Plant Taxidermy - Mounting a Staghorn Fern

Introduction: Plant Taxidermy - Mounting a Staghorn Fern

Get ready for some retro-throwback Plant Taxidermy!

These epiphytes (non-parasitic pants that grow on other larger plants) were big in the 70s, now they are making a comeback! They are great additions to apartment décor, outdoor patio spaces (weather permitting), and make great gifts. They don’t require a ton of care, as they get most of their water from the air around them and in direct/filtered sunlight will do just fine. Just give them an occasional mist from a spray bottle and soak the moss they sit in once a week, or so.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Materials List

Here’s a list of the materials you will need:

Staghorn Fern

Sphagnum Moss

Wood of choice

Picture hanging hardware

Floral Wire

Tiny Eye Hooks


Wood Glue

Step 2: Get the Moss Wet!

You’ll need to soak the moss for a little while to get it thoroughly wet, so let’s do that first…

While the moss is soaking, we can build the plaque that the plant will be mounted to.

Step 3: The Plaque (no Dental Coverage Required)

The wood you choose is totally up to your artistic discretion/whatever is lying around.

I chose poplar planks because they had a nice greenish tint to them. But feel free to use any wood species that you like. I recommend against sealing the wood and/or using treated wood. You don't want you plant's roots touching anything toxic!

But get creative! I've seen these guys mounted to old wooden signage, tree slices, and drift wood. And it looks super cool!

Just for fun, I used copper nails for a little metallic color. And who knows, maybe the oxidization will bring out a cool "Statue of Liberty" green!

Step 4: Unearth the Root Ball

Time to clean off that root ball.

Your Staghorn Fern will likely come in a pot with soil, which it doesn't need.

De-pot it, and shake off the extra soil.

Keep the plant handy, as you'll need the root ball for sizing in the next step...

Step 5: If You Like It, Then You Should Put Some Rings on It!

Now let's install the eye hooks.

We're going for a pentagon shape that is slightly smaller than the Staghorn's root ball.

I recommend putting the point of the pentagon facing downward, that way the plant will have a little more support at the top.

(You will probably need a pair of pliers to tighten the eye hooks into place.)

Step 6: Hangin' Hardware

Now that the eye hooks are in place, flip your plaque over to install the picture hanging hardware.

Step 7: Sphagnum Nest

That moss has been soaking for a bit, right? Good.

Let's grab a couple handfuls and sqeeeeeze out any extra water.

Inside your pentagon o' eye hooks, create a nest for your plant's root ball to sit comfortably in. You'll find that the wet moss is nicely malleable.

Step 8: Bring the Plant to It's New Mossy Home

Insert the plant's root ball into it's new sphagnum moss bed.

Step 9: Tie It Down Before It Gets Away!

Now, using the floral wire, you're going to secure the plant to the wood.

This may take a couple tries to get the right configuration for maximum support, but I found that going in a star pattern worked the best for me.

Use extra Sphagnum moss under and around the wires to hide them .

Step 10: Hang It Up and Enjoy!

Congratulations! Your plant taxidermy is complete!

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