Last week saw some pretty fierce winds in Southern California. The damage at home was the toppling of a potted kalanchoe–no big issue there–and the falling over of a big staghorn fern we’ve been growing for the last couple of decades. In falling over the plant detached from its mount and was a green and brown heap on the ground.
A large specimen staghorn is a thrilling sight, and two decades’ familiarity has given me a certain attachment to this plant. (It’s the botanical part of the graphic at the top of my blog pages.)
In nature these plants are epiphytes, attaching themselves to tree trunks or branches for support in the way many tropical orchids do. There are reports that orchids growing this way are referred to in Central America as “parásitas,” through they, like the staghorn, use the host trees for support only and are in no way botanical vampires that suck the living essence from their hosts in the way mistletoe and dodder do.
Remounting a staghorn fern isn’t ridiculous complex, but task gets harder when the plant and support each way weigh forty pounds or more. Here’s what we did.
It was a project I was dreading, but it probably took two people less than two hours to accomplish. That includes the trip to the Home Despot to pick up some additional sphagnum. So in the end: not really a project to dread.
(And let me say thank you to Big Edna for the use of the pantyhose!)