Elkhorn ferns and staghorn ferns are two of the most popular types of ferns. They are both beautiful, air-purifying plants that make a great addition to any home. But what is the difference between elkhorn fern vs. staghorn fern? This blog post will compare and contrast these two types of ferns, so you can decide which one is right for you. Stay tuned to learn more!

What is elkhorn fern?

Elkhorn ferns are a type of fern distinguished by the large, elk-like horns on the backs of their fronds. They are found throughout most of the United States and Canada and prefer moist, shady areas. Elkhorn ferns are easy to identify and can be used as a groundcover or in shaded gardens.

What is staghorn fern?

A staghorn fern is an epiphytic fern with two large antler-like fronds. They are in tropical and subtropical areas and prefer moist, shady locations. Staghorn ferns are easy to grow and can be propagated by division or rooting the fronds’ tips.

The Differences Between Elkhorn Fern Vs. Staghorn Fern

When it comes to ferns, there are two that stand out above the rest: elkhorn fern and staghorn fern. Though they may look similar, these two ferns are quite different. Here’s a look at the key differences between elkhorn fern vs. staghorn fern:

1. Appearance: The elkhorn fern is a smaller fern that typically has a more delicate appearance than the staghorn fern. The elkhorn fern grows in clusters, while the staghorn fern grows solitary. Additionally, the elkhorn fern’s fronds are narrower and shorter than the staghorn fern.

2. Growth Habit: The elkhorn fern typically grows in clusters, while the staghorn fern grows solitary. Additionally, the elkhorn fern’s fronds are narrower and shorter than the staghorn fern.

3. Care Requirements: Care requirements for these two types of Ferns are also different. While both need regular water and sunlight, care for an elkhorn Fern can be done by simply clipping it back occasionally, while care for a staghorn Fern requires pruning and careful watering.

4. Flower Color: The flower color of these two types of Ferns is also different. The flower color of the elkhorn fern is typically white or light green, while the flower color of the staghorn fern is typically dark green or blue-green.

5. Planting Zones: These two types of Ferns are native to different zones. The elkhorn fern is typically found in the eastern United States, Canada, and parts of Europe, while the staghorn fern is typically found in the western United States and Asia.

6. Disease Resistance: Both types of Ferns are resistant to some common diseases, making them an ideal choice for those looking for a healthy plant.

Which Plant do You Choose?

The elkhorn fern is a beautiful, delicate plant that can grow up to 12 feet tall. It has a cylindrical stem with fronds that can be up to six feet long and three inches wide. The staghorn fern is a more robust plant, with a taller stem and larger fronds. It can grow up to 18 feet tall and have up to two feet wide fronds.

If you want a plant that is both beautiful and resistant to disease, you will choose an elkhorn fern. You will choose a staghorn fern if you want a taller plant with larger fronds.

FAQ About To Differences Between Elkhorn Fern Vs. Staghorn Fern

Are elkhorn and staghorn ferns the same?

The terms elkhorn and staghorn ferns are often used interchangeably, but they are two different species of fern. Elkhorn ferns get their name from their large, antler-like fronds, while staghorn ferns have smaller, more delicate fronds that look like stag antlers.

Are there different types of staghorn?

There are different types of staghorn, and the specific one that grows on a stag’s head is called antler. Antlers are grown by male deer and Elk and are used for fighting other males during the mating season. The main antler is the palmate variety, which has a flattened look with several branches coming out from a central point. Other types of antlers include the simple and rack varieties.

How often should I water my elkhorn fern?

It is best to water your elkhorn fern when the soil feels dry to the touch. You can test this by sticking your finger in the soil a few inches down. If the top few inches of soil are dry, it is time to water your plant. However, be sure not to overwater your elkhorn fern, as this can cause root rot.

Are staghorn ferns rare?

Rareness depends on where and how many staghorn ferns are in the wild. Some experts think staghorn ferns are common, while others say they’re rare.

How do you remove Elkhorn puppies?

The first step in removing Elkhorn puppies is to identify them. Their characteristic long, elk-like antlers can identify them. Remove them from their mother once they’ve been identified. This is typically done by severing the umbilical cord and pulling the puppy out by its hind legs. It is important to note that the process of removing Elkhorn puppies can be dangerous, as the mother may become agitated and attack.


In conclusion, there are several differences between elkhorn ferns and staghorn ferns. While both plants are beautiful, they have different light, water, and soil needs. It is important to research which plant will work best for your circumstances before purchasing one.