Not that long ago I came across a home decor product that looked rather unusual to me. It seemed to imitate those animal heads that hunters displayed as trophies on their walls, but instead in the form of a plant.
The business behind it is called Staghorntuary and was started by a self-taught gardener who needed a way to fill her home with plants but didn't have enough space.
So she hung them on walls
After Key quit her previous job as editor-in-chief at a local publication last May, she had no idea what her passion was. 3 months after unemployment, she unexpectedly fell in love with planting. Starting with herbs and edible plants, her home garden soon turned into a small farm.
This current hope for floriculture did not last long, however. Instead, unforeseen circumstances forced Key and her partner out of their property and into a skyscraper. That meant that Key no longer had the space to tend her garden, but only had a small balcony in her new apartment.
But when one door closes, another opens. A new light was rekindled in her when she found out about staghorn ferns in a child's room, which can be mounted on walls to save space.
Wall decoration with a life of its own / Photo credit: Staghorntuary
"Most staghorn ferns are sold in pots when you get them from a local nursery, and they don't glow as well as when they're mounted (that's how they grow in the wild, of course)," Key told Vulcan Post. From then on, the avid gardener mounted these ferns on wooden boards and began filling the walls of her apartment with more of them.
Key wanted to share the beauty of the ferns with the public and launched Staghorntuary on Christmas 2020.
Balancing fern and wood
Depending on the availability of the species sought, the plants are of crucial importance both locally and internationally. However, sourcing and designing the wooden planks was one of the bigger challenges of the process for them.
She described, “It's one of the most hectic parts, especially in hot weather, because the place where we get our forest doesn't have a roof! And after we've brought all the boards back, we'll put them on our modest balcony according to the sizes we want to cut. "
Since every fern and every wooden board has its own unique properties, Key doesn't just carelessly glue them together. Each design is carefully tailored to complementary patterns, shapes and sizes. "The overall balance is taken into account during assembly to create the most beautiful craft," she said proudly.
Of course, you can also put them on tables / Photo credit: Mirxunico / Staghorntuary
The founder announced that she does not have a definitive amount of her total capital for the company as she started Staghorntuary simply as a stag horn collector. "I'm just someone who bought the plants as an enthusiast, but slowly changed my direction as a brand owner and seller because of the excess amount of plants I owned at the time," she affirmed.
Early adopters of Staghorntuary products were interior designers and general plant enthusiasts. The brand has seen returning customers turn into stag horn collectors too. Key thinks this is a good sign for the company's customer acquisition and puts them on track for their short-term goal of raising awareness about the ferns.
In the long term, Key hopes to open its own specialized staghorn shop to sell its creations, both unassembled (starting price RM39) and assembled (from RM79).
An aesthetic that is easy to assemble
Every staghorn starts small / Photo credit: Staghorntuary
Staghorn ferns are epiphytes – an organism that grows on other plants and requires a lot of air circulation and bright light. Because of this, mounting on walls near an open window provides the best possible chance of growing healthily as it mimics the way they grow in nature. At the same time, no actual floor space is required.
Key also noted that mounted deer horns are easier to care for because they are less likely to become overwatered than when they are in a pot. It's easy to tell when a staghorn fern needs watering as well, as its fronds (leaves) begin to droop or look limp.
To water them, it is advisable to use a long-tipped watering can in an area where water can drain so that the drops slowly drip onto the layer of moss or coconut shell (medium) until it is completely saturated.
"After watering, leave it in the bathroom or sink until the excess water stops dripping so you can hang it on the wall again," Key recommended.
Unlike other houseplants, Key says staghorn ferns don't need to be pruned. "But if you think a certain aged frond doesn't look good, you can trim it. If not, it will naturally fall off once its nutrients are fully absorbed by the plant," she advised.
With proper care, the deer horns can get huge over the years, which can cause them to fall off their mount if they get too heavy. Therefore, Staghorntuary offers customers remounting services for an entry fee of RM55.
Some cabbage looking / Photo credit: Staghorntuary
As much as I am fascinated by plants and their beauty, I am an incompetent plant parent who cannot even keep my cacti alive. Under my care it would turn brown or shrivel up, hopeless and ready to go.
So I had to ask Key if these deer horns are beginner friendly. She replied, “There are a few types that I would certainly recommend to beginners as they are less fussy and more forgiving. But they are certainly not as long-lived as snake plants or cacti. "
"I think it's the same for all houseplants. The biggest challenge would be irrigation, either over or under watered."
Though Key affirmed that with any new plant there will always be a learning curve to care for it, and staghorn ferns are no different.
- You can find out more about Staghorntuary here.
- You can read other plant related articles that we wrote here.
Selected image source: Staghorntuary