We bought this staghorn at Lowe’s awhile ago from the equivalent of a reject bin. It’s always looked kinda sad.

Recently though it’s gotten mold or bugs on it. I don’t know what happened. It lost about 2 fronds so far. I removed it from the house because I didn’t want it to contaminate any of my other plants. But I don’t want it to die!

Any tips on how to save this or why it might be happening?


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  • This is a scale infection (infestation).
    – benn
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


Looks like a scale problem, so removing the plant outdoors while you try to deal with it was a good idea. You need to clean the leaves with a soapy (insecticidal soap) cloth to remove as many scales as possible - the brown hard lumps need to come off, along with any white fluffy bits (the crawlers). Then apply or spray an insecticidal soap solution, or use neem oil spray. Image and some info here https://www.ortho.com/en-us/problems-and-solutions/scale-insects-ferns, more detailed info here https://homeguides.sfgate.com/scale-insects-staghorn-ferns-28722.html

  • 1
    I would say an exceptionally heavy scale problem. What I have done with my staghorn is scrape off each one with a fingernail. I was not sure about oil and did not want to wait on an insecticide. Although I did not have such a concentration of scale , my plant is more than 10 X larger , so it took a few days to go over every frond.You will need to check for scale again in a few weeks. Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 15:00

Definitely heavy scale problem. I would remove as many as possible with finger nail. Also have used a tooth pick to flick the off. Afterwards I've sprayed with horticultural oil to kill what you miss. a light spraying will work and check often. the plant shouldn't be in direct sun, so you shouldn't have a problem using the oil.

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