Not too long ago, I came across a home decor product that looked rather unusual to me. It seemed to imitate those animal heads which hunters would display as trophies on their walls, but in the form of a plant instead.
The business behind it is called Staghorntuary, founded by a self-taught gardener who needed a way to fill her home with plants, but didn’t have the floor space for it.
So She Hung Them On Walls
After leaving her former job as a chief editor at a local publication last May, Key was left clueless about what her passion was. 3 months into unemployment, she unexpectedly fell in love with planting. Beginning with herbs and edible plants, her home garden soon became a little farm.
This momentary hopefulness for floriculture didn’t last long though; unforeseen circumstances forced Key and her partner out of their landed property into a highrise instead. That meant Key no longer had the space to cultivate her garden, only left with a small balcony in their new condo.
But when one door closes, another opens. A new light was rekindled in her upon learning about staghorn ferns at a nursery, which can be mounted on walls to save floor space.
“Most common staghorn ferns are sold in pots when you get them from a local nursery, and they do not get to shine as well compared to when they are mounted (which is how they naturally grow in the wild),” Key told Vulcan Post. From then on, the avid gardener would mount these ferns on wooden planks, and began filling her condo’s walls with more of them.
Wanting to share the ferns’ beauty with the public, Key launched Staghorntuary on the Christmas of 2020.
Balancing Fern And Wood
Key sources the plants both locally and internationally, depending on the availability of the species she’s looking for. Though, sourcing and sculpting the wooden planks was notably one of the bigger challenges of the process for her.
She described, “It’s one of the most hectic parts, especially under the hot weather, because the place where we get our woods has no roof! And after bringing back all the planks, we will cut it according to the sizes we want on our humble balcony.”
As each fern and wooden plank have their unique qualities, Key doesn’t just carelessly stick them together. Each design is matched meticulously to complementary patterns, shapes, and sizes. “The overall balance is all considered when it comes to mounting to create the utmost beautiful craft,” she proudly said.
The founder shared that she doesn’t have a definitive number of her total capital for the business, as she simply began Staghorntuary from being a staghorn collector herself. “I’m just someone who purchased the plants as an enthusiast but slowly changed direction into a brand owner and seller due to the excess amount of plants I owned at the time,” she affirmed.
Early adopters of Staghorntuary’s products have thus far been interior decor and general plant enthusiasts. The brand has seen recurring customers who are also becoming staghorn collectors, which Key finds is a good sign for the venture’s customer acquisition, putting her on track for her short-term goal of increasing awareness about the ferns.
In the long term, Key hopes to open up her own specialised staghorn shop to sell her creations, both unmounted (starting price of RM39) and mounted (starting at RM79).
An Easy Aesthetic To Mount
Staghorn ferns are epiphytes—an organism that grows on other plants and requires lots of air circulation and bright light. This is why mounting them on walls close to an open window gives them their best possible chance of growing healthily, since it mimics the way they grow in nature. At the same time, no actual floor space is needed.
Key also noted that mounted staghorns are easier to care for as they have a lower chance of being over-watered, as opposed to when they’re sitting inside a pot. It’s simple to tell when a staghorn fern needs to be watered too, as its fronds (leaves) will droop, look limp, or start to wrinkle and brown.
To water them, it’s advisable to use a long-tipped watering can in an area where water can drain, allowing drips to slowly trickle onto the moss or coco husk layer (medium) until it’s fully saturated.
“After watering, do let it stay in the bathroom or in the sink until the excess water stops dripping so that you can hang it back on the wall again,” Key recommended.
Unlike other houseplants, staghorn ferns don’t need trimming, according to Key. “But if you think a particular aged frond doesn’t look good you can trim it too. If not, it will drop naturally when its nutrients have been fully reabsorbed by the plant,” she advised.
With proper care, the staghorns can become huge over the years, which may cause them to fall out of their mount when they get too heavy. Hence, Staghorntuary provides customers remounting services for a starting fee of RM55.
As much as I’m intrigued by plants and their beauty, I’m an incompetent plant parent that can’t even keep my cacti alive. When under my care, it would turn brown or shrink into itself, hopeless and ready to go.
So, I had to ask Key if these staghorns were beginner-friendly. She replied, “There are some species I would recommend for beginners for sure, as they are less fussy and more forgiving. But they are certainly not as durable as snake plants or cacti.”
“I guess it’s the same with all houseplants. The biggest challenge would be the watering, either over- or underwatering.”
Although, Key reassured that with any new plant, there will always be a learning curve in caring for them, and it’s no different with staghorn ferns.
- You can learn more about Staghorntuary here.
- You can read other plant-related articles we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Staghorntuary