Proper Staghorn Fern Planting


Tropical staghorn fern is grown for interesting foliage. Leaves are pale to deep green and resemble the antlers of a male deer. Staghorn ferns do not naturally grow rooted in a pot or garden bed. Instead, they grow along the trunks of trees. They are usually grown as houseplants, but they can grow in the garden in areas with mild winters. Staghorn ferns are not parasitic and do not damage their host tree. Instead, they pull nutrients out of the air.

Step 1

Mix one part peat moss, one part oak leaves and one part chopped sphagnum moss together. This provides the growing medium for the staghorn fern.

Step 2

Attach two picture hooks to the back of a 2-foot square piece of redwood or pine board. Screw or nail the hooks securely to the back of the board, ensuring they are level.

Step 3

Drill two ¼-inch holes in the board. Place the holes about 12 inches apart, centering them on the board.

Step 4

Mound the peat mixture in the center of the board. Make the mound 2 to 4 inches high and about half as wide as the board.

Step 5

Set the staghorn fern on top the mound of peat moss. Set the fern so the collar of wide leaves on the bottom is nestled on the peat.

Step 6

Poke the end of a piece of fishing line through one hole. Pass it over the collar of leaves on the lower side of the fern and then through the opposite hole. Tie the ends securely together on the back of the board. Pass a second length of fishing line through the holes over the upper side of the fern and secure the other side of the plant to the board in the same way.

Step 7

Drive two nails into a wall indoors, into an outdoor fence or into a post, spacing them so they match the picture hooks on the back of the board. Hang the fern on the nails.

Tips and Warnings

  • Replace the peat mixture yearly or the fern may not be able to access the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Oak leaves
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Board
  • Picture hooks
  • Drill
  • Fishing line
  • Nails


  • Michigan State University Extension: Staghorn Ferns
  • Master Gardener Online: Staghorn Fern
Keywords: planting staghorn fern, specialty ferns, board mounting plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.