Dicksonia antarctica Potter

Dicksonia antarctica Potter

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Name

Dicksonia antartica

What you get

You will receive 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.

About

The hardiest and most popular of all the tree ferns, known as the soft tree fern because of its soft brown trunk. It produces striking large, green fronds from the crown that can reach 2m long. This tree fern comes from Australia and is best grown in a moist, 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 and stable. Within 6-12 months the tree fern will be rooted and you can then remove the cane. It's advisable to then mulch the area around the tree fern and then give it a really good water.

The most important thing when growing great tree ferns is to keep them really well watered and fed, you should try to water your new tree fern atleast 3 times a week- every day would not be too much. The more water it has, the more it will thrive. We advise you feed new tree ferns every 2 weeks with a liquid feed, applied 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 energy instead of using its own stored food  and as a result this will give you a stronger plant going forward.

Your tree fern will need winter protection in most winters. Place a handfull of straw or fleece in the crown will protect it in cold winters like 2011. You will also 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. Bigger trunks will do better in sunny positions as they naturally hold more water.

Soil

Dicksonia antarctica will grow in most soil types, the important thing is to provide moisture retentive soil. To do this add plenty of organic matter before planting and keep it well mulched with bark. This mulch will also help keep weeds down.

Container growing

Dicksonias can be grown in containers, however it is very important to use a good soil based compost and to feed and water it 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 at 2-3cm a year, so it's 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.

Evergreen

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.

Hardiness

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

Uses

Great  architectural plant for a shady position - nothing is more dramatic!