Cyathea cooperi

lacy tree fern, scaly tree fern, Cooper's tree fern

Cyathea cooperi is a gorgeous fast growing tree fern, with long lacy fronds spanning almost 4 meters across at maturity. They can grow to impressive sizes if given the space and are fairly hardy and easy to look after.

The Lacy Tree Fern is not as common in the UK as its bigger cousin, the Dicksonia antarctica, however is as impressive and majestic.

Ideal for a conservatory or to be kept as a potted plant in a sheltered garden.

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Origin: Queensland, Australia
Genus: Sphaeropteris
Species / Cultivar: cooperi
Common Name: lacy tree fern, scaly tree fern, Cooper's tree fern
Synonym: Sphaeropteris cooperi

Plant Biography

The Cyathea cooperi originates in Australia, in New South Wales and Queensland, where it grows in the understory of temperate forests. It enjoys a shady and humid environment in a humus rich soil.

The Lacy Tree fern, endemic to Australia until recently, has found its way into the UK landscaping where it thrives as an ornamental plant.

In the wild has managed to become established in Hawaii and Azore where it is considered an invasive species, as it has the potential to change the undisturbed rainforest.

Cyathea cooperi
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Maintenance: A little
Easy to look after but may occasionally require some attention in order to thrive.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 3 - 4m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 3 - 4m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Will need protection from frosts in order to survive winter, eg. with fleece jacket.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Cyathea cooperi can be planted in the ground in sheltered city gardens, in places that don’t incur the risk of frost or freezing temperatures. If kept as a potted plant, the plant can be kept over winter in an unheated conservatory. It can tolerate a few degrees below zero for short periods of time, however prolonged cold will damage the leaves and potentially damage the growth point.

Best to be kept in a shaded or semi-shaded position with enough space around it to allow it to unfurl its crown. Keep the soil moist at all times and apply leaf mulch around the base of the plant to keep the moisture in.

The Lacy Tree fern is a hungry plant, compared to other ferns, therefore a high nitrogen fertiliser is ideal to keep them happy, especially if planted in a pot.

The juvenile plants have a slow start to form a trunk and it may take a few years until it starts to grow a trunk. During this time, the crown will spread out horizontally reaching 3 m in diameter.

Expert Tip

When keeping Cyathea cooperi as a potted plant make sure to repot it every other year in a slightly larger container. If extremely pot bound, part of the roots can be pruned (no more than 10%!) to encourage new ones to form in the new container. Use a multi-purpose compost and water abundantly after repotting.

1 customer review for Cyathea cooperi

Hoping the frond growth is as spectacular as the fronds cut for delivery! Very impressive

Ian S.