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Staghorn Ferns


The first time I mounted a Staghorn fern I watched and rewatched the You Tube video instructions. I hardly believed that this plant would actually survive what I was subjecting it to. With wood and fishing line, some moss and screws I accomplished a really beautiful piece. And I was surprised to find that it not only survived, but grew and thrived. I was sold. Mounting Staghorn ferns is still one of my favorite plant projects.


This type of fern is epiphytic, meaning they grow without soil and get their water and nutrients from the air around them. You can find them growing in the wild as close as Florida. In the nursery you'll find Staghorn ferns in pots with soil, and many times they're inexpensive. You can continue growing them in soil, but mounting them really lets them show their character, and you have to admit, a mounted Staghorn makes a great show piece in your house.


Staghorn ferns have fronds that truly are shaped like the antlers of a stag. Called the Fertile fronds, they have a fuzzy, soft covering that should not be removed. A second type of frond, called the Shield fronds, form close around the root ball of the plant and are round. As they mature they turn brown, but don't remove them. They serve to anchor the plant and protect it as well as help it hold on to water and nutrients.


Staghorns thrive in humid places. Our hot, humid Mississippi summers make perfect homes for Staghorn as long as they're kept in the shade. A covered porch is perfect. They won't, however, survive our winters. Keeping them indoors all year is my suggestion. Medium light, weekly watering and maybe spritzing with water now and then keeps them happy. Apply liquid houseplant fertilizer in the spring and summer for bonus plant parent points. I water once a week by taking them to the sink and running a good bit of water on the root ball. Allow to drip dry before hanging them back on the wall. You can also soak them in the sink or tub for a half hour or so once a week, but I find this really harms the wood they are mounted to.


Have I convinced you to try a Staghorn? Got a question? I'd love to answer it for you.... allison@fromthedustgardens.com.





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