How to Display Indoor Ferns

Displaying your ferns

Wooden baskets

Wooden baskets are available in the trade but you can also weave them yourself out of untreated, narrow, spruce battens about 1.5-2 cm (about ¾ in) thick.

These containers are variants on hanging containers and are very suitable for epiphytic ferns and Platycerium in particular.

How to plant in wooden baskets

Line the container with thin, non-rotting fabric so that fine particles of compost cannot fall through the gaps. Use coarse compost, such as bark compost, or orchid compost. Bed the plant loosely in the compost.

Care: Plants in wooden baskets are never watered but obtain water and nutrients through immersing.

Add fertilizer to the water for immersing depending on the requirements of the individual plant.


Fern pillar

epiphyte trunk for displaying indoor ferns

Amost all epiphytic plants are suitable for this arrangement because of their unusual and attractive eye-catching features. In addition, plants that normally grow as groundcover can be used to fill up the gaps between the ferns on the pillar, such as Selaginella, Soleirolia

Fittonia verschaeffetii or climbing ficus (Ficus pumila). For this structure you will need a very large, heavy dish or bowl that will provide a firm base for the pillar, a section of plastic pipe as the stable nucleus of the pillar, rust-free, fine-mesh wire, moss, compost, a cardboard tube and a wooden stick.


• Form the wire mesh into a cylinder. The thicker the cylinder, the greater its stability!

• Stand the cardboard roll inside the wire cylinder (only needed as a filling aid), and stand the plastic pipe in the centre of the former.

• From the bottom upwards, place layers of moss between the cardboard roll and the wire mesh and press it down lightly by hand so that the outer surface of the moss can be seen through the wire mesh.

• Now insert the compost between the plastic pipe and the cardboard roll. Lightly press it in, using the stick, and make sure that no pockets of empty space remain.

• While inserting the compost, gradually draw the cardboard roll upwards.

epiphyte trunk for displaying indoor ferns 2

• If you want to place a plant right at the top of the pillar, make the plastic pipe a little shorter than the roll of wire mesh and the compost layers.

• Firmly anchor the pillar into the vessel used as a base with the help of Hortag or stones. Additional ferns can be inserted in this medium too.

How to plant

• Cut open a few of the wire strands and push the wire and moss apart.

• Insert the rootstock of the plant.

• Carefully push the wire together again.

Care: Thoroughly mist the pillar of plants once daily. At fortnightly intervals add a liquid compound fertilizer to the misting water (half the recommended dose!).


Epiphyte trunk

You will need a piece of tree trunk or a large, gnarled branch with forks, moss, thin, rust-proof wire, a large, heavy pot with a firm base, cement and stones or Hortag. All of the epiphytic ferns that can be used for a pillar are also suitable for this arrangement. Species with aboveground rhizomes which creep along the trunk, such as Davallia and Polypodium, are particularly attractive. The lower parts of the trunk, where conditions are always a little moister, can also be used for attaching terrestrial ferns like Doryopteris pedata or Pteris.


• Cement the branch or trunk into a container.

• Cover the surface with stones, Hortag or moss.

• Remove the ferns from their pots. In the case of very large rootstocks, remove a little of the compost.

• Wrap moss around the roots and secure this with the wire.

• Using the wire, secure all plants prepared in this way to the trunk or branch, preferably above a thickened knot or in a fork so that the wire cannot slip downwards. Use extra moss to help to fix the plant. The thicker the layer of moss, the less the risk of the roots drying out. The plants should be firmly secured but without tying the roots and rhizomes too tightly.

Variation: Individual plants can also be tied to a small piece of wood or section of cork and hung up.

Tips on care: Plants on large epiphyte trunks will flourish best if the entire trunk is enclosed in a glass case or enclosed plant picture window. If you cannot provide such an arrangement, you will need to spray the entire trunk at least once daily thoroughly or, better still, several Imes daily. Small specimens can be immersed in water baths. Fertilize in the same way as for the fern pillar.

23. May 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants, Indoor Ferns | Tags: | Comments Off on How to Display Indoor Ferns


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