The Versatile Staghorn Fern

2012-04-16

This week's warm spring weather has gotten us excited about sprucing up the garden.  One of our favorite plants is the staghorn fern, which we use a lot for its beauty and versatility.  We have dozens of staghorns in the Schoos garden, with the largest ones measuring up to 7 feet high!  These photos show some of the ways we use them, from covering a wall or fence, to hanging from trees, to growing in a potted arrangement, to filling out a foliage screen.  Of course, it helps to grow big, healthy staghorns if you live in a warm climate like we have in southern California; but, anyone can raise staghorns if they are brought inside for the winter.  But keep them out of direct sun or they can become burned and discolored.  They are happiest underneath a canopy of trees with plenty of moisture.  Water them at least twice per week, even though they are very hearty and forgiving if you happen to forget!

This is the largest of our staghorns, measuring about 4 feet by 7 feet high!Staghorns can mask a garden wall, turning a functional necessity into a thing of beauty.Although staghorns grow to one side, they may also be used in a pot as part of an arrangement.For interest, mingle your staghorns with other plants, sculptures and artwork.Be careful to keep staghorns out of direct sunlight or they will burn, as seen here where the sun peeks over the top of the wall.Staghorns attached to a tree or fence can also form a natural barrier like a hedge.Staghorns also make great fill plants.  Here, you can see in the orange circles how we used them to thicken a foliage screen.

7 Images