Plants with personality! Whether nestled between artwork on a gallery wall, or the star feature in your home, Mounted Staghorn Ferns add organic dimension to any space.
Epiphytes Ideal for Mounting
Staghorn ferns are epiphytes, meaning they are air plants. Often the term 'air plants' is used when referring to tillandsias, but in fact, all epiphytes are air plants, including staghorn ferns. Epiphytic plants do not absorb nutrients through their roots, rather, they use their root systems to attach to a medium for structure while nutrients are processed through the leaves or fronds. Mounted staghorn ferns are truly structural works of living art that can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors.
Staghorn ferns are called Platyceriums. They are Old World tropics native to Africa, northern Australia, and Southeast Asia. In their native tropical regions, and even warmer parts of the US, like New Orleans and Florida, these beauties can grow to epic proportions. Hanging Staghorn Ferns line this walkway, making for a dramatic botanical stroll at the Botanical Gardens in New Orleans City Park.
Fern leaves are actually called fronds, and staghorn ferns have two types. The first, and most prominent, is the “antler” frond - these are the large, bifurcated leaves that shoot out of the center of the plant, and from which staghorn ferns get their names, since they resemble the antlers of deer or moose.
The second type of staghorn fern frond is called the shield frond. These are the round, hard plate-like leaves that surround the base of the plant. Their function is to protect the plant roots, and take up water and nutrients.
These fronds start out green, but eventually turn brown and dry up. This is a totally normal part of the staghorn fern life-cycle -- in fact, this is one of the most common misconceptions in staghorn fern care. A brown shield frond does not mean your staghorn fern is dying, and dried shield fronds should never be removed!
The final part of the staghorn fern is the root ball. Since stags are epiphytes, their root systems are fairly minimal, and help the plant attach to its home. Because the roots are so minimal, staghorn ferns need extensive drainage and are particularly susceptible to root rot.
Spores appear as brownish masses on the tips of the antler-like fertile fronds. These spores will produce new plants when sown on moist, sterile peat moss. However, this is a slow method of reproduction, and most new plants are obtained from suckers (pups), which develop from the mother plants.
Staghorn Fern Care
Kokedama require watering and care like any other houseplant would. Most kokedama require a watering about once per week, but it is imperative to adjust your watering schedule to your suit your specific plant's needs. Follow these easy tips to help your string garden to thrive, or purchase our comprehensive kokedama care guide to master the construction, care and styling of these beauties.
When you picture a fern, you probably imagine the shady, lush forest floors of the Pacific Northwest. You might then think that your stag will appreciate a dark space, but you would be wrong. Staghorn ferns, on the otherhand, are native to the tropics -- the species that we most commonly feature, Platycerium bifurcatum, is native to Australia.
Staghorn ferns need bright, indirect or diffused light to thrive, though they must be protected from the harsh rays of the direct sun. We tell people to put staghorn ferns in the brightest space in their home where, again, the plant will not take direct sun.
Rooms with Southern and Eastern exposures tend to be best, though unobstructed North windows will do. Western light is fine, but be careful, as this afternoon exposure tends to be hot and harsh.
This is the most challenging care point for most people as they like to be kept evenly moist but not soaking wet. Because they’re epipyhtes, their roots really need to breathe. Just think of how they get watered in the rainforest where it rains a lot but they’re somewhat protected by the plants growing above: it rains, they take what moisture they need & then it all drains off. Remember, they’re growing attached to other plants up off the ground.
As a general rule of thumb, watering a Staghorn Fern every 7-10 days is the way to go. In the winter, water less. If yours is growing on wood, take it to the sink & run water over it & let it all drain out. These ferns absorb water through their leaf fronds & shield fronds as well as their roots so you want to make sure to wet all parts. The other thing you can do is turn it face down & soak it for 10 minutes or so.
Staghorn ferns are epiphytes, which means they are air plants. They gladly grow on a wall mount, which lets air circulate around them. They need good-quality light, even some direct sunlight. They need some drying of the soil or medium in between watering. The back plates and medium need to be thoroughly soaked. They prefer more moisture when growing in the summer. If grown in cold weather, then less moisture is needed.
We offer private & community Mounted Staghorn Fern workshops to share the joy of this botanical craft with fellow garden enthusiasts. Meet us, our team and learn how to make these works of hard in a hands-on, meditative and inspiring environment.
Staghorn Fern Guide
Master plant selection, construction, care and styling of these magical moss balls. Our comprehensive guide gives you the knowledge, tools and tips to be a mounted staghorn expert.
Mounted Staghorn Fern Classes
Join us for one of our community events in New Orleans, or book us for a private event. We'll teach you the proper methods of construction, care and styling to create the string garden of your dreams.
Imagine a variety of your favorite houseplants encompassed in moss balls, floating mid-air within your space. Pothos, ferns, philodendrons, herbs and citrus are all possibilities for the floating garden of your dreams. Crafting and caring for this suspended oasis is not as far fetched as it seems. The Japanese art of Kokedama is an ideal planting method for small spaces and creative botanical displays, and opens up a world of meditative gardening possibilities that embrace the beauty in simplicity.
Below are Luna kokedama creations and installations. We hope you feel inspired to craft your own living art!