Staghorn ferns are large epiphytes that get their nutrients and water from the air rather than the soil, which makes them a perfect match for hanging containers. A low-maintenance plant that is both versatile and visually striking, the staghorn fern is the perfect indoor decor piece. That said, you can also use it to add a touch of beauty to your outdoor garden or lawn as well!
The seven best places to hang a staghorn fern include:
- From a tree
- On your porch
- In your living room
- On your balcony
- Near to a sunny window
- In a bathroom
- In your kitchen
Stick around to learn how you can use your staghorn ferns to add some elegance and vibrancy to your decor! I’ll also recommend some of the best location options based on certain health and growth benefits so your staghorn fern thrives for years to come!
Growing Habits of A Staghorn Fern
In nature, staghorn ferns grow on tree trunks, branches, and logs. They typically don’t touch the ground, and their body is supported by their host entirely.
They don’t need to make contact with the ground because epiphytes do not obtain their nutrients from the soil. Instead, staghorn ferns use their fonds and roots to get their fill of nutrients and moisture from the air and nearby decomposing organic matter.
They thrive on dappled sunlight with the thick tree canopies serving as a natural protection from intense sunlight. Although they naturally grow on trees, staghorn ferns are non-parasitic. They won’t steal resources from the host tree or harm it in any way.
Considering their growing habits and replicating their native conditions are crucial to ensuring they survive in your home environment.
7 Best Spots for Staghorn Ferns at Home
Bringing the beauty of staghorn ferns into your home or outdoor garden is one thing. But keeping it alive and thriving is another. Their location can greatly influence how well your staghorn ferns grow and how long they last in a foreign environment.
Here are the seven best spots for hanging staghorn ferns:
1. Chain It On A Tree
If you want to give your staghorn fern the all-natural treatment, why not hang it from a tree? The plant’s uniquely shaped fronds will stand out from the background foliage and add some charm to the lone tree.
You also won’t have to worry too much about optimizing environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight and humidity because they’ll be pretty close to what the staghorn fern is natively used to.
Now, you will need a tree that is sizable and sturdy enough to support the weight of your staghorn fern comfortably. These ferns are quite bulky, and although they are slow-growing, they have the potential to grow to impressive sizes, which means you should only hang them on strong, adult trees.
If your staghorn fern is of more moderate weight, you can simply use a standard container with some rope to suspend it from a tree branch.
One of the benefits of opting to hang the plant from a tree is that you can accommodate staghorn ferns of much larger size and mass.
A fully grown staghorn fern can weigh as much as 300 pounds or 136 kg. For such ferns, conventional containers become non-viable, as they will likely collapse under the sheer weight of the plant sooner or later.
In this case, you should use a metal or wire container and a chain to suspend the fern from the tree. Make sure to pad the tree where it makes contact with the chain so it doesn’t dig into the tree’s bark.
2. Mount It On Your Porch
Your porch is another ideal candidate location for hanging your staghorn fern if you don’t entirely want to bring it indoors. It’s also a great way to make the front entrance of your home more pleasant and welcoming.
There’s only one thing to consider and account for when hanging your plant from a porch: sunlight exposure. See, staghorn ferns are not very tolerant of direct sunlight. In fact, intense afternoon sun can cause them considerable harm, which is something you have to be wary of.
To get a better idea of how much sun this species of plant needs, it can be helpful to think of their natural growing habitat. They grow on trees, protected by a thick overhead canopy but not too far away from sunlight.
Staghorn ferns need approximately 4 to 7 hours of indirect or filtered sunlight daily. They can also make do with a few hours of direct sunlight, but they will dry out if left exposed to direct sun for too long.
Therefore, you should hang your staghorn fern further back onto your porch wall so that it doesn’t remain exposed to the direct sun for more than a few hours.
The morning sunlight hours are the best. The afternoon sun is dangerous and to be protected from.
Don’t worry about a lack of sun since your staghorn fern will be able to make use of the reflected sunlight porches tend to receive plenty of.
You can bring your staghorn fern fully outdoors during the fall if you live in a temperate area. Since water loss slows down, direct sun won’t be as much of an issue, and the sunlight is less intense during the fall.
However, bring your fern indoors when nighttime temperatures are expected to fall below 50 °F (10 °C). Staghorn ferns are not frost-hardy and will likely suffer winter damage.
3. Hang It In Your Living Room
Let’s be honest—we love staghorn ferns for their decorative capacity.
Their ability to acquire nutrients and moisture from the air gives you much more flexibility in how to grow them. Unlike other plants, staghorn ferns can be grown on slabs of wood or burlap.
If you’re looking to impress friends, visitors, and guests the next time they come around, consider hanging your staghorn fern in your living room.
Even if you already have an indoor collection of plants, the staghorn fern will stand out because of its unique fronds.
You probably already know this if you’re into indoor growing, but there are also some health benefits to having indoor plants. Improved air quality and cooler temperatures are two of the more notable ones. These benefits are minor, but they add up when you bring in multiple plants.
Moreover, I should mention that, according to the ASPCA, staghorn ferns are non-toxic to both humans and common household pets. So even if you have an energetic cat that likes jumping on to things, you won’t be putting them in danger of toxicity by bringing this plant indoors.
4. Display It On Your Balcony
Balconies are yet another great place to hang your staghorn fern. Like the porch, you’ll have to consider sunlight exposure and position the plant accordingly.
If you like spending time on your balcony and want something to enhance the experience a little bit more, consider hanging a staghorn fern up there.
Staghorn ferns can grow vertically if provided with proper support, so even the smallest balconies can host them without a problem.
5. Hang It Near A Sunny Window
As you may have noticed, my suggestions for the best places to hang your staghorn fern have so far been based on outdoor and indoor decoration.
Let’s now talk about places that offer this magnificent plant optimal environmental conditions and help it stay healthy all year round.
If you’re going to be keeping your staghorn fern indoors, I suggest hanging it next to a bright window.
While staghorn ferns enjoy the dappled light, they do need a few hours of sunlight daily. If you keep them in a dark room, they won’t grow well, will suffer from malnutrition like all other sun-deprived plants, and their resilience to environmental stresses will plummet.
Staghorn ferns also don’t respond well to artificial light sources, so the importance of sunlight needs to be stressed here.
Don’t expose the staghorn fern to direct sunlight in the summer. Keep it 4-8 feet (1.2-2.4m) away from a bright window for the best results.
6. Mount It In A Bathroom
Bathrooms are naturally more humid than the other rooms in your home, which makes them perfect for harboring staghorn ferns.
Staghorn ferns thrive in high humidity levels of around 70-80% in their native habitat, which is much higher than what the average plant needs. High humidity helps it extract nutrients and water from the surrounding air.
They will do well with 50-60% in the home environment as long as the sunlight isn’t too intense and the temperatures remain between 55 and 70 °F (13 and 21 °C). But when humidity gets too low, the staghorn fern suffers from adverse health effects, such as a loss of foliage.
If you have a room with a humidifier, great. But if not, your bathroom is a great alternative. Even if you have a humidifier, over 60% humidity can be uncomfortable to bear for humans and pets.
7. Hang It In Your Kitchen
The kitchen is on our list for the same reason the bathroom is—high relative humidity. These two rooms, particularly, are more humid than the rest of your house because water constantly flows through them.
There are plenty of other ways to increase humidity in other rooms, though. You can mist the staghorn fern or suspend it above a pebble tray. When in a pinch, you can even boil a pot of water to turn up the humidity temporarily.
High humidity reduces water loss via evaporation, which means you won’t have to water the plant as frequently—a nice side benefit.
Another advantage to growing your staghorn fern in a kitchen is that instead of throwing out leftovers and food scraps in the bin, you can conveniently use them as fertilizer for the plant.
Banana peels, for example, are great natural fertilizers that will add to the organic content in your potting media, and staghorn ferns love organic matter. They also have a good dose of phosphorus and potassium that your plant can benefit from.
You may have heard that coffee grounds make for great on-the-spot organic fertilizer too. Well, the efficacy of using coffee grounds as fertilizer has recently come under skepticism.