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How to Pot a Staghorn Fern in a Hanging Basket

large staghorns 2 image by mdb from

The staghorn fern is a tropical epiphyte that can be grown attached to a tree, piece of wood or a basket of moss. In nature, they are often found attached to trees in tropical zones. Soil is not needed, as the fern absorbs nutrients from the air and decomposing plant matter in its center through the leaves.

In cooler climates, staghorn ferns can be grown indoors or protected from the weather during colder months. Mounted in a hanging basket, the plant will grow quite large with a little basic care.

Soak a supply of sphagnum moss. Squeeze out excess water, leaving the moss damp.

Use the damp moss to line a wire hanging basket. Pack the center of the basket with a mixture of equal parts moss, wood chips and potting soil.

Place the staghorn fern into the moss through the openings in the wire basket with the leaves facing outward. Orient the fern so that it is approximately two-thirds of the way down the basket and the smallest leaves of the fern are pointed upward.

Use wire or fishing line to secure the staghorn fern into the moss. Intertwine and wrap the wire around openings in the hanging basket so that the moss stays packed and the fern will not fall out.

Hang the basket from a strong chain in the shade, away from direct sunlight.

Water the staghorn fern by soaking the moss once a week during hot, dry weather and less often during rainy or cool weather. Allow the medium to dry out completely between waterings.

Fertilize with a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season and every other month during the cooler months.

Move the staghorn fern indoors when freezing temperatures are expected.


Do not over water. When in doubt, allow the leaves to begin to wilt before watering.

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