Dicksonia antartica Tree Fern. Tree ferns are a must have plant in the exotic garden as they are amongst some of the most imposing plants you can grow, giving height and stature to the garden with their fabulously architectural shape and form. They are native to tropical and subtropical parts of the southern hemisphere, though some grow well in temperate climates like ours if well sited.The most famous and commonly available tree fern that you can buy in the northern hemisphere is Dicksonia antarctica, and deservedly so. The dense dark brown trunk (which is in fact a rhizome or extended root system) can grow up to a staggering 6m high in its native habitat, the forests of Tasmania and north to Queensland, though in the UK they can be bought as trunk-less specimens, or by the foot up to six or more feet high ether potted or as a sawn off trunk which will soon root once planted.
The juvenile fronds are tightly packed in the crown, emerging in the spring and unfurl as very attractive hairy crosier over a week or so, then rapidly transforming into bright pale green fronds which mature to a darker rich green with age. The many fronds form a wonderful spreading crown held well above the trunk which wave in the slightest of breezes.
For best results tree fern trunks should be kept moist at all times for the largest leaves. They are hardy to at least -10C and lower if the crown is filled with straw and a cap to keep out rain during the coldest months.
Common Name Tree Fern
Latin Name Dicksonia antarctica
Tenderness Rating: Hardy if well protect during cold periods
Ease of growing Moderate
Position Dappled shade, shade