Sustainable Sundays: DIY Staghorn Fern Plaque

It's Sunday, the perfect day for a DIY project, right? (it's okay if you want to chill instead) We thought mounting a stagforn fern was a fun twist on mounting the horns or head of an actual animal. Yikes! Allow us to show you why the staghorn fern is perfect for just that. In the wild, staghorn ferns most commonly grow on and around other trees.The fern is native to tropical areas of West Africa, Australia, South America and Asia and thus perfect as a house plant. But if you live in a warmer more humid climate, keeping your fern outside might also be a great idea!

You can grow a staghorn fern for some time in a pot but these plants quickly overgrow the boundaries of a pot so it is best to mount the plant no longer than a year of having the plant. Like Orchids, staghorn ferns are epyphitic, meaning they grow on other plants, trees or objects. The reason they are typically mounted and wall hanging is that it more closely resembles their natural growing condition and gives them the best opportunity to thrive. So if you're ready for an easy challenge, here's what you'll need to give your staghorn a new and happy home:

  • Potted Staghorn Fern (duh)
  • Wood: driftwood, refurbished, you get the idea
  • Fishing Line
  • Several small nails
  • Hammer
  • Spanish moss and or peat moss

1. First things first, you will need something to mount your staghorn on a piece of wood that you like since this will be a more permanent fixture of your home. We’ve seen the plant is mounted onto all kinds of wood but I used a finished slab of walnut from a salvaged midcentury cabinet of shelves. The wooden piece is measured to be about 8″x12″ long, essentially creating a square for the staghorn to call home for many years.

2. Next, nail a couple nails into both the back and front. One side will be to hang the plaque of wood and other side with be the front where you tie your fishing wire around. Start with a secure knot on one nail.

3. Meanwhile, be sure that you are soaking your spanish moss. This is important for the roots of your fern so that when it is mounted, it will have a water source. The moss will in time collect water for the roots to absorb.

4. With all the pieces cut you can now lay it face down and screw through the back to connect everything together. This is not the most glamorous photo but helps illustrate how everything works.

5. Now that your construction is complete you can move on to getting the fern onto the mount. (Sorry about the photos from here on out. My hands were dirty and it was hard to operate the camera and focus with one hand.) Take your fern out of its pot and remove any loose dirt from your potted plant making sure not to tear off any roots or any of its frods.

6. Next, take your soaked moss and create a mound surrounding your nails. This is where you will place the fern and its roots. With your mount laying flat on a table or floor, create a small bed of peat moss on top of it, just a little larger than the size of your root ball.

7. Set your fern on top of the bed of peat moss and pack a little more peat moss around it. This helps to keep the roots from drying out.

8. Cover all the plant with your moss (though I didn't, you can add sheet moss for more decoration). The idea is that the moss holds everything in place once you secure it with monofilament.

9. Secure a long piece of monofilament to one of your screws on the back and then wrap up and over the root ball and moss, making sure not to secure any leaves. Wrap and wrap until you’re sure the plant is secure on the mount.

10. Once you've secured it onto the plaque of wood properly, tie the ends and generously mist the entire plant and moss. Attach your wood plaque to the wall or any place in your home where it gets bright indirect light. Voila, you have mounted a staghorn fern. Now that the plant is mounted, traditional methods of watering will be difficult. We recommend misting water once or every other day until your plant is well established. They enjoy a light feeding once a month and love!

...There are so many design possibilities, be sure to send us pictures or comments from your projects. Oh, and have a great weekend!