DIY - Mounted Staghorn Fern


Staghorn Ferns are a unique-looking plant very popular with interior decorators and houseplant enthusiasts. The fern’s fronds resemble a deer or moose’s antlers – making it an eye-catching, living work of art.

Indoor Project

Staghorn ferns are epiphytes, like orchids, bromeliads and tillandsia (air plants). This means in their natural habitat they attach themselves to trees and don’t need soil to live. So, mounting a staghorn and displaying it on your wall is actually preferable to growing it in soil in a pot! 

Steps

Step 1: Choose your board. Cedar or pressure treated wood is best because it’s resistant to mold and pests. For a young staghorn that will need to be transplanted as it grows, it’s fine to use a decorative wooden plaque from a craft store (like in our video). For our 4 inch fern, a 7x9 inch or 8x10 inch plaque will do.

Step 2: Add a picture-hanging bracket to the back of your plaque so you can hang it on the wall when you’re done. You could also use two screws and some picture hanging wire.

Step 3: Find the center of your plaque. Use your fern’s plastic nursery pot to gauge the size of the root ball. Add about one inch to that pot’s circumference to determine where to place your screws.

Step 4: Add 5 or 6 screws in a circle around where your fern will sit on the plaque. Leave the screws about 1/4 inch above the surface. Be sure to choose screws with a wide head (so the fishing line doesn’t slip off – see step 8).  

Step 5: Cut a piece of sheet moss and place it where your fern will sit. This will hold extra moisture as you water your fern to ensure the plant stays hydrated and provide some organic material to draw nutrients from.

Step 6: Remove the fern from its nursery pot & flatten out the bottom of the root ball. Then place the fern on top of the piece of moss on your plaque.

Step 7: Cover the exposed root ball with strips of sheet moss. Where the moss overlaps the screws, poke the screw heads through the moss. 

Step 8: Tie some fishing line (15 or 30lb test is plenty) to one of the screws. Then, zig-zag the fishing line over the moss-covered root ball (but UNDER all the fronds), wrapping around the other screw heads as you go. Pull tautly to ensure the plant and moss are securely in place. When you’re sure it’s secure, tie off the fishing line & cut the excess.

Step 9: If the screw heads are still visible, add a drop of glue and cover them with a small scrap of moss. Now, hang & enjoy!

Care Tips

Staghorns do well with bright, indirect light. They will seek out light, so position your fern across from a light source (not next to it) so fronds grows out from the plaque, not sideways towards the light. Mounted staghorns do need frequent watering, but let the moss dry out between waterings. They’ll need more frequent watering in hot summer months and less watering in winter. To water them, take the mount off the wall and water the root ball in your sink, OR soak the plaque in the sink or tub. Make sure the plaque is fully dry before re-hanging so you don’t damage your drywall. Staghorns also like humidity, so if your home is especially dry, give them a regular spritz or even take them in the bathroom when you shower every once in a while. Fertilize them about once a month with a balanced liquid houseplant food diluted in water.

Shopping List

1 - Staghorn Fern 4 Inch

1 - Roll of Sheet Moss

1 - Wooden Plaque or Broad, 7x9" or 8x10"

5-6 - Screws with wide heads (choose length depending on thickness of your board)

1 - Sawtooth bracket or other hanging apparatus

1 - Roll of Fishing Line (about 3 feet is all you need)

Other Tools Needed:

  • Pen or Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Screw Gun or Screwdriver
  • Hammer