December holidays are great for getting creative with your kids. Here are 7 easy steps to make your own staghorn mount reindeer decoration.
Like orchids, the staghorn fern (Platycerium) is an epiphyte, which means they do not require soil to grow but attach to and gain nutrients from other plants, while not harming the host plant. They have two sets of leaves that grow, sterile and fertile. The sterile leaves usually form a flat shield that covers the roots and helps it attach to a support. While they might look like they are dead — they aren’t. Do not pick these leaves off! The fertile leaves emerge from the centre of the shield-like leaves and form the staghorn ‘antlers’ that gives this fern its name.
After just a short trip to your local GCA Garden Centre, you can make this gorgeous mounted reindeer staghorn fern to add some holiday cheer to your home this Christmas. Why not make more than one? They are stunning as gifts.
All you will need is the following:
Mounting A Staghorn Fern
First things first, you will want to set the hook that will attach to the wall. Whatever you decide to use is up to you and the mounting piece you decide on, but begin with placing that before anything else. We used two nails and a piece of twine, but you may prefer a picture frame hook.
Next, grab your nails and hammer in 4 to 6 small nails in a square or circular shape where you will be mounting the staghorn onto your chosen piece of wood. This will secure the plant on the mount.
Before you place the plant, it is important to loosen and prune the roots some. This helps better absorb moisture in its new environment as well as adapt to the new surface it will call home. After pruning make sure to water the plant.
Once you have pruned the plant, place the fern in the middle of the circle of nails. We also took into account the direction of leaves. By considering these details it will make the final presentation feel right. There is no wrong way, but sometimes one side of the plant will look better than another.
Now, grab the moss and pull apart a chunk, soak it slightly and make sure to squeeze out any drippy moisture. Wrap the moss around the base of the plant to contain the dirt and roots of the fern.
Once fully wrapped, cut a long piece of twine and tie a knot on a nail. Criss-cross the twine over the base of the plant and wrap it around the tops of the nails with each cross. This will be the only security the plant and moss have so make sure to hit every nail and wrap around the heads well. You could also use fishing line or wire. Choose whatever fits you and your style. You may need to secure some of the leaves together at the base and angle them in the correct position to look most like reindeer antlers
Once the plant is well secured it will almost be ready to hang…. but first you need to add the reindeers face. Colour, decorate and assemble your chosen reindeer face, and/or eyes and nose. Now secure the face in the best location on your staghorn mount board so that the leaves of the fern resemble the reindeer’s antlers. We used pins and double-sided tape to secure our reindeer face and/or eyes and ball ornament nose.
Hang your reindeer staghorn mount in a prime position in your home to add holiday cheer.
To keep your plant healthy, check the moss every so often to make sure the moss is moist. The dryer your home, the more often you will need to water it. Make sure to also place it in a brighter room to allow enough sunlight, however it should not have direct sunlight. When you do water, spray them to give them a rain-like experience (be careful not to spray your reindeer face).
Christmas beetles are seasonal and are generally active during the warmer months, especially during the festive season. A sure sign that it is officially summer, is when the Christmas beetle is in sight. This centimetre long, brown, nocturnal insect is harmless to humans. However, they enjoy lacing the leaves of roses, Dahlias and other flowers.
Christmas beetles have a vibrant brown colour with the larvae white and C-shaped, similar to those of flower chafers and stag beetles. The adults emerge close to the Christmas period.
By the time you see the Christmas beetles, they are at the end of their life cycle. They love to feed on rose and tree leaves (especially eucalyptus), leaving a zigzag cut in their midst, shredding them as they go on their feeding frenzy. The adults lay 20 -30 egg during November to January preferably in compost heaps or well-composted beds. The larvae live in the soil for almost a year feeding on decaying organic matter and plant roots.
What does this mean for me/ my plants?
Christmas beetles feed on most plants and are a serious threat to your garden.
An organic pest control method to deter beetles from chewing on your plants place a lamp near your garden bed with a bucket of oily water underneath the lamp. The switched-on lamp will attract the beetles away from the plants, and towards to light, they will then drop into the water below.
Alternatively, place a bug zapper close to the garden bed. You can also treat your compost, soil with a dusting powder which can be watered into the ground.