Archive | November 2012

Mounting Your Own Staghorn Ferns

Unfortunately… or fortunately, this post might not be as exciting or nearly as dirty sounding as the title. Staghorn Ferns are one of my favorite plants. I like them so much I brought the three I had all the way from San Diego to Minneapolis in the back seat of my car. Two of my Staghorns I rescued from the trash at work and the other one, my first one, I bought at the Home Depot. Usually when I have seen them for sale they are potted. Staghorn ferns, like Orchids, are epyphitic, meaning they grow on other plants, trees or objects. The reason they are typically mounted and wall hanging is that it more closely resembles their natural growing condition and gives them the best opportunity to thrive. I won’t bore you with the details but for a full run down on Staghorn Fern care, click here.

Back to the task at the hand. If you’ve got a potted Staghorn fern that needs a new vertical home, here’s how to make that happen.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Potted Staghorn Fern
  • Wood
  • Peat Moss
  • Sheet Moss
  • Monofilament (Fishing Line)

Here’s a step-by-step photo set for the more visually inclined and instructions below.

1. To start off with, you need something to mount your Staghorn on. I’ve seen versions where the plant is mounted to all kinds of substrate but I settled on cedar. Since cedar has a rough grain it helps give the roots something to grab on to over time. I cut 5 pieces of 2″ X 3/4″ cedar at 10″ long, essentially creating a square when all five pieces are lined up.

2. Cut two additional boards a little smaller for the back. These will become your cross braces and will give you space to hang your plant with a few screws and wire while still allowing it to sit flat against the wall. Once you have everything cut you will screw through the back of these boards to connect all the front pieces together.

3. Using a triangle I laid out my final shape. You can go for any shape you like or leave it square. I like the hexagon shape because it’s simple but a little different. It helps to number the pieces on the back so that you remember how they fit together once they’re cut.

4. With all the pieces cut you can now lay it face down and screw through the back to connect everything together. This is not the most glamorous photo but helps illustrate how everything works. I used two additional screws and wire for hanging. Note that you can see the monofilament crisscrossed all over the back.

5. Now that your construction is complete you can move on to getting the fern onto the mount. (Sorry but no photos from here on out. My hands were too dirty to operate the camera.) Remove any loose dirt from your potted plant making sure not to tear off any roots.

6. With your mount laying flat on a table, create a small bed of peat moss on top of it, just a little larger than the size of your root ball.

7. Set your fern on top of the bed of peat moss and pack a little more peat moss around it. This helps to keep the roots from drying out.

8. Cover all the peat moss with sheet moss. The idea is that the sheet moss holds everything in place once you secure it with monofilament.

9. Secure a long piece of monofilament to one of your screws on the back and then wrap up and over the root ball and moss, making sure not to secure any leaves. Wrap and wrap until you’re sure the plant is secure on the mount.

You’re done! Find a home for your fern where it gets bright but not direct sunlight. I soak it in the shower once a week and spray it with a spray bottle in between. They like the humidity of the misting but also need to dry out between watering.

Here’s the final product:

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

Kokedama Style Hanging Plant Balls

I love plants. It might be obvious from some of my previous posts. Sometimes though, finding table space with adequate light is a challenge. The house we live in only has two south facing windows and they’re not very large. When you’re at a loss for space, going vertical seems like the most logical solution. I’ve seen lots of great solutions for vertical gardening but they wouldn’t work because of the lighting hurdle, so getting the plants into the window and closer to the light was the ultimate goal. I had seen a few DIY tutorials on creating hanging plant balls similar to these but ultimately ended up doing it my own way. I started off with a small potted plant for this version. In another version of the project I used a larger plant that I divided into three smaller pieces.
Here are the materials you’ll need. (Everything was purchased at the Home Depot.)

– Potted plant (I chose plants that only required lighter watering)

Light gauge wire

Sheet moss

– Jute, Twine or whatever you want to use to hang your plants.

Ceiling Hook

Here’s a step-by-step photo set for the more visually inclined and instructions below.

1. Cut four pieces of wire long enough that when bent in half will give you enough room to wrap up and around the plant root ball with room to twist them together. (Using a lighter gauge wire that is flexible enough to bend with your fingers and a pair of pliers is ideal.)  Bend all four pieces at the center (like you’re folding a piece of paper in half) and using a pencil or paint brush just twist the four strands until they’re connected.

2. Spread the wires out like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Since we folded the wire in half we now have 8 pieces to arrange evenly in the circle. You could choose to either leave the loop hanging below the root ball (I thought about hanging something fun from the loop but chose to bend it inside to keep it clean looking) or bend it so it’s facing inward and will not ultimately be seen. Once you’re wires are spaced evenly, set them on a bowl that’s a little larger than the plant’s root ball.

3. Now just bend the whole set of wires down into the bowl and bend the pieces that hang out of the bowl down over the edge.

4. Set a piece of sheet moss into the bowl. Make sure it’s large enough to cover roughly the bottom half of the root ball.

5. Use another piece of sheet most to cover the top portion of the root ball. Wrap the pieces of wire up around the top of the root ball and gather them together. Using pliers, twist them together the same way you did in step one. Wrap them into a loop so you have something to attach your hanging material to. Make sure to not wrap your wire over plant stems and watch out for pokey pieces of wire!

6. Now use whatever material you want to hang your plant with. In this version, I made a macrame style cradle for it to sit in but in other versions I simply attached the Jute to the loop of wire.

I know this is a lot of instructions but it really is very easy once you get the hang of it. Here is the final product:

And here is another version I did:

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

Easy iPad Control Center

The iPad is a great tool to have in the kitchen for having recipes handy or just listening to music. We wanted it out out of the way but within reach so mounting it on the wall seemed like the most logical solution. Also, wall mounting it meant we could use it as a digital picture frame. Since we didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a fancy device we decided to just make our own. We used a left over piece of 3/4″ X 3/4″ trim and another piece of moulding with a lip so the iPad wouldn’t slide off.

A few screws and wood glue were all that was needed. We finished it off with a coat of paint to match the wall. Easy.

Here’s the final product.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

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