Staghorn ferns are exotic and beautiful additions to any plant collection. You can use chemical fertilizers on them in moderation--you can also supplement their need for potassium by feeding them banana peels. Bananas are a high-potassium food that displaces sodium that can be harmful to staghorns. Staghorns are sensitive to salts and even using softened water will cause them to brown off and retard their growth. Here are three simple ways to supplement staghorns with banana.
Things You'll Need
- Banana peels
- Knife or food processor
- Paper bag
- Disposable container
- Distilled water
Make pieces of dried peel. Cut a fresh banana peel with a knife into small pieces or put large pieces into a food processor and hit it a couple of times to make the pieces smaller. Increasing the surface area by making the banana peel into smaller pieces provides more potassium for your staghorn. Dry the banana peel pieces. You want to dry out the banana peel before you feed it to the staghorn to prevent it rotting or inviting pests like fruit flies. You can dry the banana peel skin-down on a paper bag or scatter the macerated pieces over a plastic film or cutting board to dry the pieces. Try to prevent the banana peel from leaching into the paper bag--you'll lose the potassium that the plant needs.
Sprinkle the dried pieces on top of the moss so the potassium leaches out whenever the plant is watered. You can also mix the pieces into the moss if you are replanting or starting a staghorn fern.
Make banana water. Toss a fresh peel into a container and add distilled water. Let the peel soak for a day or two and use the water (not the peel) to water the staghorn. This is a quicker alternative to drying out the banana peel.
Plant a banana peel with your staghorn. Place a banana peel between the plant and the board. If you are transplanting or starting a staghorn fern on a board, place a whole banana peel between the plant and the board. This shields the peel from pests and provides the potassium when you water the plant.
Tips & Warnings
- Staghorns come in many different varieties. Some varieties have dormancy periods and should not be fertilized during that period. Check your species and cut back on watering during this period, too. All staghorns have reduced need for water during the winter.