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Dicksonia antarctica | Tree Fern

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1ft Tree Fern - 'Dicksonia Antarctica'

As one of the oldest plants in the world the Dicksonia Antarctica is a fantastic addition to any garden. Not only is it one of the easier tree ferns to grow, it is also one of the most affordable. Native to Australia this dramatic plant can be found from Queensland to Tasmania and prefers to grow in a sheltered spot with partial to full shade. As one of the hardier tree ferns it can suit the milder British climate with some protection in winter. It will grow up to a few metres in size producing masses of large, ornate, dark-green fronds.

Tree ferns are slow growing and will only grow about 3-5cm per year. Therefore, when deciding which tree fern to buy it is normally best to go for one that is close to the size that you eventually want it to be. For example, a three foot tree fern is normally at least 36 years old!


  • Height of Trunk on Arrival: 1ft
  • Age: 10-15 Years Old
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Approx. Growth Height and Spread: 2.5-4m x 2.5-4m
  • Uses: Borders, Gardens, Patios, Containers
  • Growing Habit: Tufted
  • Exposure: Sheltered
  • Hardiness: Half Hardy (will need winter protection)
  • Rate of Growth: Slow-growing

During the colder months, tree ferns go into dormancy. Their fronds die back between October and late spring. This is the best time to send them through the post and also a good time to get them settled in your garden. You will receive a carefully packaged fern with no fronds during these months but they emerge incredibly quickly from the crown as the outside temperature heats up. As we go into summer, we may remove fronds that don't look like they will survive transportation. Not to worry, they will grow back quickly and you will have many more for years to come!

An established tree fern will thrive with very little care needed other than watering. Tree ferns need to be fed and watered from the top. Feed your tree fern with general granular fertiliser in spring to help promote frond growth. Cut back old fronds when they go brown to no more than 15cm. In winter the soft core on the head needs to be protected and must not be allowed to freeze.

The Soft Tree Fern prefers to grow in a shady and sheltered spot out of the wind. It can thrive in the full sun provided it has adequate water and soil conditions.

It is important to carefully prepare the soil, as most of them prefer moist, fertile and humus-rich soil. Mulched bark spread around the plants will prevent the soil from drying out whilst protecting the roots from excessive heat. This layer will change over time in fresh humus, meaning that using artificial fertilizers is not necessary.

Ferns have impressed with their simplicity and elegance for a long time. They bring life to dark corners of the garden, where most other plants would fail.

In open areas, ferns look best in rock gardens and under trees, perfectly complementing its undergrowth. They can also be planted at the edges of water channels, where delicate leaves will be reflected by flowing water, adding a touch of magic and charm to the area.

Tree ferns do not have to be planted in the ground, but they will often do better.

Always check to ensure you are planting the right way up. The base should be smooth whereas the top will be rough and you will be able to see the layers created by previous fronds. It has a soft center in the middle too.

More Information
Is Collection/Mix? No
Needs Ericaceous Compost? No