Today we filmed the Garden Journeys segment at Natural Gardener in their tropical house. A bunch of people have asked me about Staghorn Ferns and I don't know anything about them. So I decided to interview John Dromgoole, owner of Natural Gardener who is very passionate about these plants. I used to work at Natty G back in 2003, so visiting with John was really a hoot for me. Their tropical house is very cool and the butterfly garden is also totally crazy with flowers now.
I learned that staghorn ferns prefer bright, indirect light and need protection from cold. The best way to grow them is to tie them onto a piece of wood and surround the root ball with spaghnum moss. Then you can water the moss and mist the leaves with diluted fertilizer. Hanging them in a tree will show the best results. But they need to come indoors in the winter because the cold will kill them as they are native to tropical regions. They are true ferns and reproduce with spores. As the plants get larger you can divide them but John doesn't recommend that because the huge specimine ferns look so amazing! He also told me to check out the huge staghorn fern at Zilker Botanical Garden at the entrance to the garden center. Next time I'm there I will for sure.
I have very happy memories of working at Natural Gardener. It's where I got my start in horticulture in Austin and it's where I started my transition from conventional gardening to organic gardening. I owe a debt to John and the staff there for helping me along the way in my business too. It's a special place that I am always happy to visit! Visit http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com.