Dicksonia antarctica or 'Australian Tree Fern'
Also known as the 'Soft Tree Fern' Dicksonia antarctica is widely known as The Australian Tree Fern and is one of the easier tree ferns to grow in the UK.
These wonderful ferns have been imported into Britain since the Victorian era and generally are fully hardy once established, however we do suggest that this is true only in the milder areas or in sheltered positions.
These are an evergreen fern, and in the natural environment do grow in areas subject to snow, not however extended freezes. They are a tall growing fern easily reaching 10m in a rainforest situaution, however in the UK, in cultivation rarely more than 4 - 5 m over a long period.
In the UK Dicksonia antarctica can be deciduous, in cold areas it will drop all of its fronds, and then come back to life in spring. In very cold areas, with extended freezes or frosts the plants may die.
Reaching over 6m with a large canopies Dicksonia antarctica adds an exotic touch to any garden and they look particularly attractive when planted next to streams.
How to Plant Dicksonia antarctica
Naturally occurring in forested areas Dicksonia antarctica prefers dappled shade and a humus rich moist but well drained soil. Full sun in the morning seems to be OK, but hot afternoon sun can cause drying and you may need to water during long dry spells.
Steps for planting Dicksonia antarctica
- New plants will need watering regularly, in warm weather every day, as they establish stronger root systems watering will become less frequent.
- All tree ferns should be watered on the trunks and at ground level, not the crown or foliage.
- Younger plants will need to be protected during winter, a conservatory will do the job.
- You can cover the plants during periods of extreme cold until they reach around 1.5m. Protect the crowns from freezing conditions and ask for complete instructions on overwintering in your area and climate before you buy any tree fern.
You can buy Dicksonia Antarctics Ferns from the following nurseries.
LONG ACRE PLANTS
South Marsh, Charlton Musgrove. Wincanton, Somerset, BA9 8EX - Tel 01963 32802
A large range of unusual perennials, bulbs and ferns in any semi- or fully shaded position in the garden, grown here in Somerset using peat free compost.
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