When I think of staghorn ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum), I think of the ones I see around the island where my in-laws' live, off the coast of Florida. They are lovely and enormous there, literally stapled on to the trunks of trees with clumps of spanish moss around the root ball. Usually they are mounted onto a natural wood slab, or something similar, and hung on a wall. Look at this gorgeous wall installation at Flora Grubb in San Francisco-
They are one of my favorite plants. Because, I like to pick plants that are, you know, possibly challenging for me to grow and hard to find. Why not? Keeps life interesting. I recently discovered that our local plant nursery (Swansons, if you're in Seattle) carries Staghorns. I asked one of the staff members to walk me through how to mount it on the wall and how to keep it happy. One plant was $8.99, a small investment if it, in fact, lives (fingers crossed). If it thrives, there will definitely be more in our house.
- 1 Staghorn fern
- Something to mount it on... its popular to mount it on a slab of wood like Flora Grubb's version. I decided to use a wooden plaque that I had on hand from Hobby Lobby. I gave mine a coat of light gray spray paint, because I can't help myself.
- Some fake moss: spanish moss, green moss. Real moss would work if you have some.
- Fishing line or monofilament.
- Drill with a standard drill bit (Peter drilled the holes in the mounting board for me, I don't know what size of bit he used, but you'll need to pass the monofilament through each hole 3-4 times and that's it.
1. Give the fern a good watering and leave it to drain. The soil should be wet and hold together when you mount it, but not dripping.
2. Drill 4 holes in your mounting board. You want the holes to be roughly the size of your rootball or slightly smaller. Not bigger.
3. Remove the plant from its pot and pull apart the roots just a little to give them some growing room (not too much). Position the plant over the 4 holes you drilled on the mount board. Below, you can see the root ball of mine looks a little tall when I stand it on the board. I gently reshaped it just a little to be flatter.
4. Cut a long length of monofilament, 3 ft or so, and loop it thru 2 of the holes, tying a knot on the back of the mount to secure. Thread the end of the monofilament through the holes and wrap over the rootball/dirt/base of the fern to hold it in place. You may find an extra set of hands helps a lot here.
5. Once you've wrapped the root ball and secured it, using the same length of monofilament, start wrapping some of the moss around all sides of the root ball, both vertically and horizontally. Be generous with the moss, you can trim it down later.
6. Knot the monofilament on the back of the mounting board and trim excess.
7. Mount to your wall with Command Strips. I love love love these strips for hanging all kinds of things (the 2 parts mesh together like super secure velcro). Using these for mounting this allows you to take it down, water it, and put it back up easily.
And that's it!
Even though the care instructions say to keep the soil evenly wet at all times, the guy at the nursery said its wise to allow a slight dry out between waterings, to avoid overwatering. Hang on a wall in a room that gets bright, indirect sunlight. Ours is hanging on a wall in our family room, which is on the south side of our house, and so far it seems to be happy there. I will keep you posted.
Just as a side note, one day those shelves will come down. Its on my list.
But its a large list.