Tree Ferns

Tree Ferns

Dicksonia Antartica are commonly know as tree ferns are fantastic, unlike any other fern, especially when you see them in the wild. If left on their own they can reach up to 4-6 metres. But don't panic they are very slow growing only making about 10cm of growth each year, forming a bit more of the thick fibrous, chunky stem with rosettes of arching, deeply divided, glossy green fronds from spring through to early winter.

Growing tree ferns is easy, but there are a few tips we can give. They are cut from the forest with a chain saw and therefore have no roots when they come to you.  Pick a nice shady or semi shady spot and plant in the ground deep enough to keep them stable; about one sixth of its' trunk should be enough.

As they will have no roots to start with, you should water into the crown, so that the water just runs out of the top and down the trunk. Do this about once a week in dry weather for the first season. Within a year or so it will make its' own new roots and take care of its' own water.

Now in "normal winters" it is quite common in suburban gardens for the fronds to stay green all year. That it is not a problem, leave them alone unless they look ugly. Up north or in more exposed gardens, as soon as jack frost has blackened the fronds in November cut them off down to the crown and pack some fleece or sack in the crown and wrap the top 30-60cm with some more sack or fleece.  We top ours with a hat like an upturned plastic plant pot to keep it all in place.  In spring, around the end of March - mid April uncover the top and wait for the magic to begin again. 

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