This epiphytic fern can be found naturally growing on the trunks and branches of trees in Java/ New Guinea and South Australia. It has naturalised in many other parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world via introduction. They form two types of fronds. Closest to the tree are the rounded to hart shaped, basal, sterile fronds. Turning brown and papery with age these create a bit of a pocket between the fronds and host trees trunk in which dead foliage collects and acts like a miniature compost heap. The collected dead foliage breaks down providing the fern with all it's nutrients.
The other type of fronds are the fertile staghorn like fronds. Grey green in colour they can reach up to 100cm in length and are deeply lobed looking like the antlers of a stag. These grow from the basal fronds. They make amazing houseplants always grabbing peoples attention and although they can be grown in a pot they tend to get overwatered causing rot and eventually death.
The best way to grow them is to mount them on a piece of bark or untreated wood. Place a good layer of sphagnum moss onto the mounting area and then place the basal frond on top of that. Using monofilament fishing line tie the fern into place firmly but not too tightly. Eventually it will attach to the mounting and the line can be removed. Water by mist spraying regularly. If the tips start to brown then the atmosphere is too dry so increase frequency of misting. Sounds like a chore but you will fall so in love with your fern it will almost become a pet.
Not tried this one outside during the winter yet (although it is tucked between tree branches for the summer before coming back indoors for the colder months) as we wanted to grow it on to a reasonable size but 2018 will be the year we experiment. The cork bark it is mounted on is going to be attached to a Northwest house wall, surrounded either side by hardy evergreens, just above a heating vent in the hope that it will provide sufficient protection during cold spells. We have heard it is cold tolerant down to -3c, possibly -5c but only time will tell. If this works we will try mounting directly to evergreen trees next.
Update on hardiness. We have now had two plants successfully survive outside during the winters of 2018/2019 and 2019/ 2020 in our coastal zone 9 garden and during the 2019/ 2020 winter the one attached to the house wall remained evergreen. The other specimen attached to a tree branched was knocked back but recovered to a reasonable size by early June 2020. Both of those winters were unusually mild though.
Sent as a young plant in a 9cm pot. Being an epiphyte it does not have an extensive root system so do not expect a pot full or roots.
By D. Gordon E. Robertson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8007035 By Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=447071 By Raffi Kojian - http://Gardenology.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12733086 By Okkisafire - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50279330