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Re: Killing Platycerium

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Killing Platycerium
  • From: "Keith Rogers" kerogers@lm.net.au
  • Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 12:01:19 +0930

Hi Roy and others

It's a bit like the lottery, gotta be in it to win it.

Platys are just the same.

We have a cotton scale here which causes the odd problem, but mostly up in
the tropics.

Do you guys use summer oil and Maldison on these things?

I sit in wonder about you guys over there having problems with P. superbum,
it is one of the easiest, after P. bifurcatum, to grow down here.  Guess we
don't get that cold you get and not as much cold rain!!

So the art is very little moisture in the cold, the same as with the P.
veitchi but a bit more moisture in spring and autumn.

Remember Roy, that P. superbum on a huge rock we saw away in the distance
mile or so away, high up in
the almost Veitchi country.  It was in a very dry area. Val and I often
think back about that trip and
the places we got into.  Was good fun.

Half your luck with the true Philippines P. grande, have got some spore sown
and hopefully it will give us something to get frustrated about.  There are
lots of P. superbum sold here in Aust under the old name of P. grande.

P. wandae does well here, well in Adelaide, there is only one I think.  It
is on my wish list. When I look at my sporelings, like I wish they would
grow quicker than a quarter of an inch every few months.  Another
frustrating time is coming.

Have a small spore grown P.elephantotis, P. holtuumii and a Madagascar P.
alcicorne and a few Aust White and Alcicorne Val Holt all between 2 and 4
inch stage.
They survived winter on the hot box so far and now spring is here and I feel
I have won the lottery.

Another comment on P. hillii, we find the need to punch a hole in upper part
of the tightly closed in shield frond, just below the tip to enable us to
water them properly in the summer. The shield closes in at the top so not to
get overwatered in its natural state.  They are a polyhouse plant in winter
here because of the frosts.

Kindest regards

Keith Rogers
Mannum South Australia

On the web with Keith's Fern Page at

Supporting the Fern Society of South Australia Inc at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roy Vail" <vailroy@yahoo.com>
To: <ferns@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2002 11:26 PM
Subject: [ferns] Killing Platycerium

> Sometimes I wonder if I haven't killed more Platys
> than I have had.  This has been the WORST summer for
> my collection that I have ever had.
> They have been outside two summers now, and next
> summer they will stay in the greenhouse.  The biggest
> problem has been insects.  Those little white dot
> things, I thought were called snow scale.  What in the
> world will kill them?
> It seems to me it is not right to consider all
> Platycerium like they required the same conditions.
> When someone says what works for them, it would be
> helpful to know what species they are talking about.
> Over the long run I have had Platycerium veitchii
> survive my care the best.  It can get very dry and it
> doesn't bother it.  It can also take a lot of light.
> If you water it too much, and keep it in too little
> light, it will become long, lanky, and the tops of the
> shields will become round.  It doesn't look like it
> does in nature.
> The easiest for me to kill with too much water is true
> grande.  I've never had one over about 2 or 3 years.
> P. superbum is almost as bad.  Someone told me they
> decided they could not keep the solitary species.
> Looking at my own collection, I wonder why I didn't
> decide that long ago.  I have a P. wandae that seems
> to be far less sensitive to over watering than P.
> superbum or grande.
> It seems to me that if a person is in the business of
> selling Platycerium, he/she should consider what the
> person is apt to do to the plant.  Most people will
> over-water, so P. hillii cultivars are great choices.
> So is Platycerium alcicorne, and P. ellisii (which few
> hobbyists grow). P. superbum is a poor one.  People
> selling Platycerium, and ferns in general, to the
> general public, should do so in a way that will cause
> the buyer to have a good experience with the plant.
> If they don't and the plant dies, then the person has
> a bad experience, and we loose a potential hobbyist.
> By the way, I don't think you can tell much about the
> requirements of a Platycerium by how thick the shields
> become.  The shields of Platycerium hillii become very
> thick, and it lives in very wet places.  The same is
> true for P. coronarium.  The shape of the upper part
> of the shields is a far better indication.  I've
> proposed the idea that species like hillii, alcicorne,
> and madagascariense that have shields that close the
> top of the cluster, are adapted to ample rainfall, not
> collecting water.  Those with shields that extend
> forward, leaveing the top of the plant, or cluster,
> open, are adapted to collecting water and are adapted
> to dryer conditions.  P. elephantotus has in
> interesting adaptation.  The large veins of dead
> shields, when dry, bend forward, opening the top of
> the plant, and when wet bend backward, closing the top
> of the plant.
> Roy Vail,
> Mena, Arkansas
> Zone 7A  USA
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