This could actually go under "Sub-tropicals", but I figure more of us either grow them as house plants or greenhouse plants than try to grow them in a more natural setting, mounted to a tree.

Sue asked how I have mine growing, so here's the low down!

I have two, on in a pot and one in a basket, sort of. The one still in it's pot has been there for years, it's in the same little pot it came in and has formed several layers of shield fronds above the pot. I attached a single hanging wire (made for orchids) to the pot and hang it in a tree during the summer.

The mounted one didn't have as may shield fronds so I was able to put it in a small wooden basket that gift sized toiletries came in - recycling project! First I packed the slats with dampened long fiber moss, set the plant in place and tied it down with sinew (I use that for jewelry making and dream catchers). I then packed more of the long fibered moss around the exposed soil and carefully tied everything in place, slipping the sinew under the shield fronds when I could. In the summer months I attach a bungee cord to the back so I can hang it in the tree, but during the winter it hangs on the basement wall by a couple of nails. I try to mist them both on a regular basis and generally soak them for a day or longer in a bucket of water at least once a month in the winter. Outside, they get a regular soaking with the hose and, of course, all the rain water they can handle.

The potted one is getting very top heavy now and the mounded one needs to be moved into something a little more sturdy than wood. I hope to either buy a couple of half baskets (made of wire) come spring and plant them both in those, perhaps both will fit into one. Again, using the long fiber sheet moss to line the basket with and fill in around the plant(s). I'll probably have to break the pot on the one to get it out and someof the shield fronds may be damaged in the process, but new ones will grow out fairly quick to replace them.

The hardest part about caring for these two is keeping them watered in the winter. That's were a bucket or even an old Styrofoam cooler comes in handy. If you don't have an unfinished concrete floor, you'll also need to have something to set the plant in to drain off the excess water, and if you don't have a basement, bathtubs work really well for watering these plants and allowing them to drain. Keeping the plants in relatively small containers also helps to keep the plants small enough for use as a house plant.

After I get these two re-potted in the spring I may never have to do it again. Although I may have to replace some of the moss from time to time.

I realize not everyone has access to sinew to use for tying the plants in place, so plastic coated wire (telephone wite) works really well. By the time the plastic has broken down the fern has pretty much attached itself to what ever you use to mount it to.

If you have room another neat way to mount them is on a tree branch, preferable of a type of wood that is very slow to rot (hickory, black walnut, oak). If it has a few smaller branches you can attaches the smaller growing Bromeliads to them and mount the ferns on the main part of the branch. I would first set the branch in concrete in a good sized pot and cover the exposed concrete with some sheet moss while it is still wet Make sure the branch is centered and balanced so it doesn't topple over after you get the plants mounted on it. Certain Orchids can also be grown in this fashion. Giving all the plants enough light will be the biggest drawback and watering could present a problem if it is too heavy to be easily lifted into and out of the bathtub or utility sink to water them all. Misting the plants daily will help reduce the frequency of really soaking your tree.

You can also mount Staghorn ferns on appropriately sized pieces of driftwood and any number of other porous pieces of material. I do not recommend using plastic basket though as they get brittle and just do not hold up for very long. Plastic coated wire baskets will work!

Have fun and do post about how you have mounted your Staghorn Ferns.



Rebecca