The staghorn fern is an unusual and attractive epiphyte, or air plant, that thrives in the tropics. This means they don’t need soil to grow, so to showcase them beautifully, mounting staghorn ferns to any of a variety of materials or surfaces is a great choice.
Care for Staghorn Ferns
Before mounting staghorn ferns in your home or yard, make sure you understand the needs of this unique air plant. These are tropical plants, so if grown outdoors, you need to be in a warm, subtropical to tropical climate. They grow large, so only mount in an area that has at least 3 feet (1 m.) for your fern to expand.
Your fern will need to be watered regularly but should not be allowed to get soggy where it is mounted to a surface. It will grow best in partial shade, and a place with indirect light is ideal. With a good mount, the right sunlight, and regular watering, staghorn ferns are pretty hands-off.
What Can You Mount a Staghorn Fern To?
There are various materials that you can use as a staghorn fern mount: a tree outside, a piece of wood, a wire basket, or fern fiber on the side of a tree. Even the side of a rock or the side of your house or garage will do for mounting your fern.
Regardless of the surface or material you choose, you will need to secure it. This means some staghorn fern mounting materials are easier than others. For instance, it is easier to secure a fern to a wire basket than the side of a large rock, but both are doable.
How to Mount a Staghorn Fern
Along with your mounting surface you will need a growing medium, like sphagnum moss or anything else that drains well, and something to secure the fern to the mount. This could be metal wire (but not copper) or plastic ties. Position the base of the fern on the growing material and use the ties or wire to secure it to the surface mount.
An easy example of how to mount a staghorn fern is to use a wire basket and the side of a tree. Secure the basket to the tree, with nails, for instance. Fill the bowl of the basket with the growing material. Position the fern inside this and secure it to the wire basket with ties. The fern will grow quickly and cover up the wire of the basket, also emerging from its sides.
A staghorn fern mount is really only limited by your creativity and ability to secure the fern in place. As long as you can secure it well and it gets the right conditions of water, heat, and light, your fern will grow large.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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