April 7, 2012

Alternative Mounts for Epiphytic Plants

It seems to me that the easiest ferns to keep alive here in Austin are staghorn ferns since they don't really require all that much water, fertilizer, and cool weather, so it's not all that surprising that many residents grow them...  well, at least compared to other cities where these ferns aren't hardy.

I had 2 staghorn ferns until recently when I found a 10" hanging pot with 3 plants at Home Depot for $15.  Pretty awesome price although I suspect the Platycerium bifurcatum is becoming common enough that there's been an overall price drop in the market.  However, I think old ferns will still fetch good money from anyone who wants a large one and realizes it takes a very long time to grow.

I've also had a few cedar limbs in the backyard, and I decided to chop the ends, tear off whatever bark I could, drill a hook to one end, and mount a few plants.  With the the hanging pot I got, I separated the ferns and managed to mount two to their own cedar limb.  The third was slightly too large to put on such a thin piece and will require a "proper" mounting board.

Here you can see the effect:


I like how natural it looks compared to other alternatives.  I did the same to a Platycerium superbum I bought on eBay (more on that later), and you can see the staples and fishing line in this one along with a newly emerging infertile frond:


I'm quite excited to have this one and hope it looks a bit more distinct over the next year.  The mature ones look like regal clumps of cabbage.  Who wouldn't want that hanging in their tree??

I'm not sure how well these mounts will work, so here's hoping!  I also did this with a couple orchids and a crested bear paw fern.



6 comments:

  1. Great solution, it does look so much better than alternatives.

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    1. Thanks! And agreed! A mounting board would be impossible to hang in a tree, and hanging pots, even with fiber mats, stand out a bit too much.

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  2. There is almost nothing as impressive as a full grown staghorn. They are just magnificent in their own right. Hope yours continue to do well. Have no place inside to keep one in the winter, but suspect they would be happy under our trees outside in the summer heat and humidity.

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    1. They'd probably do extremely well in your summers. Too bad you don't have room during the winter because they're pretty easy to keep going inside.

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  3. I love the look also! Also when these baby plants grow big, you can just mount the cedar limb onto a tree trunk or support ;-)

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    1. I would, but they're unfortunately not hardy and wouldn't be able to stand some of our cold snaps without protection. Glad you like it though! I think these would make fun, affordable presents.

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