How Much Does a Staghorn Fern Cost?

Written by: Staff

Staghorn ferns, also referred to as Elkhorn ferns, are part of the Platycerium family; they are named so because of their strong resemblance to the horns of a stag or elk.

These ferns are planted and grown primarily for ornamental purposes and can be found all over the world, very resilient to the elements.

The staghorn fern is different from other ferns because they do not have roots in the ground and can grow upon other trees and plants.  However, they do not take any nutrition from the base plant or tree; instead, they rely on decayed leaves that have fallen from above.

starr-091120-9875-Dicranopteris_linearis by Starr Environmental, on Flickr
starr-091120-9875-Dicranopteris_linearis” (CC BY 2.0) by  Starr Environmental

How much does a staghorn fern cost?

With most staghorn ferns, the older they are, the more you are going to have to pay.  On average, plan on budgeting anywhere from $10 to as much as $300+.   A 10-year old plant, for example, could cost around $100 to $150 while a plant that is older than 25 years can cost upwards of $500 to $1,000+.  However, if you just plan on getting a baby fern at a local nursery, you probably will not have to spend more than $30.

On eBay, at the time of this writing, we had found a 25-year-old Staghorn fern with a “buy it now” price of $2,500.  This fern, which was four feet tall and three feet deep, needed to be scraped off the tree if you were interested.

For example, a 4-inch hanging basket retails for $5 on

Staghorn fern overview

The staghorn fern or Placyterium is a genus fern in the Polypod family called Polypodiaceae.

The Staghorn ferns grow with one kind of frond against a tree and then another frond jutting out like a flattened deer’s antler away from the tree.  They are usually fertile and may germinate naturally on other trees near where they grow.

A mature Staghorn fern can grow more than three feet in width.

Staghorn ferns have two types of leaves that are visible: sterile and fertile.  The sterile leaves do not help with the physical growth of the plant; instead, they stay in place and help hold water and nutrition for the rest of the plant.  The fertile leaves, however, is responsible for the photosynthesis and therefore the growth of the plant.

What are the extra costs?

You may need to purchase a new pot for your fern if the one it came with isn’t as durable for the future.  However, since these ferns tend to get big, they usually do not grow in pots.  Naturally, they tend to do best being mounted either on wood or on a wire basket.

Dirt and fertilizer can cost a few extra dollars.

Tips to know

You can actually propagate Staghorn ferns by carefully dividing healthy ferns into separate plants.  You can then strap or attach this to trees where they will eventually grow.

It is ideal to plant these in a shaded location away from direct sunlight.  They tend to grow the best in bright light but not direct sunlight. has a great article on how to mount and care for a staghorn plant.  This is very important since if you do not mount it correctly, the plant cannot thrive.

These plants are native to the Phillippines, Asia, Indonesia, Australia, America and Africa.  In the United States, most are found in the state of Florida.

In the wild, these ferns are often found growing on tree trunks or near rocks.

How to mount a staghorn fern

How can I save money?

You can save money by learning how to propagate Staghorn ferns.

Check out eBay.  You can actually find sellers selling their plants that are older than 10 years for a lot less than some nurseries.

If you enjoy gardening, you might as well buy a baby staghorn fern.  These are the cheapest kinds, and you will be able to have the satisfaction of growing one yourself.

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