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May 8, 2011

DIY Staghorn Fern Mount

At a Garden Club of Austin raffle, I won a staghorn fern that had lost its mounting board. Really nice specimen but lacking a board or a pot. I put it in a pot, but it looked ridiculous. Plus I already had a staghorn fern in a hanging pot. It overwintered in the garage bare, and it was one of the last plants to go outside.

This past month I drew up some plans for a super sturdy mounting board which my SO kindly built, and he even helped me to string the fishing line by holding the fern in place as I wrapped and stapled and stuffed. Now it's looking awesome!

It's amazing how dramatic mounted staghorn ferns look, and
I was kinda impressed at how quick it was to create the board and mount the fern.

Determining Measurements:
To figure out the design, I measured the base of the fern and added some room to grow which gave me the required surface area. Then I measured the width of the cedar boards we bought and gave 1/2" between the boards. At this point, you might be getting a bit confused, so here's an illustration:

So I needed a surface area that was approximately 12" by 17" originally, but when I laid out the design, it was much simpler to make it a little larger so that the numbers were nice and even rather than odd portions of an inch.  By increasing the width to 17.5", I could use 9 boards cut to 12" long and spaced 0.5" apart.  The runner boards then became 17.5" and run along the back.

Board Assembly:
Each board got 4 nails into the runner boards (2 at the top and 2 at the bottom), and hangers were screwed into the back and attached to a short length of chain with a couple carabiners.

Attaching the Fern:
Then to "attach" the staghorn fern, I stuffed some moss into the gaps, mounded up some moss and orchid bark, and laid the fern onto of the heap and continued to stuff around it until it looked smooth and even.  Then my SO held it in place as I maneuvered fishing line around the bulk and stapled the line to the board.  Once secure, we held it up, and I stuffed some more moss where a few gaps had appeared.

Eventually the sterile fronds will cover the line, and no one will know it's there except those acquainted with mounted staghorn ferns.  Through this process I actually uncovered the original fishing line which was kinda cool.

So if you're ever thinking about buying a mounted staghorn fern (~$45), save yourself some money by buying a potted one (~$8) and mounting it yourself with a board that's sure to last a VERY long time!


  1. Very cool. I think I need one!

  2. It really does look awesome! You did a great design, build, and display!!!

  3. That's a great design, easy to accomplish and well explained. Don't have a place for one now, but will park that in my book of "somedays". It looks lovely.

  4. Wow that is so cool! I had no idea how that was done. It looks beautiful!

  5. I was so lucky to find a TON of staghorn ferns at my COMMISSARY! And the kicker is that they were only $1.99!!!!!! SO excited to do this today!


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