Dicksonia antarctica Potter

Dicksonia antarctica Potter

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Dicksonia antartica

The hardiest and most popular of all the tree ferns known as the soft tree fern because of its soft brown trunk. Large green fronds upto 2m long appear from the crown. This tree fern comes from Australia and is best grown in a moist shady spot. 

What you recieve

You will recieve a 15cm bare trunk that is about to frond. Give it a really good water as soon as possible and also plant as soon as you can untill then keep it in a cool shady spot.

Planting and care

To plant your tree fern either in a pot or in the ground place the trunk onto soil that has been dug over with the addition of some organic matter then wriggle it into the ground by 3-4 cm you can push a bamboo cane in beside it and tie the tree fern to it to keep it upright in 6-12 months the tree fern will be rooted and you can then remove the cane. I like to then mulch the area around the tree fern and then give it a really good water. The most important thing to growing great tree ferns is to keeping them really well watered and feed you should try to water your new tree fern at least 3 times a week every day would not be to much the more water it has the better it will be. I like to feed new tree ferns every 2 weeks with a liquid feed into the crown our tree fern food is great for this. Feeding will help the tree fern root and frond it will use the feed for this insted of using its own stored food this will give you a stronger plant going forward. Your tree fern will need winter protection in most winters a hand full of straw or fleece in the crown will do it in a cold winter like 2011 you will need to wrap your trunk you can use something like loft insulation if your tree fern is not rooted make sure it stays moist in winter.

Planting position

Dicksonia is best planted in moist shade or semi shade you can grow dicksonia in sunnier positions but they will need very regular watering and i find the bigger trunks will do better if you want to grow them in sun as they naturally hold more water.


Dicksonia antarctica will grow in most soil types the important thing is moisture retention so add plenty of organic matter before planting and keep well mulched with bark which will also help keep weed down.

Container growing

Dicksonias can be grown in containers it is very important to use a good soil based campost and to feed and water regularly. If you find the head of your dicksonia is getting smaller it will need to be repotted if you cannot repot you can root prune it and add new soil or think about putting it in the garden it makes a better garden plant than pot plant.

Height and spread

Dicksonia can reach 20ft but they are incredibly slow growing 2-3cm a year so its one of those plants that you will have to buy the size you need. A good Dicksonia can have a frond spread of 3-4m with enough food and water.


Dicksonia is evergreen but the fronds will die if we have winter temperatures of -5 to -6 if they die in the winter cut them off and wait for new fronds to emerge in the sping.


Hardy down to -10 or more but always needs protection in the crown and if the winter is really cold wrap the trunk.


Great  architectural plant for a shady position nothing is more dramatic.