How to Mount a Staghorn Fern

I have to admit, after typing that title, I feel like I should take a shower just to be decent. But mounting a staghorn fern is not anything sexual, it is how to plant and hang the lovely staghorn fern.

The rain is continuing today and I will not complain. We really needed it. But it does mean that I am stuck in the house. Lucky for me, I am a project procrastinator and there are just dozens of little projects that I have been meaning to do for months. I thought that this would be a good one as I had bought my baby staghorn fern nearly 2 months ago after reading about staghorn ferns in Martha Stewart. The little staghorn fern has been sitting lonely on my kitchen window sill waiting either to be mounted or die. I thought perhaps I should mount it before it chose to choose the latter.

What you will need for this project is a staghorn fern (I bought mine on eBay at PlantRanch) , some sphagnum moss (long cut), a plaque or board to mount the staghorn fern on, a picture hook and pantyhose or fishing line to attach the staghorn fern to the board.

Stain or paint your board as you would like. Allow the board to dry at least a few days to allow the fumes to dissipate. You can also skip this step and just use natural board, if you would like.

Once the stain or paint is dry, add the picture hook to the back that will allow you to hang the board on the wall after the staghorn fern is mounted. One thing to keep in mind is that your staghorn fern will grow horizontally, so you will want to hang the board with the widest side being horizontal.

Soak some sphagnum moss in water. The moss will need at least a few hours, ideally, overnight in order to fully absorb the water.

Measure and mark your board where you would like the holes to go. You will be drilling 2 holes. I put mine about an inch off from the center on each side. You will need to judge based on the size of the staghorn fern you are mounting. The larger the fern you are mounting, the farther apart the holes will need to be.

Drill your holes with a power drill (remember your safety glasses).

You will be drilling a double hole, this is a single hole made with two drill pushes one on top of the other so that the hole is slot shaped.

Once your holes are drilled, place a small mound out sphagnum moss in between the two holes.

Place the staghorn fern on top of the mound.

Add more sphagnum moss around the fern.

You can use either pantyhose or fishing line to attach the staghorn fern to the board. I chose pantyhose because I thought it would do a better job of keeping the sphagnum moss around the fern. Cut a length of pantyhose and use a chopstick or pencil to help you push the pantyhose through the hole. Loop the pantyhose over the top of the staghorn fern, push the pantyhose through the other hole.

Loop the pantyhose back behind the board and push the pantyhose back up through the first hole. Loop the pantyhose back across the fern, with the pantyhose under the fern this time.

You should end up with both of the ends of the pantyhose sticking out on the backside of the board. Tie the two ends of the pantyhose in a knot and trim off any excess pantyhose.

Tuck as much of the sphagnum moss as you can into the pantyhose. The pantyhose it there to hold the sphagnum moss on until the sterile shield frond grows on the staghorn fern. The sterile frond will be a brown growth that will cover the pantyhose. The pantyhose will not hurt the sterile frond, so allow the sterile frond to grow.

The pantyhose also serves to hold the staghorn fern to the board until the attaches itself to the board.

Now you are ready to hang the fern on the wall. The staghorn fern will need to hung where it will get only filtered indirect light (I imagine that this would be a good office or bathroom plant). Soak the whole board to completely rewet the sphagnum moss and try to keep humidity high around the plant without actually misting the plant itself. Let the sphagnum moss dry out completely between waterings. It is recommend by several sources that you should actually wait until you see some wilting before watering.

79 thoughts on “How to Mount a Staghorn Fern
  1. Dianne on

    Hey that is totally awesome. Thanks for the great directions.
    Brings back memories of the family trip to Daytona Beach and my great aunt’s mobile home where she had some great ‘moose ears’.


  2. Hanna on

    Thanks! Did your Aunt keep hers inside or outside?

    In the warmer climates you can keep them outside, which would be fun to do.


  3. Dianne on

    My auntie kept hers on a covered area off the mobile home all year around.


  4. Nick on

    I have a twenty five year old staghorn and it will not “mount” to a board. I would like to hang it but don’t know the best way to suspend it. Wrap cord or cloth around it ? Run a rod thru the middle with a large washer and bolt on the bottom ? What else ???


    FL Master Gardener Reply:

    Sure, that idea would work. You may want to add a circular piece of treated word say 6″ in diameter as a large “washer” on the bottom of the rod.


    Charles Reply:

    I have a fern that is about 3′ in diameter. We bought 2 10′ sections of chain, crossed them at the bottom wrapping the ball on 4 sides, meeting above and connecting them together with a heavy metal clasp. This is then clasp to the existing chain in the tree from which it hangs. In a matter of months, the new chain was covered with fronds.


    Karla Bieneman Reply:

    I have a very large staghorn fern that I qould like to share with a friend of mine and need to know the best way to take a section off of it.


  5. Hanna on

    I would not be the one to be able to give any advice, but I do know a place that may be able to help.

    The <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Rockefeller Park Greenhouse</a> (which is a traditional greenhouse, not a store) here in Cleveland has several decades old Staghorn ferns. Perhaps if you sent them an email, one of the gardeners there could help you.

    If that does not pan out, try sending an email to <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Hirt’s Greenhouse</a> (which is a store). They had a few mature, maybe 10 years old, staghorn ferns for sale and may have some advice


  6. Elisa on

    Reply to Nick

    I have several staghorn ferns hanging in my yard and thought you might be interested in knowing that it is very easy to hang your staghorn fern.

    First, purchase a rust proof container. (After several years of growth you will not want to have to replant your fern so prepare your fern now.)

    Start with good soil (Miracle grow or any good quality soil) and fill your container.

    Place your fern in the center and if you have any moss available place it around the plant. Hang your basket from a rust proof chain and you’re ready to go.

    I prefer hanging my fern in baskets because over time the plant will take over the basket and just keep growing on top of itself and be spectacular.

    My ferns are about 4 feet in diameter and I keep them under my trees in the backyard. I am unable to move them inside from the cold because they are now to huge to move. But I cover them with blankets during the cold weather and they do fine. Since I live in Ocala, Florida the heat is my biggest problem, but the trees offer protection from the sun and they grow wonderfully.

    Every once in a while I place banana peels in water and let them sit for a few days. I then use the water to water my staghorn ferns and they love it. I was once told the potassium is good for the ferns and they seem to love the attention.

    Good luck.

    Elisa from Ocala, FL

    [Reply] Reply:

    elisa,Did you the typical hanging basket frame?….Woody


  7. De Force on

    If you have a HUGE stag, you should check out this page and click the “from chains” and “ball of foliage” links. This looks like an easy way to hang a big one!


    Donna Bouwer Reply:

    I have several huge staghorns. One fell night before last and I need help with support and pully instructions to get it back up in the tree. Any advice? Thank you. Donna B.


    Molukin Reply:

    Believe it or not, you can leave it on the ground, just where it lays, or drag it to a better location, and it will grow happily.


  8. Anonymous on

    We just bought two Staghorn Ferns (platycerium bifurcatum) at Lowe’s. They appear to be in great shape, but they were in dirt in one gallon pots. Any idea why? What do we do with them? Do you take them out of the dirt and mount them on a board? Why would they even be in the dirt? Waiting to see what you think about how we should proceed.


  9. Hanna on

    Well, as for being in dirt… Part of that would probably be because it is easier to trasport plants in pots. Mounted ferns would be very difficult and expensive to ship over long distances.

    The other part would be that because Lowes is a big box store, they probably demand that plants come in containers like that and in order to sell to Lowes, the nursery put the staghorn ferns in those pots.

    Lowes isn’t so much concerned with how happy the plants are. They are more concerned with selling the efficiently for the most profit. Not a bad thing really, just the way big box stores are. I have to admit, for a big box store, Lowes has a fantastic selection of plants at times.

    In nature, staghorn ferns grow attached to the sides of trees, which is why it is common to mount them, as to simulate their natural habitat. If you mount them on a board, you would only need a little dirt from the pot just for right around the roots and would follow the directions above.

    As Elisa mentions above, you can grow them in hanging baskets as well and they will eventually grow over the sides. You can use her directions to hang your fern and she reccomends using good, new dirt.

    I don’t know how long a staghorn fern would be happy in a “normal” potted situation. Everytime I have seen them, they seem to strive to grow horizontally, whether hung that way or growing over the sides of a basket. Keeping them in a regular pot would prevent this natural behavior and might make them unhappy.


  10. Anonymous on

    Thanks for the info. We’ll give it a try in some hanging baskets that they can grow over the sides of. We’ll let you know how they do. We appreciate your help.


  11. Anonymous on

    We have a large fern and would like to divide it into smaller parts. How do we do this?


    TJ Reply:

    I cut a pup from a huge mass of staghorns from my uncle by cutting into the around the base fronds then mounted as previously posted here.


  12. hey, how is this staghorn fern doing? it’s been a year now, uh? hope to hear and see the results.


  13. Hanna on

    *Hang my head in shame* I killed it. I think that it just was not humid enough in my house over the winter. So I want to try again once our bathroom is redone so I can hang it in there, where it would be in a more humid enviroment.


  14. jenny on

    Hi l`ve got a staghorn that is so big it just pulled over the tree that it is in ! it is aprox 1 and a half meters round ! its HUGE ! can anyone please tell me how to cut these up properly as l have no idea, and l dont want to kill it. l know how to mount it but standing over it with a knife, l just dont know where to start,


  15. Hey there, lucky you to have such a large fern, but unlucky for the tree. Do you have a pic to share, so maybe we can tell how and where to begin with?


  16. susan on

    My staghorn fern has many ants crawling in and around it. I’m afraid it will kill it and I don’t know what I can do to kill ants and not hurt the fern.


  17. hannamyluv on

    To tell the truth, you probably couldn’t kill the ants enough to keep them away. You are better off detering the ants. mint and cinnamon will deter the ants. I have heard that people have used chewing gum (mint flavored) to help keep ants away.

    The other option is to wipe down the area around the fern (but don’t touch the fern) with ammonia. That will wipe out the scent trails that ants follow and may cause them to change their trails and leave your fern alone.


  18. I have two very large ferns that I need to sell. Is there a way to find out how much they are worth and how to transport them.


    Carol Lockart Reply:

    I am in a similar situation. My mom passed about 11 months ago and in her yard are 2 huge staghorn ferns that are beautiful. I would like to keep one or both but am unsure how to go about removing and transporting and remounting
    them. Any suggestions?


  19. Gayle Gibson on

    I have a huge fern hanging from a Vermont license plate with a huge chain running thru it that hangs on my porch in Key West. I no longer have an ant problem ever since a large frog took up rsidence in it. It’s a mutually satisfactory living arrangement. And I also water the plant (and the frog) weekly right down the tunnels and over the outside and they both love it. Different strokes.


  20. Mike Meyer on

    HI, I was given a large staghorn today and am not sure what to do with it. It is in a clay pot and has seven “heads”. Should it be divided? It is at least two feet around and quite heavy. Anyone willing to offer suggestions? As I live in mid Michigan it will need to be indoors now. It spent the summer outside and I was told it improved health wise since last winter. Can anyone offer a good website to go to for care instructions?
    Thanks for all the help I may get, Mike


  21. vickie williamson on

    I just bought my first steghorn fern. It is already attached to the wood so all I had to do is hang. I decided on my front porch where there is light but not full sun, but my question is I live in nashville and we are having some very cool nights. Should I bring it in and if not how cold before I do? Its around the 50 degree mark at night. Please let me know it is very pretty and I dont want to kill it thanks


  22. Hanna on

    Mike Meyer – University of Florida has some excellent info on Staghorn Ferns .

    I personally would hold off until next summer to try dividing. The fern will need all of its energy to get through the winter.

    vickie williamson – They don’t like weather much colder than 50F. I would bring it in for the winter. If you have a bathroom that gets good light, that would be a great place for it.


  23. Hanna: I live in Atlanta and have had a staghorn for 20 years. I brought it here from Miami. It has a huge ball that reminds me of a hornets nest, but it is down to one leaf. I have had it in a basket and hang it out in the summer and keep it inside in the winter. Do you have suggestions as to how I could revitalize it? Thanks, Lou


  24. I have ahudge stag,ball is app.3 ft’ round.It was mounted,got to big remounted on another piece of wood to the exsiting wood.The wood original rotted between the fern and the newer wood rotted ,thus,my lovely staghorn is weighs about 95 pd,what should I do?Cher


  25. Debbie on

    My aunt received a Staghorn Fern a couple of years ago and it has just gone crazy. She says that it is huge and she would like to start new ferns to give to her sisters. She wanted to know if she could start new ferns using the spores and if so how to go about doing it. Could you please give some advice or at least tell me where I can send her to get the info.


  26. I do not know anything about growing them from spores and I could not find a good source for a How To. Sorry.

    Perhaps someone who stops by here would know? If you do, please feel free to leave the info or some URLs to the info.


  27. Lou – it sounds like your fern has a humidity problem? Are perhaps where you are keeping it is not humid enough?


  28. Pantyhose, thanks for that tip! I live here in Central Florida, and have found several people that have staghorns. I got a pup from a lady two towns over, and will be mounting mine to a tree outside.

    Just to make some of you jealous, a friend of mine said her neighbor has a HUGE…I mean very large, heavy staghorn fern that he wants to just give away!

    Having several large live oak trees on our property, I told her I would take it. After the Holidays, she will give him my number and I will be picking it up.

    I can’t wait to get it and do the research on which species of staghorn this one will be!

    Merry Christmas everyone, and good luck with your ferns!


  29. Misty on

    I too have a staghorn, only I got mine when it was already large as a gift from one of my husbands clients. Now four years later and we now live in Mississippi instead of Florida it is getting so large and beautiful as can be, the only problem is we move her in and out of the house when we have cold weather threatning. This is the problem she weighs about 300 pounds now. I place bannana peels on her top side for a few days until they are black then remove them. I fertizize her twice a year with 20/20/20 and this summer she became a foot wider (making her 4 foot wide)so now she no longer fits on her stand with wheels. So my advice to those who are looking to buy or already have one make sure you have plenty of room for this gem. She is the pride of our collection (about 300 plants). When kept in doors we mist her daily she loves it. When we lived in florida she hung in the oak tree, and the spores would rub on the tree and the tree trunk is now covered in small staghorns my old neighbor says it quite pretty. I found info on spores from one of the ebay sellers that sells staghorns. If I may at this time recommend Ebay seller PLANTRANCH, I have been making purchases from him for over 5 years and 3 zip codes. Some of my plants gotten from him grows at our Iowa Farm. A word of warning they will attach themselves to the oak trees if not hung with a very huge chain from the branch of the oak. Well there is what I know of the beauty’s. Good luck to all….I will look on ebay to see if I can find that seller and post it.


  30. philda on

    my staghorn fern is 3 yrs old and doing quite well, with new fronds and shields, however some of the frond tips have crispy brown edges. Is this from getting too dry? Thanks-


  31. nikki on

    Hi i just purchased my very first staghorn about 3 month’s ago it’s in a hanging basket with dirt in it. I would like to split it up and mount them to a board because it’s getting to big for the hanging pot but i don’t know how to do it and to afraid that i might do it wrong.Can some one please help?


  32. Sheri Dean on

    I have grown dozens of Staghorn Ferns, from pups. Take a pup( cut out circle wth razor ) when emerging from mature plant, or from purchasing one, My best success has been with lining a large wire basket with either soft malable tree bark, or spaghnam moss tht has been thoroughly soaked in warm water, wring out and line basket, then fill basket with more spaghnam. Using fishing line tie pup gently to side (the more you use the faster it will fill out) so there is contact with moss. You can also attach to top and/or bottom. I then hang under shaded spot away from Western hot sun. They like frequent watering during dry seasons, indoors during temp under 40 degrees. I feed with diluted fish emulsion and feed my banana peels and overripe bananas, just put in moss, or around ferns. Once they get too big just attach chains and hang, making sure to loop chains uinder stag for support. Enjoy!


  33. I just picked mine up from my ex-husband last night – he can keep the treadmill – and have had to temporarily hang it in my breezeway as I do NOT have a tree to hang it in – ANY suggestions? It is about five years old and has ALWAYS been outside unless we got a freak freeze here in Florida. It hasn’t grown TOOOO big – it is a couple of feet – but it is really heavy. I have it in a wire basket – ok I know I put it in the basket five years ago and the wire hangers still are showing. I am most likely going to move in a year or so, so I don’t want anything permanent.



  34. Irene on

    Hi Hanna and eveyone who has written – I live in Canada, near Calgary in the Province of Alberta. I purchased a small, potted, fern from Fort McMurray, near the Alberta tarsands. I went on the net, found this site and mounted my fern as Hanna so wonderfully instructed. I am happy to report, it’s doing well. I water according to everyone’s instructions, and maybe can hang it outside during the summer. Winter is sort of hopeless here, way too cold. I have my lovely fern hanging above the kitchen sink, on a window support on the north wall. Here are my questions. The back parts of my fern, from where the fonds grow, are all brown and feel papery. I read that I’m NOT to remove these, which I haven’t. Will there be new ones eventually growing and how does the fern attach itself to the board? I’m sooooo envious of those of you who have those HUGE ferns!!!! They must be absolutely gorgeous!!!!!! Thanks for any help anyone can give me. Greetings from Canada.


  35. Karen on

    I purchased a staghorn fern in Calif. and carried it back on the plane (plus the 3 hr drive from the airport) back to Eagle, CO. I have it mounted and it is lovely, hanging in my living room with brite light. My question–living here in the Rockies, which is high dessert, i know keeping it “humidified” will be tricky. Will misting it daily be enough? It is pretty heavy to wander into the bathroom with each “people” shower. The bathroom is too dark for it to live in there. Also–there are two babies (pups?) on the moss. Should I put them on their own plank or do they want to be near MOM for awhile? Thanks in advance!


  36. Laurie on

    I have 2 staghorns that I had given to me about 3 years ago. They are in 16 inch hanging baskets. They were planted with material that resembles berlap and soil. They were then hung from large oak trees. Over the years the berlap-like material began to sag and some of the soil escaped with watering and rain. The sqirrels have burrowed a tunnel so you can see through the base of one of them. I don’t think they are growing as fast as they should be. I haven’t been feeding them like I should be either. So my question is how should I go about replanting them and what should I do to properly feed them?
    Thanks for any help you guys and gals can give me.
    Laurie In Clermont, Fl.


  37. Barney on

    In my search for information about staghorn culture, I have seen several warnings against using copper wire to attach staghorns to their mounts. Not one of these warnings has stated a reason for this. I have used copper for 25 years and my plants are quite vigorous. I use copper tubing to form a ring about 16″, then attach copper wire to it in the form of a basket, then line the inside with chicken wire, then add moss and attach the plant. The plants are in contact with copper for years at a time. I use copper because it will not corrode away. The baskets can be considered permanent. What’s the deal with copper and plants?


  38. Ray on


    I also use copper wire on all sorts of delicate plants, including staghorns, and have never had any problems. Its the same sort of advice on watering staghorns. They grow in nature in tropical climates. i.e. hot, humid, rain. One of our staghorns is in an orchid garden which get’s a daily soaking. Its just fine.


  39. Barbara on

    I just received a staghorn in a basket I know they can grow quite large which is great but I am not sure how to feed them and fertilize please help


  40. jaymie on

    hello i have a Staghron,well there is about 200 plus that
    were growing all around a tree that died also there growing in the same group in a rusted wheel barrelthat was under that tree, My questions in how is the rigt way to cut them apart to mount them els where


  41. Brian Wright on

    Recently I was in a shop in Peddlers Village Pa. and came across an approx. 11×14 glass hanging with dryed ferns mounted on the back, nothing behind ferns to hold them to glass, any ideas as to how this might have been done. Store clerk had no idea, so i searched the web and came across your web site, hoping hat someone may have an idea for me to do this myself.
    Thank You very much for your time
    Brian Wright
    Jamesburg, NJ


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  43. when we stick it up will it stink or no because i heard deer stink when you hang them up i shot a 22 point and hung it up and it stunk


  44. Renate Bishop on

    Reading so many comments about stag horn ferns, has inspired my so see if I could nurse my daughter’s very sick looking fern back to health. It’s leaves are limp, yet ther seems to have some live left. I have always enjoyed seeing these lovely ferns. I would be so thrilled to revieve it.
    Please someone help me be like a healer.


  45. Is there a way of forcing new fern buds to grow from the base? If the fronds are pruned or cut, will this induce new fronds to sprout?


  46. Gayle on

    I am SO happy to have found this site!

    I have a staghorn fern that is approximately 15 years old. It has been with me through two house moves, inside, outside, in the house, in a greenhouse, etc. It seems to be thriving but it has grown no “pups”. Also, the sterile portion has become quite thick and is becoming less attractive. Is there a way to trim the sterile portion without killing the plant? What can I do to encourage it to produce pups?

    THANK YOU for any assistance you can provide!


  47. chickidoodle on

    be sure to wear gloves when handling sphagnum moss..especially if you’ve any broken areas of skin on your hands. invasive microscopic beasties occasionally lurk within..(this from a nurse who’s had patients SUFFER with difficult-to-treat infections directly related to contact w/the moss.. naturally, the treatment was worse than the affliction, and extremely expensive.)

    great site, btw. thanks for the upbeat attitudes.


  48. Kimberly on

    I’ve had my staghorn fern for about 5 yrs now, and for the past few weeks its looked really odd. Now it just sort of looks dead, and I can’t tell.. I’ve watered it, given him bananas, and fertilized it. I don’t know what to do. Plz help


  49. Teresa May on

    Wow I have just found your wonderful site on staghorn ferns, I live in IPSWICH SUFFOLK GT. Britain. my son bought my fern for me a few months ago, it’s leaves measure about 2 feet long and here are 15 in all, it came in a small plastic hanging pot which I have have hung in my conservatory, it gets a lot of sun at the moment and is quite hot but come winter, anyone who knows the british weather will know it can get quite cold, I am watering it with rain water or watre from my koi pond as I was told tap water is bad for it, I’ve fed it with a plant food for rhododendrons and is doinf very well at the moment, I’m just a wee bit worried it may be getting to much sun, it’s a wonderful plant, so I would love it to be with me for many many years……I love your site…Teresa


  50. My staghorn wire basket was falling apart so I put it in the elbow of my large oak tree, it is thriving, but I am concerned that it is feeding off of the oak tree?? Does anyone know if it can hurt my oak tree? Thanks for any info.


  51. Andy on

    It is not hurting your tree in any way. In natural habitat they cling to trees, but they are not parasites. They just hang on the tree and feed off of rainwater running into it’s base and on leaf litter, dead insects, etc that happen to fall on it’s base. If it is thriving there an you like it, leave it. I’m assuming you live somewhere warm where it doesn’t freeze in the winter, else you would have to bring it inside during the winter.


  52. Tracey on

    After years of dillydallying, I finally bought a staghorn fern pup at a local flea market. I know I need a wire basket…any recommendations or ideas of what kind or where to find an appropriate basket, or how big so I don’t have to redo any time soon. I am soaking my sphagnam moss as we speak!


  53. I have a couple of staghorns that are doing very well in their wire baskets. I love them and they are beautiful.
    But what I wanted to say was…Everyday when I drive to and from work I drive by a house that has a HUGE staghorn just sitting on the wooden steps to the house. Frying in the HOT SW Florida sun. It’s turning all brown. Sometimes I want to stop and ask them if they plan on letting it live or can I just push it off the deck into my trunk and take it home. It makes me crazy!!!


  54. Ronan on

    Hey I’m from ireland and am trying to get my hands on one. Does anyone know anywhere in europe that’d deliver. I just want a small pup but can’t find them anywhere. Thanks a million.


  55. Teresa on

    How can I tell if my staghorn survived the unexpectedly hard freeze we had in my parts (NE FL) this last winter? I’d just got it settled into a nice wooden box with spaghnum moss and it was sending out new fronds. Now those fronds are brown and dead and I haven’t seen any new growth yet. It got left out for the winter and largely neglected because I’ve been takng care of my fiance, who has cancer.

    Does anyone have any advice on salvaging it? I’ve been keeping the moss moist for almost a month now, though not too moist =)


  56. Dale Sanders on

    Just received a large, 2 -3′ diameter, staghorn fern. How would you (or should you) hang it from a large oak tree limb. There is a threaded steel rod thru the center of the staghorn and would like to mount it in our front yard oak tree. Can I drill a hole thru the limb? I think a chain around the limb would look bad and might hurt the limb itself. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  57. MOLUKIN on

    I rested my staghorn, which was about the size of yours, right in the elbow of my scrub oak tree, it is doing beautifully, I was concerned about whether it would kill my oak, or if it might leach nutrients from the oak, hence my involvement in this website. I first had it hung from the tree by a medium chain, in Florida the metal rusts and does not last long, anyways its something for you to think about.A staghorn is basically an air fern and will not hurt your oak if you decide to let it live right on your oak. Enjoy.


    miamipanda Reply:

    I have a staghorn which was taken off another tree about a month ago. I strapped it with a clothes line wire onto the tree. But a month later, it is exactly as it was when I tied it on. There is so much thick compost material behind the plant, that I don’t see how it will attach itself.

    Should I scrap this ‘stuff’ off the back of the plant? I had added a little bit of soil to one area to even out the thickness of the plant so that it could ‘lie’ flat to the tree. Will this hinder it from attaching itself?


    Molukin Reply:

    I just set mine in the elbow depression on my oak and its thriving. Someone told me to use spagnum moss instead of soil?? It seems to work and i put banana peels in it also.Have fun.


  58. Pamela on

    Hanna, thank you for your insights into staghorn ferns; thanks, too, to the other posters. I finally found a fern in my price range (it’s about 2 inches across at the base) and was pondering how to hang it. I have several empty baskets and was wondering whether (and how) I might mount the fern in a basket. Now I know how to approach it, and my only regret is that it’s 10 at night and I have to be at work in 9 hours. So, the fern will have to wait in it’s profane little plastic pot, face to the sky, until I get home tomorrow. I plan to hang it in my front yard, under my apricot tree. I live in the Greater LA basin, where the temperature rarely falls below 40 degrees, so I’m thinking the blanket over the fern in the winter chill will work well. (Does it matter if the blanket is cotton, wool, polyester or bamboo?)
    Thanks again!


  59. Lorraine on

    Hi, I used to have a staghorn fern a long time ago and regretted leaving it behind in a move. I just recently bought a pup at a store (packed in soil in a plastic container) and wanted to hang it properly. I finally found what I wanted in a pet store in the fish department. I got a nice piece of driftwood (hardwood) and I’ve drilled a 1/2″ hole in it near the top. For the rest, I’ve put a chain through the hole, used pantyhose and sphagnum moss and hung it from a beam in my kitchen where I think it will get the right amount of light.


    Leslie Reply:

    Hello! I was just given a beautiful Staghorn Fern that weighs approximately 125 pounds and is at least 3 foot in diameter. It was hung from a huge Pine Tree when I got it. I don’t have any low lying trees that have thick branches to hang it from. Can anyone recommend another way to hang it? Thanks for your help!


  60. Misty on

    Hi there. We have 4 very large staghorns. 1 was my grandmother’s, 1 was my husband’s grandmother’s, one I started from a pup over 12 years ago and one I happen to find in some woods in a blown down oak tree after the hurricanes in 2004, we rescued it. This is the one I’m writing about. We cut the section of tree it was attached to and brought that section with the fern attached home, it made a nice show, stood up, looked great on the tree trunk. However, now 7 years later, the section of oak that has the fern attached to it is infested with ants and rotting fast. This Staghorn is well over 4′ in diameter, and I can’t even imagine how much it weights. My question is should I try to remove the fern from the rotting tree section and place it in one of my other oaks (I have my other staghorns in oaks on my property), just leave it where it lies in the dirt, or try to cut away as much of the tree as possible and hang it somehow? Any suggestions would be great. I love this plant, I was 8 months pregnant when I found it and my husband nearly killed himself trying to get it home for me. 🙂 I want to do what’s best for the plant.


  61. David Lawrence on

    I did not read all of he comments so I hope mine is not a repeat.
    Stag horn Ferns love potassium. Cut bananas in small slices, slip them between the layers of the base and watch your fern takeoff.


  62. narf7 on

    Lol…I HAD to check out this post…thought that my “Food Porn” sites were not the only ones and that I had stumbled onto something new…”Garden Porn”! Luckily most ferns reproduce asexually so we can throw that misnomer RIGHT out the window 😉


  63. I am wanting to remount my staghorn fern. I will have to add more moss. Is sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat mowss the same thing. If not, which is best to use on staghorn.?


    mike meyer Reply:

    Hi Phil, You will need to use sphagnum moss–NOT Shagnum peat moss. The sphagnum moss is stringy looking and will hold the fern where the peat is like dirt and will not be easy to use if hanging the fern on a board. Go back to the very first part of this column and you will find the directions and pictures which are very good and you will see the moss to use. Good luck, Mike


  64. Frankie C on

    Where else can a staghorn fern be mounted? Would it get too heavy for a chain link fence? Are there certain types of trees that are better hosts? I have slash pine and sable palm. Thanks.


  65. mike meyer on

    HI all, I have had a staghorn for several years and it was a freebie. It wasn’t in the greatest condition when I got it in October. It did very well the first winter indoors on a five foot wide wall between two five foot french doors on the south facing wall. It did so well and it was so big and heavy that I decided to leave it indoors. It grew to almost eight feet wide with several plants surrounding the clay pot it is in. My dilema now is I have moved and my fern did not take the move well at all. I lost several ‘heads’ and now I have only four left. It is outside now here in Ohio. My question is will it regrow from the old ‘heads’ or are they done for? I am thinking of trying to remove the survivors to a more suitable pot or board. Some are clinging to the clay pot and not any type of moss or soil. Will this be a success or should I leave it alone and hope it takes off? Thanks, M The pot is about 18″ around at the lip and probably about the same tall and it is heavy.


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