How to Grow

Caring for Dicksonia antarctica tree ferns should be straight forward. There are very few pests and diseases which effect their growth. The main things to consider are the soil, position, watering and overwinter protection. As plants aclimatise to their surroundings they will adapt and will become more tolerant. Here is a short guide on caring for your Tasmanian tree fern.

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Feeding
To get the best out of your tree fern it is important to understand how to feed it. A newly planted tree fern should not require feeding in its first growing season as plenty of nutrients will be available to it in the surrounding soil. Once established the plant will need food as the frequent watering of the plants will soon leach the nutrients from the soil leaving it hungry! In the wild the species grows in wetland forests where the ecosystem can quickly break down compostable matter and return it to the soil, this probably isn’t the case in your garden to the same extent! Read more

Planting and Transplanting
The first thing to consider before planting or transplanting your tree fern is where you are going to plant it. The conditions which Dicksonia antarctica tree ferns do best in are sheltered spots with filtered sunlight. Although the Tasmanian tree fern will tolerate other conditions it will thrive in a still damp corner out of constant draughts. Finding this type of position will also keep the humidity higher around the plant and cut down on the amount of watering required.It is best to plant tree ferns in the spring when the soil has warmed up. I would avoid any plantings in winter as the ground maybe too cold and wet.

Once you have chosen a spot the next thing to prepare is the soil. Read more

Propagation
Ferns don’t have seeds, instead they reproduce from spores. The spores occur on the underside of fronds on established plants usually around late summer. The age that plants reach maturity and start producing spores varies but they are usually only found on plants which have started to form a trunk.

We have put together a simple ‘Five Step’ tree fern propagation guide Read more

Overwintering
Dicksonia antarctica need over winter protection if temperature falls below freezing. The trunk and crown are the most important to protect, the fronds are able to quickly re-establish in the spring. The crown is the only point from which the fern is able to produce new top growth, so it’s important that it is not exposed to temperatures that will kill those tissues. The trunk is hardier than the crown, through the insulation it receives from the roots that cover it. The trunk does still need protecting to allow the flow of water and nutrients to the crown. Read more

Watering
Arguably the most important maintenance of Dicksonia antarctica tree ferns is watering. During the summer months ensure your tree fern has water every other day, in very hot dry spells twice a day. This watering routine is not essential but the fronds on your fern will grow bigger if water is readily available. Your plant will survive most summers if only watered twice a week but unless it is in a very sheltered position it will not flourish with out more frequent water. A good supply of water when a tree fern has just been planted will encourage development of a good root system. Read more

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