Make your own reindeer staghorn this holiday season DIY Activity - Decorating a staghorn fern

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:

  • Staghorn fern
  • Mounting board – We used a split log, but you could use any flat piece of wood
  • A bag of green moss
  • Some small nails
  • Wall mounting device of your choice – this may depend on the surface you decide to mount on
  • Twine, fishing line or wire
  • Hammer and possibly a screw driver
  • Red Christmas ball ornament
  • A reindeer face cut out and /or winking eyes
  • Coloured markers, crayons, pencils or paint to decorate your reindeer face
  • Glue, pins, double sided tape

Mounting A Staghorn Fern

Step one

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.

Be aware of the Christmas/Brown Beetle Gogga of the Month

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.

Identification

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.

Signs/ Symptoms

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.

Suggested Action
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.

Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for the best expert advice on which products to use to get rid of this pest. Click here for more gardening tips and trends or join the conversation on our Facebook page.