How to Mount Staghorn Ferns


The staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) grows in tropical regions of the Earth. It is epiphytic, which means it grows on trees or other support, without roots. It uses a basal plate or sterile leaves to anchor itself to a tree, where it catches old plant material in its base. As the plant material decays, the staghorn fern absorbs the rotting nutrients. The fern produces large antler-shaped leaves and can grow to an astounding size, up to three or four feet across. Therefore, when mounting a staghorn fern you must keep in mind the eventual size and that it must be moved into shelter where temperatures go below 40 degrees F.

Step 1

Soak enough sphagnum moss, in a bucket of water, to fit behind the basal plate of the staghorn fern once it is mounted to the board.

Step 2

Find a board that is not treated with copper or any other anti-decay agent. An older weathered board is ideal. Cut the board to the desired shape with the saw.

Step 3

Nail enough protruding nails into the board, about two inches apart, to form a circle around the mounted staghorn fern's basal plate. The circle of nails on the board should be two inches wider than the diameter of the basal plate.

Step 4

Remove the sphagnum moss from the bucket of water and lightly wring out the water. Form a ball of sphagnum moss that is big enough to fit behind the basal plate of the fern, and place the sphagnum moss in the middle of the circle of nails you created on the mounting board.

Step 5

Place the staghorn fern over the sphagnum moss. Tie one end of the fishing line to a nail and begin wrapping the line around the nails and over the basal plate to hold it in place. Continue wrapping the fishing line until the basal plate is held firmly against the sphagnum moss and mounting board. Tie off the end of the fishing line to a nail, and cut the loose ends with scissors. The staghorn fern is now ready to hang on a tree or wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Mounting board
  • Medium-sized nails
  • 50-pound test fishing line
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Scissors
  • Bucket
  • Source of water
  • Board saw
  • Hammer


  • Staghorn Ferns at a Glance
  • Common Staghorn Fern
  • Mounting Staghorn Ferns
Keywords: staghorn ferns, mounting a staghorn fern, attach staghorn to board

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.