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Recently my staghorn has turned black along one side of the plant eminating from the bottom of the plant,i dont belive it is fungal as it does not smell and is not spngey, but concerned that half the plant may be dying? It previously fell off a mounting board however did not show any immediate signs of the black colouring. thanks

Chester hi;

The black spot in the bottom of the plant is most likely a bacterial rot.  This will occur in areas where water gets trapped and stays in contact with the plant tissue.

For the most part, indeed the infected parts will die but the other parts of the plant (those with adequate air flow,) will not be affected.

It may also be that the previous fall had caused some roots to come detached and that the affected parts are now dying off.

I would wait and see.  In most cases, the die back would not spread and the plant would be just fine.  You may want to check your water management and keep the plant on the dry side, for now.

If the spot seems to spread beyond the bottom area, you may wish to detach a portion of the plant (away from the spot) and remount it, just to assure you can save it for the future.



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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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