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How to Mount a Staghorn Fern?

Once you get obsessed with Staghorn Fern, there’s no turning back! So resilient, low-maintenance, and easy to mount, a dream come true for every green parent out there!

However, it’s also crucial for you to know how to mount your Staghorn Fern properly. Make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes I have.

Treat your beloved plant-like royalty by mounting them gently and appropriately.

Using sharp objects like knives to mount almost cost me my green buddy, but you don’t have to face the same fate!

The general rule for mounting a Staghorn Fern is to dampen the underside of the sheet moss with water, wrap it until the rootball is fully covered, and tie a fishing line around the nails to stretch it across the nail on the opposite side.

Listen to this article here:

Staghorn Fern
Staghorn Fern (Source: Amazon)

It may sound challenging at first, but it is straightforward to do so.

Continue reading to learn how to mount your Staghorn Fern properly and what you can do to keep them healthy.

Do Staghorn Ferns Need to be Mounted?

Commonly known as an “Elkhorn Fern,” Stags are an exquisite piece of art. But, noticeably different from other plants and even other ferns, Staghorn is not your average fern.

They are categorized as epiphytes-plants that grow while hanging. So, it is necessary to mount them as they thrive in their replicated habitat.

While you may find young ferns sold in the pots, their growth is only limited by your creativity.

So, to let Staghorn thrive to its mighty glory without any limitation, we must mount them.

Should You Divide Staghorn Fern before Mounting?

One of the most asked questions about mounting the Staghorn Fern is whether to divide the plant or not?

Like air plants, a stag is a tropical species that are easier to grow because it has different growth points and consists of rhizomes.

So, you might want to divide as it is easy to determine where to mount because of longer fronds.

But, considering the roots are dense and mighty in numbers, you can use scissors to divide them gently but don’t use knives as they can destroy the rhizomes.

Mounting a Staghorn Fern Plant

It’s no surprise that mounted Staghorn Ferns have become a famous decorator. While learning how to mount a Staghorn Fern may seem challenging, but it’s easy to do so.

Outside their natural habitat, they can grow in logs and even in pots but learning to mount your Staghorn is less of choice and more of a necessity to provide suitable conditions for its growth.

Recreating an ideal home for them in your space isn’t as hard as you might perceive.

Materials Required

There are a considerable amount of materials required for mounting the stag. Out of them, readily available materials are listed below.

  1. A mature stag for mounting.
  2. A scissor for diving the fronds.
  3. A hammer for nailing.
  4. A green sheet of moss for covering the plant.
  5. A fishing twine for tying a knot.
  6. Nails for keeping the plant still.

Now that you have gathered all the materials, remember to be gentle with your plant during the mounting process. Knowing what to do next is essential!

Step by Step Guide for Mounting Staghorn Fern

You need to follow these simple steps to kickstart your journey to mount Staghorn Fern.

Step 1: Preparing the base

The first thing you need to consider on how to mount Staghorn Fern is preparing the base.

A pressure-treated fencepost is recommended for the base material.

Likewise, you can mount your fern on a tree outside, a piece of wood, a wire basket, or even the side of your house or garage.

Cedar or redwood is highly recommended for a DIY base as it is naturally resistant to rot, considering the fern’s dramatic watering habits.

You can prepare your board easily by following these steps:

  • First, fold a piece of paper in half to get the designated shape, making sure it fits on your board when unfolded.
  • Draw a shape and trace it on your cedar board.
  • Now, cut out your shape with a jigsaw, and you’re done.
  •  Hammer the nails around the wooden plank or fencepost every 1 – 2 inches to secure the stag.

Step 2: Positioning the Fern

Before positioning your fern, it is crucial to decide where the plant is about to be set up. Now, lay your fern to determine the available space on the wooden base we just prepared.

Then, mark spots inside the rootball (the rootball should be smaller for the smaller plants and more significant as the size increases) at an angle so that it will be easier to wrap your fishing knot.

Finally, while mounting, the dried leaves should be at the top so that the plant can shoot straight up rather than up and out.

Step 3: Securing the Rootball

Now, if you are sure about your designated position on the board, it’s time to secure the rootball.

Put the rootball on top of the sheet of your moss and lightly secure it to the board with the help of the fishing twine.

Make 2 – 3 knots just across the rootball to make putting moss on the top easier.

Next, spread a medium layer of a sheet of moss around the back of the plant and over the rootball with longer fronds facing upwards.

Step 4:  Finishing the Mounting Process

Wrap around the base of the stag’s root with the help of the twine or fishing line. Then, make double turns around each nail in a crisscrossed way to secure both moss and plant around the wooden plank.

Make sure you don’t go over the top of dried leaves, or the fishing line will cut it through.

That’s all you need to know on how to mount Staghorn Fern.

And we’re done! Now feel free to hang your plant buddy anywhere in your space!

Are you still confused about where you should start? Don’t worry; I got you!

Here’s a beginner-friendly complete YouTube video guide to mount your beloved green buddies.

Tips to Take Care of Mounted Staghorn Fern

Commonly found in the forests, Platycerium species of fern prefer damp and shady habitats. It can grow up to a height and breadth of one meter.

However, they grow best on a similar structure resembling their natural habitat.

1. Location and Sunlight

The Staghorn Fern requires moderate indirect light so, direct sunlight or dim conditions may suffer them.

Therefore, you need to choose an intermediate source of lighting location like window light or diffused light.

2. Watering Technique

To water the plant, you may soak the rootball until saturated and mist your plant in between as stags absorb water from fronds than roots.

You can soak your rootball by filling up a sink or submerging the plant. Then, drain the water by sorting them upright when the moss is completely soaked through.

They require constant moisture but make sure you don’t overwater them. Placing a plate underneath will help to circulate ideal daily humidity.

Unlike other ferns, stags should dry out between watering to prevent black spots.

Pro Tip: You can soak the rootball about once a week for twenty minutes and mist using a squirt bottle every day.

3. Maintaining Optimum Temperature and Humidity

Staghorn Ferns are not exposed to cold in their natural habitat, so we need to replicate these conditions as much as possible.

However, your average home temperature should suit the plant just fine as they’re houseplants.

Ensure they’re far off the areas like doorways to avoid extreme humidity and maintain around 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in a cold climate, you will need to keep your heating on even when outdoors.

The Staghorn Fern plant also needs high humidity above 50 percent, and the good news is you can set up a terrarium for ideal humidity level by placing pebbles from a fish tank.

In this way, they can mimic their natural habitat. You can even display it in places like the bathroom or kitchen as they’re humid naturally.

4. Fertilizer Requirements

Staghorn prefers acidic soil, so the water-soluble fertilizer formulated for fern might help them retain their natural habitat.

You need to fertilize your plant once a month regularly in a 1:1 ratio.

In addition, fertilizers containing ammonium nitrogen may discolor the plant, so as long as your plant receives adequate light and moisture, it will have very few problems with the fertilizer.

Note: Diluted fish emulsion can be used as organic fertilizer for your fern.

5. Pruning Habits

It takes about five years to develop a full Staghorn Fern, but you can always do some pruning to encourage it.

Make sure you cut the dead fronds usually characterized by brown sections so that this part can grow new ferns.

Don’t use sharp objects like knives as the rhizome is very delicate.

6. Control the Infestation of Pests and Diseases

One of the significant problems for stags is crown rot which is caused by Bacillus subtilis. It is tough to get rid of as they usually rot from the edges.

However, we can eliminate this by cutting off the affected area and using the proper fungicide.

And it is also prone to pests like aphids and insect-like mealybugs, but we can quickly get rid of these using insecticidal soap.

Quick Troubleshoot for Staghorn Fern

On every journey, there are bound to be some falls. I, unfortunately,  had to learn this the hard way.

Significant problems that arise while taking care of a mounted Staghorn Fern are overwatering, exposure to extreme humidity, loose wooden plank support, and leaves drooping.

But don’t worry, I will list some common troubleshooting tips that will come in handy very often than not.

  • Try to maintain relative humidity above 50%
  • Overwatering may cause brown spots to your plants so, limit your watering to 2 – 3 days a week.
  • Make sure the wooden support is strong enough to keep the plant attached to the substratum.
  • Don’t let the soil be arid.


Mounting flora imitating fauna, Staghorn Fern, may seem challenging at a glance.

But, if you’re looking forward to becoming a plant parent but don’t know basic gardening, these low-maintenance and resistant plants may be an excellent start to get your thumb green.

Get tropical vibes around your space by mounting the Staghorn Fern, a plant as resilient as you want them to be!

Happy mounting!

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