Mounting Staghorn and Elkhorn Ferns - October 2022

Number 8 on my 2022 to-do list for the season was to 'do more with houseplants'.  I talked about repotting a cactus, working with my topiary and mounting some Staghorn Ferns.  I recently covered the current state of the Mickey Mouse standing Creeping Fig Vine topiary, so that's in a good place.  I haven't gotten around to the Firesticks cactus repotting, but maybe that's a Winter-time project.  I've also continued to prune the Umbrella plants in our kitchen, so let's call that bonsai-adjacent.

The most recent project in this category has to do with Staghorn Ferns.

What started with a single, potted Staghorn Fern turned into a houseplant project and set of gifts for people in our life.  I bought five new potted Staghorn Ferns this Spring and ended up mounting (in total) four of them.  Giving two away, that left me with two mounted Staghorn Ferns and two potted ones.

The smallest mounted fern that I kept perished and died.  

The larger one, wasn't thriving.  

What is so striking about that is that the pair that I gave away?  They're flourishing.  The one at my Mom's house is - in particular - really amazing and has even put on a brand new, massive shield frond.  

Mine?  Not so much.

But, after being in decline, having mold pop up and then spending the Summer outside on our front porch, what did I see?  Just the tiniest bit of new, frond growth.  Could this be turning the corner?  Or, is coming in for Winter going to be the path towards total decline?  I'm not sure, but I'll be actively managing this one.  You can see these new, small fern fronds in the photo below:

As I was tending to this first, surviving Staghorn Fern, I figured it would be good to deal with the rest of them.  First, I had to peel off the dead fern and moss.  This one didn't have any drainage holes in the mounting board, so I used my drill to create a bunch of air-flow and drainage spots.  See below for the board after it had been stripped and drilled:

I have one of the four I bought at Valentine's Day still in the original container - you can see that below.  This fern is NOT thriving and the shield frond is brown and dry:

Reusing the board and mounting it with fishing wire made this a quick job.  This is now my second (currently alive) mounted Staghorn Fern below:

But, I went just.a.little.bit.further.  I was in the orange Big Box store when I noticed something.  What was it?  It looked like a strappy fern.  See below:

A look at the tag on the pot and, well....I was intrigued.  This is an Elkhorn Fern.  See below:

This fern has some gnarly fronds.  Split, curly ends.  Have a look below at the photo.  I'm in love.

I brought it home and started to think about the mount.  I've learned my lesson and decided to use some cedar planks that I had on hand.  I put a couple of them together and drilled A LOT of drainage and airflow holes on the board:

Then, I shook off some of the loose soil and mounted this Elkhorn Fern the same way I've done the Staghorns.  Here, below, is how it looks mounted on cedar:

That brings my total mounted ferns to three.  See below for those three.  On the left is the oldest (and recovering), middle is new Elkhorn and right is new Staghorn:


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