A Second Staghorn Fern - February 2022

My journey with Staghorn Ferns starts where a bunch of my gardening, craft and DIY interests came from:  Martha Stewart.  Back in the aughts, we used to get Martha Stewart Living magazine delivered in print.  In one of those editions, she covered Staghorn Ferns.  That was my first exposure.  I found this old, 2008 Martha Blog post about her Staghorn Fern that might have been *around* the time of the print piece.  Since then, they've been on my radar.  She posted again in 2018 when she talked about mounting a few new Staghorn Ferns and how she puts them on her front porch.  

In March of 2021, I bought my first Staghorn Fern - a six-inch container from Home Depot for $10.  In that post, I talked (again) about Martha.  I kept this one in the container and moved it outside during the Summer where it spent a few months on our front porch - just like Martha.  Because I left it in the container, I decided to drill a bunch of holes in the plastic nursery pot to make it more basket-like and allow the roots to dry out between waterings.   When the weather turned, I moved it to our screened porch for the Fall and then in January, when our screened porch temperatures were dropping below freezing, it came inside.  I've supplemented all of our house plants - including this fern - with a grow light in January.  And, just two-and-a-half weeks ago, I posted some photos showing off how - after ten months of being ours - we're finally seeing some of those irregular - antler-like - fronds.  

Despite mounting a Staghorn Fern on a board being the traditional manner of displaying and keeping these, I've resisted that because I'm seeing it grow and be happy.  I didn't want to screw up a good thing.

But, I knew this was something I'd like to tackle.  In my early look-ahead for 2022, #18 on my list was to add another topiary and another Staghorn Fern - and mount the fern on a board.  

So, why not kill two birds with one (new) stone Staghorn Fern.  

Earlier this week, I ran to Home Depot to pick up a couple of things and I popped into the greenhouse.  There, in one of the racks which were filled with succulents, ficus, Fiddlehead Figs and other houseplants... all the way at the bottom...were a couple of ferns.  I found a couple of small Lemon Button Ferns and some 4" Staghorn Ferns.    I came home with this one (below) that has quite a few, small, strappy fronds coming off the rootball with a small, green shield frond that you can see in the bottom photo.

Now, I'm no expert on Staghorn Ferns, but having cared for one over the past year, I was able to figure out what a young, immature Staghorn looks like and, more importantly, "feels" like.  If you run your fingers over a Staghorn Fern fronds, you *know* one when you spot one.  Why is that important?  Because the 4" nursery containers read: "4" Foliage".  No marking of this being a Staghorn Fern.  But, it most certainly *is* a Staghorn. 

Here, below, is another look at the fronds.  I'm going to mount this one this week and I'll post about that process as I learn about it.  At $5, I'm thinking that I might go back and pick up another one and mount two at the same time.  

I read this post by Delores Arabian where she talks about mounted Staghorn Ferns are a form of "living taxidermy" that does a nice job of showing off various collections of these interesting ferns.  

I guess the question I have now:  Is having two Staghorns make a collection?


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