Tree Fern Hints and Tips

Tree Fern Hints and Tips

Tree ferns are amazing plants that create a wide canopy of verdant green fronds. They are native to Australia and Tasmania and grow happily in our climate at the rate of roughly 1 inch per year as long as they have some winter fleece protection. Our tree ferns are a variety called Dicksonia antarctica (Soft Tree Fern) which is the most popular and easy to grow out of all tree ferns.


IMPORTANT: If you have just bought your tree fern and there are still risk of frosts, you will need to fleece it straight away.


Where should I grow my Tree Fern?

Tree ferns are happiest growing in shade, but they can grow in sun as long as they are very well watered. They dislike exposed or windy positions.


Winter protection

Your tree fern will need protecting in winter in all but the mildest areas of the UK. It is most important to protect the top of the trunk where the fronds emerge until the last frosts (usually around late April) – it cannot be allowed to freeze. In the winter the fronds will die down but do not cut them off until the following spring. Fold the fronds in before wrapping up your tree fern for winter. Pack the top of the crown with straw and then wrap round well with horticultural fleece.


How do I plant it?

Tree Ferns can be planted in a pot or in the ground. The bottom part of the trunk needs to be buried enough so that the tree fern is stable. Apart from the very small sizes which are pretty sturdy, it is a good idea to stake your tree fern to hold it firmly.


Can I plant it in a pot?

Tree ferns will live happily for years in pots. This is often a good idea for smaller sizes (which tend to be a bit more tender than larger sizes) as you can move the whole pot into a greenhouse or shed during the winter. Don’t let the pot dry out – it is a good idea to stand it in a tray of water every now and again.


What type of soil should I use?

Tree Ferns like slightly acidic, humus-rich soil. We recommend using a mixture of 50% ericaceous compost, 25% leaf mould and 25% general purpose compost (preferable peat-free). Leaf mould is just leaves that have rotted down – you can buy it or go foraging under trees!


How much watering and feeding does it need?

Tree ferns need a lot of water and It is vital to water your tree fern regularly, particularly in the first 6 months while it is getting established. Water into the top of the crown and the base regularly and also spray the trunk with water. The trunk is made up of aerial roots and they will appreciate a drink too. (If your tree fern isn’t getting enough water in the growing season, you may find that the fronds reduce in size over the years).

Feed your tree fern with Tree Fern Feed regularly during the growing season (we sell this). Follow the instructions and water the feed into the crown of the plant.






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