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Essential FAQ on tree ferns: all of your questions are answered here

Where are your tree ferns coming from?

Most of the Dicksonia antarctica tree ferns we sell come from Victoria State Australia and Tasmania. The juvenile ones are grown in Europe.

The trunks of D.antarctica are legally collected from the wild, from areas that are repurposed. They are collected under the strict monitoring of The Department for Sustainability and Environment, under the Flora and Fauna Act of 1988. This ensures that the harvesting is done in a sustainable way, that will not damage the survival of the ecosystem.

How often should I water my tree fern?

Luckily, watering tree ferns is very simple: it is  just a case of mimicking how they would receive water in their natural habitat. Tree ferns live below the trees canopy, along the floor of the temperate rain forests, but as well as absorbing ground water through their roots, they can also collect water from their leaves which drains into the crown and further down into the trunk.

Unless, you live in the wettest parts of the UK, tree ferns require regular watering, especially in dry weather, to keep the trunk damp.

Should I cut the fronds in winter?

Tree  ferns are evergreen ferns. In a sheltered garden they may not lose their leaves not even in the harshest winters.

We do not recommend cutting the fronds of the tree ferns, as this will lead to the trunk becoming thinner as the plant grows.

The existing fronds can be protected in winter with a horticultural fleece to avoid frost damage. The trunk does not require any protection. When preparing the plants for winter, avoid using non-breathable materials like bubble wrap or plastic sheets.

How deep should I plant my tree fern?

As a rule of thumb, 20%  of the trunk needs to go in the ground when planting a tree fern.

You can use tree stakes if planting a  tree fern in a shallow hole to support it for 2-4 years while the plant is developing a new root system.

Why are tree ferns so expensive?

Tree ferns collected from the wild are in short supply, as there are tight controls about their harvesting.

They are very slow growing, adding only about 1-2 inches per year in trunk height. A mature plant, with only 2 ft of trunk can take up to 25-30 years to grow!

Can a tree fern grow in full sun?

Tree ferns grow in part shade and thrive in moisture rich environments. Bringing a tree fern into full sun may scorch the new growth and dry out the trunk very fast. A good position for a tree fern is part shade with a good layer of mulch applied to prevent the soil from drying out.

Can I keep my tree fern in a pot?

Tree ferns will absorb nutrients from the soil in which they are planted, as well as from the decaying matter that collects on and in the trunk. The roots that go in the ground will stabilize the plant, but they are not required to spread in on a large area.  Tree fern trunks can be kept in pots for very long time.

Make sure you choose a big enough pot to provide stability for the plant, as the fronds may reach considerable lengths and make the plant unstable in high winds.

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Tree ferns 101: a comprehensive guide to look after your hardy tree ferns

Ferns are an extremely diverse category of plants that have survived since the age of dinosaurs. They are instantly recognizable by their pleasing architectural foliage, often finely divided.

The soft tree ferns are part of a group of about 25 species, spread mostly in the Southern hemisphere, and the soft tree fern, also known as Dicksonia antarctica, is one of them.

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