How to Mount a Staghorn Fern

The staghorn fern stands out in any room as a majestic piece of living art. Equally rugged and elegant, it lends a modern feel and textural depth to any space thanks to the combined efforts of dense moss, waxy green fronds, and the resilience of Cedar.

Our easy to follow guide and ready-to-assemble mounting kit makes the staghorn fern a striking, all-vegan trophy to showcase in your home or bestow upon plant-loving friends as an unforgettable gift.

Not Your Average Fern

The staghorn is noticeably different from other plants, and even other ferns, due to its distinct anatomical make-up. It doesn’t have flowers and seeds, typical components of plant reproduction, but instead releases microscopic spores resembling brown fuzz into the air which become new plants, similar to the way fungi and moss reproduce. The precious spores are stored in the fern’s fronds, which are often mistaken for leaves.

Outside of their natural habitat, staghorn ferns suffer if left in the potting containers they are sold in. Much like air plants, stags are a tropical species called epiphytes that grow on trees or other plants. Learning to mount your staghorn is less of an elective and more of an imperative in plant care in order to provide optimum conditions for its growth.

Stags are nothing if not resourceful. They store up water and nutrients not through their roots but through their fronds, using the root ball as an anchor instead of a food supply. Staghorn ferns can be spotted in the wild growing daringly on top of trees or inside of their crevices, but don’t worry—recreating an ideal home for them indoors isn’t as hard as you might think.

Handle with Care

There are five key components to mounting a staghorn fern at home. First, you need a mature stag, green sheet moss, twine or fishing line, a sturdy wooden board, and hardware for securing the fern to the board and hanging onto the wall. Horti staghorn kit - fern mounting explained
Our kit
comes with hardware pre-fixed onto the wooden plaque for structural support.

Staghorn removing pot - Step two of how to mount a staghorn fern.

It’s important to be gentle with your stag throughout the mounting process. Hold the fern at its base, where fronds meet soil, as you remove it from the container.

Staghorn breaking the soil

staghorn breaking soil

Keeping your grip soft but secure, slowly break away the bottom third of the soil from the plant and its roots.

Staghorn placement

Set the stag’s root ball in the center of the wooden plaque and position the plant with its antler fronds (the longer ones) at the top, facing upward. Each plant is unique in its shape and the direction of its protruding fronds, so you can adjust its placement to suit your taste.

Staghorn moss

Dampen the underside of the sheet moss lightly with water and wrap around base of the stag’s root ball until the roots and dirt are fully covered.

Staghorn tying

Once fully wrapped, tie one end of the twine or fishing line around a nail and stretch it across the base of the fern to the nail on the opposite side.

staghorn tying

staghorn tying

Criss cross the twine over the moss, carefully looping around the head of each nail until your stag and its blanket of moss are secured to the plaque.

Now you’re ready to hang your staghorn!

How to Keep Your Stag Happy

Stags thrive in bright, indirect light and require a combination of misting and watering to mimic their natural habitat. Hang your mounted plant in a bright room away from harsh rays and water about once a week.

To water: remove the plaque from the wall and place into a sink or shower. Water or soak the plant until the root ball is saturated—we’re talking a fully soaked stag. Allow it to drip dry before hanging it back onto the wall.

Because stags absorb water and nutrients through their fronds, misting your plant in-between waterings is a great way to keep it happy, using a spray bottle that produces a fine mist. In hotter, dry months, water and mist once a week. In cooler months, you may find that you only need to soak your stag once every two or three weeks.

It’s a bit of trial and error to start, depending on the climate of your home, so adjust your watering schedule as needed. If the fronds appear wilted and brown, up the ante; if they become brown or black at the base, you’re watering too much. It’s important to note that the bottom shield fronds will eventually turn brown and dry up as your stag matures. Don’t worry, this is normal.

Becoming a plant whisperer is all about listening to your plants and responding to their needs. As you learn, you’ll find yourself growing right along with them!