
water, but only in the warmer months and then allowing the ferns to dry or
drain sufficiently which Phillip points out very well.  Try doing it in the
cold weather and they will die, which Peter points out.

Generally P. superbum doesn't like to be cold and wet here (somewhat like
San Diego) at around 50F or less needs very little moisture, whereas P.
bifurcatum and P. veitchii and cvs are quite happy.

In Carol's idyllic paradise, anything grows there and she should have no

Kindest regards

Keith Rogers
Mannum South Australia
On the www with Keith's Fern Page at

Supporting the Fern Society of South Australia Inc at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Clemons" <slk4fun@yahoo.com>
To: <ferns@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2002 10:51 AM
Subject: [ferns] Killing Platycerium an essay

> Killing Platycerium
> By Dan Clemons, Escondido, CA
> First, I dont consider myself an expert in the fine
> art of growing Platycerium.  Unlike Barbara Joe, Roy
> Vail, and my good friend Miles Goodman, I am not an
> expert.  Like you, I have learned to turn to them for
> answers to my questions.
> Over the past 16 years, I have lost more than my fair
> share of even the hardiest of Platycerium until I
> discovered what I was doing wrong.  That is the
> subject of this essay.
> As you know, the entire plant relies on its bud for
> everything.  It relies on its bud for food from the
> roots.  To make shields that attaches to something and
> store water.  Lastly, the front of the frond is a
> solar collector while breathing takes place on the
> bottom of the frond.  If Platycerium could talk it
> would tell you that it was born with an extremely
> tender bud.  If your favorite platy could talk it
> would tell you its not the water behind the shield
> that kills but the water directly on the bud.  I had
> four small dwarf P. Bifurcatums mounted on a football
> shaped basket with pencil-sized buds that died due to
> excess water running off the sphagnum and onto the
> bud.  I was devastated when I lost that plant.  In the
> end, I knew I was at fault for the way I watered the
> plant.  By the way, New Zealand Sphagnum moss absorbs
> the water better preventing runoff.  Who could ask for
> more than living right next door to a neighbor that
> loves Platycerium?  Peeking over the fence, I could
> see he watered all his plants by dunking them in a
> tub.  In less than 4 months he had managed to kill
> them all.  Wait, there is more.  How many plants did
> you lose this year, I asked Don Callard, a fine
> collector of beautiful Platycerium and friend of mine.
>  Not one, he says.  Not one, with over a hundred
> plants, how could that be?  Do you water any of your
> plants from the front?  No, he says.  Do you dunk any
> of your plants?  Again, he insisted, I water all my
> plants on a drip system.  Don uses a smidgeon of
> sphagnum and waters regularly.  Dons plants are
> healthy, happy, and often win in shows. Lastly, the
> plant itself tries to protect its bud from moisture by
> covering it with a shield.  They all seem to grow fine
> hair over it as well.  The P. Bifurcatum and P.
> Superbum pull their shields forward to keep the rain
> off the bud.  If you have lost more than your fair
> share of Platycerium, try keeping the water off the
> bud.  I can truthfully say that I have not lost one
> plant since I started keeping the bud dry.  PS:  The
> plant most sensitive to water on the bud is P.
> Superbum.
> Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes
> http://finance.yahoo.com
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