Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Staghorn Fern String Planter - DIY

String gardens are popping up all over Pinterest these days. The concept is pretty simple, really.  It's a hanging container with plants in it!  But what sets a string garden apart is that the container used for planting isn't an ordinary container and they're usually hung in groups.

Most of the string gardens I've seen are made with Kokedama (moss balls) or grapevine spheres. All sorts of plants are planted in them, even small trees. Trees look especially stunning because they're usually hung low and appear to be suspended in mid-air if the "string" used is nylon fishing line. They can be a bit tricky though, because they're top-heavy, so proper balance and support is important.

I've wanted to make a string planter of my own, and I had a number of grapevine spheres that I've used as decorator items in my home for years. So I took one of those and in less than 30 minutes, I planted it up and hung it.  Though mine isn't made using kokedama, the effect is pretty much the same and it really couldn't be easier.

DIY String Planter


  • hollow grapevine sphere
  • sheet moss
  • potting soil
  • scissors
  • 25-lb. strength nylon fishing line
  • plant of your choice

First, cut an opening in the grapevine sphere, large enough that you can fit the root ball of the plant inside it.

Next, line the inside with sheet moss, keeping the greener side facing the outside of the sphere, because it will show through a little bit when you're finished.

Put a small amount of potting soil inside the sphere unless your root ball takes up the entire volume of the sphere.  You should have some space to be filled around the root ball to allow for a bit of growth.

I used a clump of staghorn ferns (Platycerium sp.) that needed to be repotted because they were outgrowing their plastic nursery pot and they fit nicely inside the grapevine sphere.  Once I had the plant potted up, I took lengths of the nylon fishing line and tied them around the top edge of the sphere, making sure they were secure enough to hold the weight of it when suspended.

After soaking the ball and letting it drain, I gathered the "strings" of fishing line at the top and tied a knot at the length I preferred for the sphere to hang from the ceiling - about 30 inches.

After hanging the sphere, I tucked in some sheet moss around the top edges to give it a more finished look.

This staghorn fern has been living in our bathroom for the last three months and it loves the more humid environment there.  I put it in the shower periodically and wet it down, and I'll still be able to do the same thing with this container. I'll have to monitor it more closely since it will dry out more quickly in the grapevine sphere than it did in the plastic pot.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a fun idea. The next time you pot up your Staghorn you ought to try using orchid bark instead of soil. My staghorn grew by leaps and bounds when I substituted orchid bark instead of soil. It was an accident (I was out of soil and had bark) that I tried that but the results were great. I think bark is more natural for the fern.

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Kylee. I love it and I especially love the staghorn fern in it. I've wanted to grow a staghorn for the longest time, but I've read that they can be a challenge and since they aren't inexpensive, I was afraid to chance to it. Sounds like humidity is the key.

Jenny said...

I love this - it's so beautiful. I have the perfect corner in my bathroom to try it, with a hook already in the ceiling.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ That's a great idea, Lisa! I think if this were a solid container, it would be more of an issue, but the grapevine container dries out quickly. I'm actually more concerned about that than I am with it being too wet. Staghorns are epiphytes, so your bark idea is a good one, especially when growing in a regular pot.

Erin ~ Yes, they love humidity. Please see Lisa's comment above and my response for more on growing Staghorns. :-)

Jenny ~ Go for it! :-)

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