I have some creative ideas for displaying mounted Staghorn ferns using repurposed materials and no nails!
This tutorial was presented on the Home & Family show on the Hallmark channel where I appear as the garden lifestyle and design expert.
Fans of home and garden TV will love this unique talk show!
ABOUT STAGHORN FERNS (Platycerium bifurcatum)
Staghorn ferns grow into a huge plant under ideal conditions which are warm, temperate and humid conditions.
- The Staghorn fern is an exotic epiphyte plant that grows directly on trees and stone and draws nutrients from falling leaves that are caught by the ferns “antlers.”
- Native to Australia and tropical, South East Asia, the Staghorn fern has two distinct leaf forms with its own function.
- The smaller leaves cover the roots and help take up water and nutrients and are sterile, (they don’t bear spores).
- The larger fronds resemble a stag’s horn and bear spores on its underside which help propagate the plant.
- The large fronds can grow up to 3 feet long, depending on variety.
SHIRLEY’S STAGHORN FERN MOUNTED PLANTS
Browse some of my designs and if you are interested in replicating them, read the instructions below on “Preparing Your Staghorn Fern for Mounting.”
Staghorn Fern Mounted to Acacia Wood Cutting Board
Staghorn fern mounted to an acacia wood cutting board with burlap
After preparing the Staghorn fern for mounting, I wrapped it in burlap and hung it from the cutting board handle.
This is a unique and affordable way to display your Staghorn fern.
HomeGoods offered this acacia wood cutting board for approximately 10 dollars.
In a few years, the Staghorn fern will outgrow the cutting board and become very heavy.
At that point, the basal fronds will attach themselves to the board and not rely on the burlap for support!
Staghorn Fern Mounted to A Driftwood Photo Frame
Small Staghorn fern mounted to a driftwood photo frame.
My head started spinning with ideas when I came across this rustic driftwood photo frame from HomeGoods.
The opening for the photo measures 5″ x 4″-inches, perfect for my small Staghorn fern plant.
The back of the frame is open so it will be easy to water it by taking the frame down and dipping the back of the plant into a bucket of water!
As the plant grows it will basically “swallow” the frame, enveloping it completly.
I suggest that as it outgrows the space, move it and replace it with another small Staghorn fern.
Staghorn Fern Mounted to a Black Metal Fruit Bowl
Staghorn fern mounted to a black metal fruit bowl.
A black metal fruit bowl from HomeGoods, (again!) is repurposed as a planter!
I was looking for a contemporary style product to reinterpret as a planter- what do you think?
Mounting the fern to the open grid was easy to do with metal wire and will be easy to take down for a good soak of water!
If I allow the plant to grow in the metal planter indefinitely, two things may happen:
- The metal may rust after a few years
- The plant will swallow the metal basket
I can’t think that far in advance, so I’m not sure what I’ll do!
Staghorn Fern Planted in Large Driftwood Stump
Staghorn fern planted in crevice of large driftwood stump.
There’s a special story behind the stump of driftwood that I used as a “living sculpture planter” for the Staghorn fern.
A homeless man who I befriended entrusted the beautiful driftwood stump to me to be it’s “guardian” as he had no place to keep it.
This man found the stump when he was out and about with his daughters when he still had a home and they were very young.
The memory of him being with his girls is connected to this momento so it’s a precious possession for him.
He is estranged from his daughters now, making this unassuming stump even more important.
The Staghorn fern is planted in a large crevice along the top.
Now that I’ve served up some inspiration of repurposed Staghorn fern mounts, are you ready to make some of your own?
PREPARING STAGHORN FERN FOR MOUNTING
- Small Staghorn fern
- old pantyhose
- sphagnum moss
- fishing wire (25-50lb capacity)
Remove any soil surrounding the roots of a small Staghorn fern and cover with wet sphagnum moss.
Place inside a piece of pantyhose. Secure with wire.
Cover the exposed pantyhose with decorative sheet moss or coconut fiber, WRAP with wire.
You are now ready to attach the prepared Staghorn fern to your selected mounting material!
WATERING AND MAINTAINING INDOOR STAGHORN FERN
- Staghorn ferns thrive outdoors in humid climates (50-90 degrees) or indoors in high humidity rooms such as a bathroom or greenhouse.
- Indoors, watering should be light but often, approximately every other day in the summer and twice a week during the winter as moss dries up.
- Apply water to the root area which is blanketed in sphagnum moss when it feels dry.
- During spring through summer, fertilize your Staghorn with a balanced, (1:1:1 ratio) half diluted plant food added to the water once per month.
- Mist-spray your Staghorn regularly to maintain high humidity.
LOCATION NEEDS FOR INDOOR STAGHORN FERN
Bright light but not direct sunlight or it will scorch your plant.
OUTDOOR LOCATION FOR STAGHORN FERN
If you live in a tropical and humid area, you can grow Staghorn ferns outdoors!
Ideal temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees.
Older, established plants may fare well in slightly colder and warmer temperatures, but this is the comfort zone.
Place your Staghorn in light to partial shade and bring indoors to humid room when temperatures dip below 55 degrees.
STAGHORN FERN FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Why should Staghorn ferns be hung?
In nature, Staghorns are epiphytes and grow attached to tree trunks and stone and make ideal vertical plants.
The beauty of the shape of the Staghorn fronds are more visible when the plant is hung on its side.
How do you water an indoor Staghorn fern? How often?
Indoor Staghorns are dependent on you for their humidity needs and should be watered when the moss area is dry to the touch and misted regularly.
During the summer, this can be as often as every day or every couple of days, depending on how hot and dry you keep your house.
In wintertimes, you may only need to water once per week.
Apply water directly to the moss root area.
You may need to take down your wall mount and dip the roots in a bucket of water, so plan for this when creating your display mount.
Don’t drench the roots with water, water lightly as Staghorn roots and basal fronds may rot.
The rule of thumb is frequent, light watering over drenching your plant each time you water it.
How big do Staghorn ferns get?
Outdoors, under ideal temperatures and high humidity, Staghorns and their pups, (plantlets) can span 6 feet wide or more!
Staghorns can become very heavy, reaching hundreds of pounds.
What other plants can you combine with Staghorns for a pretty display?
Combine your small indoor Staghorn fern display with other epiphyte plants such as bromeliads, orchids and tsillandsias for a pretty combination.
Be aware that with time, the secondary plants will be overtaken by the larger Staghorn fern.
Succulents also combine well with Staghorns as their roots can also be wrapped in moss and watered as needed.
How long do Staghorn ferns live?
Well maintained Staghorns can be passed down from generation to generation as “legacy plants” and live hundreds of years through their progeny.
Should the small fronds be removed as they turn brown and old?
Don’t remove the small, infertile fronds that attach themselves to surfaces when they turn brown.
Your Staghorn will grow many layers of these round fronds which help capture nutrients from air and water for your plant.
The natural breakdown of these fronds provide hummus for the plant.
How do you propagate a Staghorn fern?
Staghorn ferns have spores that can be used for propagation but it’s an involved process that takes patience and experience.
An easier way to cultivate more plants is by dividing small plantlets that emerge at the base of the plant.
Do you have any questions about mounting Staghorn ferns?
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