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Ferns/Propagating staghorns from sporelings


Hello again Dan.

I emailed you in mid July 2012 about the lifespan of staghorn ferns and you told me what I wanted to know.

Since then I have started Stagosaurus which harvests, grows and sells staghorn and elkhorn ferns. Photos of the staghorns and elkhorns on the property are in our newly established website, which is still umber

I think that the key to long term success for the business is to grow staghorns from spores, giving me output beyond established ferns and pups.

I now have 6 mini nurseries which are beginning to show plantlets. My question is::now what? What is the process and growing medium to develop the sporelings? To get from spores to plantlets, I have used a half perlite, half peat moss mix

I hope that you can help me


David Dennis.

David hi;

That sounds like an exciting project! (I love the name Stagosaurus, by the way).

The question you ask is quite challenging.

As you may have seen in my bio, I manage one of the worlds premiere fern propagation nurseries (Milestone Agriculture, Inc. in Apopka, Florida).  

While I can provide you with theoretical information on the sporeling propagation process, I should also mention that, commercially, we find it more economical to buy the propagative material after it is already established (either in "community trays" which hold 1000 plants or so, or in aseptic agar-based media). Though more expensive, these provide a strong start with minimal loss and shrinkage.

When you propagate from your own spores, there is indeed a very low (almost negligible) startup cost, but you can expect to lose up to 99% of the material due to natural competition (algae, fungus gnats, other pest and disease).

I have found an interesting link to staghorn production from spores here:

I generally concur with the process and observations described in the link.

Please let me know if I have answered your concerns or are you in need of further information.




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Dan Carmi


I can answer all types of questions regarding ferns: their physiology, life cycle, taxonomy, culture (for both the professional and hobbyist), home and garden application and care, site suitability, and more. I can also answer questions in the fields of greenhouse production, foliage plants, and houseplant care, along with questions in the general field of ornamental horticulture. I may be able to identify fern and foliage plants by photo, but I am unlikely to be able to do it by description (though I will never turn down a challenge). I am not an expert in crop, field, and agronomic production. I am not an expert on annuals, perennials, tree & shrub crops.


I am a horticulturist with a formal education and twelve years experience in commercial fern and tropical foliage production. I also served as Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at Florida Southern College.

Florida's Nursery Growers and Landscape Association: current member and Action Chapter Board Member 2006-2008.

I have a BSc in Environmental Horticulture / Business from Florida Southern College, specializing in Greenhouse Management and Production.

Awards and Honors
FNGLA Action Chapter President's Award 2006-2007, numerous academic awards 2001-2005.

Past/Present Clients
Through my place of employment, I serve hundreds of commercial growers across the country and beyond.

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