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Watering Platycerium

  • Subject: [ferns] Watering Platycerium
  • From: Dan Clemons slk4fun@yahoo.com
  • Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 06:21:40 -0700 (PDT)
  • In-reply-to:

Too much or too little water can kill platycerium. 
Temperature and humidity largely tell me when to water
my plants.  The amount and brand of Sphagnum behind
the plant is also an important factor as is the age of
the plant.  Young plants need moisture to get
established so they cannot be allowed to completely
dry out.  I pay very close attention to make sure my
newly mounted pups get less water than established
plants but get it more frequently.  Escondido,
California summers can be hot and dry so I tend to use
more sphagnum behind my plants in order to retain
moisture longer.  Ive decided that about two inches
of New Zeeland Sphagnum is ideal for my Southern
California digs.  My system of watering is a
temperature dependent system.  At 95 degrees and above
and low humidity, my plants require watering just
about every two days.  Above 97, misting is a must
with my garden hose.  Plants that do well in the cold
tend to dislike heat.  When the temperature is in the
80s, twice a week is generally just right.  In the
70s, I can get 4 days between watering and in the
60s to low 70s once a week works well.  You can also
feel the weight of the plant for water content. 
Overwatering produces a smaller base shields than the
last.  Watering from a hose tends to run off the
sphagnum and not get to the roots where it is needed. 
Lack of water kills almost as many plants as too much
water.  I dip the sides of my plants in a galvanized
tub of water being careful not to get the bud wet. 
This method of watering also invites pups to form on
the side of the plants where they can be removed

About P. Superbum I dont think it is any different
than any young plant.  I have four of them growing on
my patio.  I did manage to kill a large P. Superbum
and to this day I dont know if I over watered the
plant or under watered the plant.  All I can tell you
is that the bud died.  I do tend to water my P.
Superbum once a week and use less water than my other
plants.  Dissecting P. Superbum I found out that it
stores a lot of water in its base shield, which allows
it to go longer between each watering.     

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