Not so long ago, I came across an interior design product that seemed rather unusual to me. It seemed to mimic those animal heads that hunters would display as trophies on their walls, but in the form of a plant instead.
The business behind her is called Staghorntuary, founded by a self-taught gardener who needed a way to fill his house with plants, but didn’t have the floor space for it.
So she hung them on the walls
After leaving her old job as editor at a local publication last May, Key had no idea what her passion was. After 3 months of unemployment, she fell in love with the plantation unexpectedly. Beginning with herbs and edible plants, his vegetable garden quickly grew into a small farm.
This momentary hope for floriculture did not last long, however; Unforeseen circumstances forced Key and his partner to leave their landholdings to move into a skyscraper. This meant that Key no longer had the space to cultivate his garden, there was only a small balcony left in their new condo.
But when one door closes, another opens. A new light was rekindled in her when she discovered salad dressing ferns in a nursery, which can be mounted on walls to save floor space.
“Most salad dressing ferns are sold in jars when you get them from a local nursery, and they don’t shine as well as when they are grown (this is how they naturally grow in nature),” he said. Key told Vulcan Post. From that point on, the avid gardener would mount these ferns on wooden planks and start filling the walls of her condo with more of them.
Wanting to share the beauty of ferns with the public, Key launched Staghorntuary at Christmas 2020.
Balance fern and wood
Key sources the plants both locally and internationally, depending on the availability of the species she is looking for. However, finding and carving the wood planks was one of the biggest challenges in the process for her.
She described: “It’s one of the busiest parts, especially in hot weather, because the place where we get our antlers doesn’t have a roof! And after bringing back all the boards, we will cut them to the dimensions we want on our humble balcony.
As each fern and plank of wood have their unique qualities, Key doesn’t just glue them carelessly. Each design is meticulously matched with complementary patterns, shapes and sizes. “The general balance is taken into account when it comes to climbing to create the most beautiful profession,” she says proudly.
The founder said she did not have a definitive number of her total capital for the business, as she simply started Staghorntuary by being a deer horn collector herself. “I’m just someone who bought plants as an enthusiast, but slowly changed direction to become a brand owner and seller due to the excessive amount of plants I owned at the time,” a- she asserted.
The first followers of Staghorntuary products have so far been fans of interior design and plants in general. The brand has seen repeat customers who are also becoming deer horn collectors, which Key finds is a good sign for the company’s customer acquisition, setting it on track for its short-term goal of increase awareness of ferns.
In the long term, Key hopes to open his own store specializing in deer horn to sell his designs, both unassembled (starting price at RM39) and mounted (starting at RM79).
Dressing ferns are epiphytes – an organism that grows on other plants and requires a lot of air circulation and bright light. This is why mounting them on walls near an open window gives them the best chance of growing healthily, as it mimics the way they grow in nature. At the same time, no actual floor space is needed.
Key also noted that mounted deer horns are easier to maintain as they are less likely to be overwatered, as opposed to when sitting in a pot. It’s simple to know when a staghorn fern should be watered as well, as its fronds (leaves) will drop off, appear limp, or start to wrinkle and turn brown.
To water them, it is advisable to use a long-tipped watering can in an area where water can drain, allowing the drops to flow slowly over the layer of moss or coconut shell (medium) until that it is completely saturated.
“After watering, let it stay in the bathroom or sink until the excess water stops flowing so you can hang it on the wall again,” Key recommended.
Unlike other houseplants, staghorn ferns don’t need to be cut, according to Key. “But if you think a particular aged slingshot doesn’t look right, you can cut it too.” Otherwise, it will fall off naturally when its nutrients have been fully reabsorbed by the plant, ”she advised.
With proper care, deer horns can grow to be huge over the years, which can cause them to fall off their mount when they get too heavy. Therefore, Staghorntuary provides reassembly services to customers for a starting fee of RM55.
As much as I am intrigued by plants and their beauty, I am also an incompetent plant parent who cannot even keep my cacti alive. Under my care, he would turn brown or shrink into himself, hopeless and ready to go.
So I had to ask Key if these deer horns were suitable for beginners. She replied, “There are some species that I would recommend for beginners for sure because they are less picky and more forgiving. But they are certainly not as durable as snake plants or cacti.
“I guess it’s the same with all houseplants. The biggest challenge would be watering, whether over or underwatering.
Although, Key assured that with any new plant there will always be a learning curve to caring for it, and it’s no different with salad dressing ferns.
- You can read more about Staghorntuary here.
- You can read other articles on plants that we have written here.
Featured Image Credit: Staghorntuary
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