Ultimate Guide to Mounting Staghorn Fern: Care & Growing Tips

Mounting a staghorn fern isn’t just about giving your plant a place to live; it’s about creating a living piece of art. These unique ferns, with their antler-like fronds, bring a touch of the wild into our homes, and mounting them showcases their beauty in a way that pots simply can’t. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie looking to green up your space, mounting staghorn ferns can be an exciting project.

Choosing the right spot for your staghorn fern and preparing the mount requires a bit of know-how, but don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. From selecting the perfect piece of wood to understanding the ideal growing conditions, I’ll walk you through the steps to ensure your staghorn fern thrives and becomes a stunning focal point in your home. Let’s dive into the world of staghorn ferns and discover how to mount them for the best effect.

Preparing for Mounting

When it comes to creating a gorgeous, living piece of art with staghorn ferns, preparation is key. I’ve found that the right start can make all the difference in ensuring the fern not only survives but thrives. Let’s dive into the essential steps you’ll need to take before you mount your staghorn fern.

Selecting the Right Materials

First off, choosing the right materials is crucial for the success of your mounting project. I’ve learned through trial and error that not just any board or moss will do. For the board, I usually go for a piece of untreated wood, roughly about an inch thick, to ensure it can support the weight of the fern once it’s fully grown. The size of the board will depend on the size of your fern, but always aim for a little extra space around the edges.

For the moss, sphagnum moss is my go-to. It’s fantastic for retaining moisture without staying too wet. Remember, your staghorn fern loves humidity but doesn’t want to be waterlogged. Before mounting, the moss needs to be soaked in water until it’s saturated, but make sure to wring it out so it’s moist, not dripping.

Preparing the Staghorn Fern for Mounting

Onto the fern itself. This part feels a bit like surgery to me but in a fun way. After removing the fern from its pot, I gently loosen the old potting medium from its roots. This not only helps in removing any potential pests hiding within but also facilitates better contact between the roots and their new mossy bed.

Next, it’s important to spread out the roots over the prepped moss bed on your board. The positioning here is vital; I ensure the shield (the front part of the fern that eventually turns brown) is facing upward. Once situated, I pack damp sphagnum moss around the fern, making sure its roots are snug and covered. This creates a happy little ecosystem for your fern to begin its new life mounted on the wall.

In doing so, I’ve found these steps critical not just for the aesthetic appeal but for the health and longevity of the staghorn fern. By selecting the right materials and preparing the fern with care, I’m setting the stage for a beautiful, thriving display.

Mounting Methods

When creating a living art piece with staghorn ferns, the method of mounting is crucial for both the aesthetic appeal and health of the plant. Below, I’ll delve into three popular methods: mounting on a wooden plaque, attaching to a tree, and using a large rock for support. Each method provides a unique way to display these magnificent plants, and the choice largely depends on your space and the look you’re aiming for.

Mounting on a Wooden Plaque

Mounting staghorn ferns on a wooden plaque is perhaps the most traditional and commonly seen method. I’ve found that untreated wood, like cedar or oak, makes the best choice due to its resistance to rot and decay. First, you’ll need to prepare a sphagnum moss bed on the plaque as a moisture-retaining base for the fern. Securing the moss and fern to the plaque can be done using a fishing line or stainless steel screws, which ensures the plant remains in place. I used thick twine to hang my mounted fern, which adds a decorative touch while being sturdy enough for support. This method allows you to hang your staghorn fern like a picture, making it an impressive focal point in any room.

Attaching to a Tree

For those looking for a more naturalistic setting for their staghorn fern, attaching it directly to a tree mimics its natural growing environment. This method is my personal favorite for outdoor gardens. You should select a tree that offers bright, indirect light and has rough bark for better attachment. Using monofilament or a soft tie, attach the fern’s base to the tree, ensuring it’s secure but not too tight. Over time, the fern will naturally latch onto the tree and continue to grow, blending seamlessly with its surroundings. This method requires minimal maintenance, though it’s essential to periodically check the ties and adjust them as the fern grows.

Using a Large Rock for Support

An alternative and equally natural method is using a large rock as a base for mounting. This approach is excellent for garden displays or as a unique indoor element. The key here is to ensure the rock is stable and won’t shift, damaging the fern. Similar to the wooden plaque method, you’ll use sphagnum moss to create a bed for the fern on the rock. Using a fishing line or an eco-friendly adhesive, secure the fern and moss in place. Over time, the fern will begin to attach itself to the rock, creating a stunning, natural art piece. This method combines the beauty of staghorn ferns with the organic, rugged appeal of rock, making it a unique conversation starter.

Each of these methods offers a different aesthetic and has its own set of considerations, especially regarding watering and light exposure. No matter which one you choose, the result is sure to be a beautiful and unique display of staghorn ferns that brings a piece of the natural world into your space.

Securing the Fern

When it comes to mounting your staghorn fern, securing it properly is paramount. This ensures not only the health and growth of your plant but also that your living art piece remains safely in place. Let’s dive into how to use some common household items to secure your fern effectively.

Techniques for Using Fishing Line or Twine

I’ve found that using a clear fishing line or natural twine not only holds the fern securely but also maintains the aesthetic appeal of your display. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:

  1. Wrap Gently: Start by wrapping the fishing line or twine around the base of your fern, making sure not to wrap it too tightly. I love how clearly the fishing line is less visible, giving the fern the appearance of floating against its backing. But twine can add a nice rustic touch if you’re going for that look.
  2. Secure at Intervals: Make knots at intervals to ensure that even if one section loosens, the fern remains supported. It’s like making small safety nets throughout your wrapping process.
  3. Check Coverage: Make sure the line or twine covers enough surface area on the back of the fern. This ensures even distribution of support so that the fern’s weight doesn’t pull on itself too much in one area.
  4. Adjust as Needed: Don’t hesitate to add more lines or twine if you notice any sagging or if the fern grows. It’s all about adapting to maintain balance and support.

Ensuring Stability and Security

Now that your fern is wrapped and looking good, ensuring it remains stable and secure over time is essential. Here are some tips for maintaining stability:

  • Check Mounting Surface: Always ensure the surface you’re mounting your fern on can support its weight, especially as it grows. If it’s a wall, finding a stud or using anchor screws might be necessary.
  • Regular Inspection: Make it a habit to inspect the mounting periodically. Look for any loose screws or parts of the twine or fishing line that may have weakened or broken. Catching these issues early can prevent accidents.
  • Consider Fern Growth: As staghorn ferns grow, their center of gravity might shift. Be prepared to adjust your mounting method to accommodate this growth, ensuring the fern remains balanced.
  • Moisture Management: When watering your fern, make sure any excess water can drain or evaporate. Pooled water can rot the roots or damage the mounting surface, compromising the plant’s security.

By following these steps, you can enjoy your mounted staghorn fern without worry. The key is regular observation and minor adjustments along the way. It’s fascinating to see how a little care goes a long way in maintaining these magnificent living sculptures.

Hanging the Mounted Fern

Options for Hanging Indoors and Outdoors

When I’ve finished mounting my staghorn fern, the next step that excites me the most is deciding where to hang it. Whether indoors or outdoors, the method of hanging can significantly influence the fern’s overall health and growth.

For those light, airy ferns that barely tip the scale, hanging them is as simple as placing a picture frame on a wall. I’ve found that a sturdy nail or screw does the trick splendidly. However, for the more grandiose specimens in my collection, which have grown to be quite hefty, I’ve learned the importance of selecting a robust hanging mechanism. Heavy-duty wall anchors or hooks specifically designed for heavier loads ensure that my larger staghorn ferns stay securely in place without any risk of falling.

Indoors, the ambiance plays a huge role in my fern’s wellbeing. Bright, indirect light and high humidity are key. Thus, I often opt for rooms like the bathroom or kitchen, which naturally emulate the humid environment in which staghorn ferns thrive. If humidity’s lacking, I’m not shy about setting up a humidifier nearby to give my fern that moisture boosts it craves.

Outdoors, things get a bit simpler since nature does most of the work. A spot on the patio or under a shaded tree where the fern can enjoy the bright, filtered light without the harshness of direct sunbeams is ideal. Here, the fern can also benefit from natural rainwater, which is a bonus.

Placement for Optimal Growth

Choosing the perfect spot for my staghorn fern is more than just about aesthetics; it’s about fostering an environment where it can flourish. Indoors, I’m always on the lookout for an area that strikes the perfect balance between brightness and indirect light. Too much shade and the fern starts to stretch awkwardly towards the light source, becoming leggy. Too much direct sunlight and the leaves can burn or bleach, which is a definite no-go.

Outdoors, the considerations are a bit different. Here, the natural environment plays a more significant role in the fern’s growth. I aim for locations that are shielded from the midday sun yet still receive plenty of ambient light. Morning light is particularly beneficial, offering brightness without the scorching intensity of the afternoon sun.

In both scenarios, understanding the natural growth pattern of staghorn ferns is crucial. They’re epiphytes, meaning in their natural habitat, they grow attached to other plants rather than in the soil. This vertical growing habit is something I try to mimic by placing them at eye level or higher, allowing their unique foliage to drape elegantly.

Post-Mounting Care Tips

After successfully mounting your staghorn fern, it’s pivotal to dive into the specifics of its care. This beautiful plant thrives with a bit of attention and understanding of its needs. So, I’ll break down the essentials of watering and misting, as well as the optimal light and temperature conditions to keep your staghorn fern looking its best.

Watering and Misting Requirements

Watering a mounted staghorn fern appropriately is crucial for its health and growth. Unlike traditional potted plants, staghorns require a bit of a different approach. Here’s how I manage mine:

  • Outdoor Ferns: If it’s outdoors, I’ve found that a gentle spray from the garden hose works wonders, especially during dry spells. The key here is to focus the spray on top of the mounting shelf to mimic natural rainfall.
  • Indoor Ferns: Indoors, I take mine to the sink or shower for a thorough weekly soak, ensuring the root ball is fully saturated. This helps prevent the fern from drying out and keeps it vibrant.

Remember, the frequency of watering will depend on your local climate and the season. I’ve noticed that my fern needs more attention during the warmer months and less so when it’s cooler.

Light and Temperature Conditions

Ensuring your staghorn fern receives the right amount of light and is kept in suitable temperature conditions is essential for its survival and prosperity. Here’s what I’ve found works best:

  • Light: Staghorn ferns love bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so I make sure to place mine where it receives filtered light. For indoor ferns, a spot near a window that gets plenty of natural light but no direct sun is ideal.
  • Temperature: These ferns thrive in warm, humid environments. Ideally, keep the temperature around 60 to 80°F (15 to 27°C). If you’re in a cooler climate, you might need to find a warmer spot during the winter months or consider bringing outdoor ferns inside.

Creating the right environment for your staghorn fern isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it. Pretty soon, you’ll see your fern flourish and grow, adding a unique touch to your garden or home interior.


Mounting a staghorn fern might seem like a daunting task at first. But armed with the right knowledge and a bit of patience, it’s not only doable but can also turn into an incredibly rewarding hobby. Remember, the key to a thriving staghorn fern lies in understanding its needs—humidity, nutrition, and a bit of TLC with pruning and repotting. So go ahead and give it a shot. Who knows? You might just find yourself falling in love with these unique plants. After all, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of seeing your staghorn fern flourish, knowing you’ve played a big part in its growth and health. Happy gardening!

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How do you mount a large staghorn fern on wood?

To mount a large staghorn fern on wood, select a sturdy piece that can support the plant’s weight. Securely attach the fern using fishing line, wire, or nylon stocking pieces, ensuring the roots have direct contact with the wood. Place sphagnum moss between the fern and the wood to retain moisture.

Do staghorn ferns need moss?

Yes, staghorn ferns benefit greatly from sphagnum moss when mounted on wood, as it provides an ideal moisture-retentive growing medium. For potted plants, a mix of orchid bark and cactus soil is most suitable.

Do staghorn ferns like banana peels?

Yes, staghorn ferns can benefit from banana peels, which provide them with potassium and phosphorus. However, it’s also important to supplement their diet with regular fertilizer to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients for optimal growth.

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