Staghorn ferns can be a unique and interesting addition to any indoor plant garden. They’ve become quite popular in recent years and you commonly see them mounted or becoming a replacement for an animal mount.
For long-term care of a healthy Staghorn Fern mount there are a few things worth noting that you don’t normally see in the usual Pinterest or How-To search. In this post we’ll go over basic care of your Staghorn and how to mount it.
Staghorn ferns or Platycerium bifurcatum, used to be quite rare until an Australian version that was easy to propagate came on the scene and now they are slowly growing in popularity among houseplants. These particular ferns are epiphytes, similar to orchids or air plants. They thrive when mounted on a board or hanging from a basket, thus the reason you commonly see them on a board.
There are three parts to this plant: the root ball, the antler fronds, and the shield fronds. The antler fronds are the long green ‘leafs’ you see coming off the plant. The shield fronds are the sort of hard, brown part that is usually at the base of the plant, covering the root ball. This is a natural part of the plant and should not be removed. It is natural for the antler fronds to eventually turn in to shield fronds.
Light: Bright, indirect or diffused light. They can not be in direct sun.
Temperature: Anywhere from 50°-100° F
Fertilizer: Low, if any. A 1-1-1 ratio perhaps once a month during the growing season.
Water: These ferns like a humid environment so either lite misting or hanging in a humid environment would do them good. Otherwise, try watering once a week in hot, dry months and once every 3-4 weeks during the winter. Watering is probably the main problem people have with these ferns, they don’t like to be over or under watered. These ferns also absorb water through their fronds, thus the reason for misting. To water a mounted board, take it down and soak the whole plant in the sink or a bucket for about 10-20 minutes.
How to Mount
You will need:
- A board of hard, preferably treated, wood. Here I’m using a cedar board.
- Sphagnum moss or in this case I’m using a coconut coir basket liner
- Some sort of twine or wire
- Hanging mechanism for the board
- Staghorn Fern
- As you will see in the photos below, the first time I did this I used a very pretty board of wood I picked up from my local craft shop… The wood was pine and it cracked the first time I went to water the fern. It also grew mold on the back. This is something that Pinterest won’t tell you, pick a hard wood that is preferably treated.
- Make sure to hang the fern in a place where you can easily access it. It would be nice if you could give it a daily misting, but at the very least you will need to be able to take it down and water it about once a week.
- Place the nails in a horseshoe shape the approximate size of your fern on the board.
- Lay a layer of the moss or coir over the area that your plant will sit on.
- Carefully take your plant out of the pot and shake the loose dirt away. Lay the plant on its side on the board with the ferns pointing up towards the top of the board.
- Place another layer of moss or coir over and around the soil/root ball part of the plant, making sure it reaches around the sides and bottom.
- Take your wire and twist it around the first nail securing the wire. Then criss-cross across your plant winding around each nail and making sure to secure the bundle to the board.
- Dust off the board and give everything a good watering, including the moss/coir layers. Below you can see I hung it over the sink to drip the extra off after watering.
- Secure mount to the board and hang in your favorite place!
My finished fern in its new home!
What happens when you use a pine board:
Enjoy your fern!