Staghorn Spore Propagation

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by garcam123, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. garcam123

    garcam123 Member

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    Tampa, Florida, USA
    Hi all:
    Noob here for Staghorns. I took a flat plastic container and boiled some water and placed a couple of old bricks and set them in the water. Then I scraped some spores off of a cutting I had and spread them over the bricks and placed the top on and placed them in a shaded warm area. I left them alone for a couple of months and went to look at them a week or so ago. Viola! there was GREEN on the spores! It is still very small and I am watching it closely. I don't know what to do or when to try to transplant them. Can someone tell me what I should do? I'd hate to lose them by doing something too soon or something like that!

    Thanks,
    GMC
     
  2. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    When you sart noticing minute, flat, dark green leafy things appearing on the brick surface, these are the gametophytes, the gamete-producing stage (1st stage) of the fern life cycle. Start fertilizing the plants at this point, by misting lightly every week or two with a very dilute (1/4 strength) balanced, water soluble fertilizer. By this time it is almost certain that your brick will have become contaminated with algae. This is not really a problem, since if all goes well the ferns should have a decent head start. If the algae starts to get out of control, cut back on the fertilizer, or try flushing away some of the nutrients by (very gently!) top-watering with distilled water. After the gametophytes reach maturity (this takes at least another four months), they will fertilize each other, and light-green leaves will start to grow out from under them. The light-green leaves are the juvenile sporophytes. Since some of the sporophytes are male and and some are female, fertilization must take place. Fertilization requires sperm cells to swim through a film of water to reach the eggs, so try misting the gametophytes if you are having trouble getting sporophytes to grow. After the young sporlings have produced a few leaves, carefully pick them out and transplant them to individual pots, a pair of tweezers is almost a necessity. Acclimate them very gradually to lower humidity, and, if possible, get them into a nice, bright, tropical greenhouse. Continue to fertilize them regularly, and within a year or two you should have more lovely young staghorn ferns than you'll know what to do with. Your original pots of gametophytes will continue to survive for quite a while. They will keep generating new plants for many years, in fact, if you remember to remove the young sporophytes from time to time (if you leave the sporelings in place, they'll eventually smother the gametophytes with their leaves). Kept in an enclosed container, and given minimal fertilizer, the gametophytes will live and grow very slowly for an indefinite period, providing a steady supply of new sporelings. You will be able to supply most of Florida with Staghorn Ferns. Good luck. - Millet
     
  3. garcam123

    garcam123 Member

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    Hello all!

    Well I started another food storage container with boiled local, Florida, sand soil and manure compost and let it sit in the same area as my mounted ferns.
    A couple of weeks ago, I finally opened it and looked inside.
    The surface is covered with a green something. I've looked at it under a magnifying glass, but can't tell anything about what it may be.
    I've sprayed a little fertilizer and covered it up again.

    I suppose I'll just keep it covered and hope for some change that will indicate staghorns.
    I thought I'd mention that the green is a light green.

    I hope they will become staghorns!
     

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