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Dicksonia Antarctica

After bringing the tree ferns to Ireland 14 years ago they were eventually put into the ground. Wrapped them in wire and straw the first two years but old fronds went brown. Last year put them into fleece bags.  One now has in excess of twenty fronds and the other in excess of thirty.  There is no way I can get them into fleece bags this year does anyone please have any ideas on how to protect them.  They look wonderful this year and are still unfurling fronds. 



  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,994

    I have seen a tv programme about an "exotic" garden in Belgium where they protected their tree ferns with a heating electric cable coiled round the trunk. Looked clever.

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,121

    Hello valrudge

    After 14 years of cultivation , I would have thought your Dicksonias would be acclimatised by now .

    I have a 5' specimen of this growing outdoors in eastern England ; I only had to fleece it during the exceptional winter of 2009/10 , where we (Lincolnshire) saw several consecutive nights of about -12C ; day temperatures struggled to reach freezing point for several days . The root was too large to lift and I thought it a 'goner' !

     The middle of the following May it eventually showed signs of life.

    I remove all the fronds  every year before the winter sets in , as they brown anyway . You could certainly remove all fronds from yours , which is of no detriment to the plant , and this would facilitate easier 'fleecing' , should you need to do so .

  • Many thanks all.  Seems obvious but I hadn't thought of removing fronds.  Does appear to be a  drastic course of action and really goes against the grain as they are so lush at the moment, but you are right in saying the fronds do die off anyway.

  • Can I ask a question please, whist on this topic?

    I have a young Dicksonia Antarctica which hasn't yet developed a trunk. It's in a 12" pot. Should I cut off the fronds and cover the pot or could I leave the fronds and store the plant in the shed when the weather drops too much?

    Thanks for any advice

  • Thank you Philippa, thats reassuring. By the way, I'm near to Oxford.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,121

    The average growth rate of Dicksonia (even in its native habitat) is approximately one-inch per year in height of trunk ! In other words if you purchase a 3' trunked specimen you are getting a 35-40 year old plant . Bigger plants in GCs may be up to or well over 100 years old ,(then they forget to water them)image

    ploomy1 ; don't expect a trunk to appear too soon . It is a slow process indeed ; however , enjoy your fern , keep slightly moist even in winter , (they can stand several degrees of frost) .


  • Thanks Paul. I'm bit of an 'over-waterer' if anything so thought this might be a suitable plant image

    I knew they were slow growing but didn't realise they were that slow. It's quite a good thing really because my garden is quite small. I'm south facing and my garden is sweltering hot in the summer so I have put it next to my panel fence and in the shade of my bike shed. It's light but doesn't get any direct sunlight (maybe a couple of hours in the summer, just as the sun sets).

    I bought it from ebay with no expectation as to how it would do. I've had it for about a month now and it's really growing well and looking healthy.

    As Philippa suggested, soon as there's any chance of frosts or freezing temp, I'll put it in my shed (it's made of brick). I was about to ask about maybe bringing it out on sunny days to catch some rays but second thoughts tells me that it'll be sleeping anyway?

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,121


    Thanks for your reply ; it's a pity they are so slow to attain a 'trunk' ;( which is the root ) , that's why it's so important to keep it as moist  as possible . Like most trees and shrubs , they occupy a different time-scale to us ; what's 100 years to a plant that  can ultimately attain a height of several metres ?image

  • Hi all, I would like to ask a question on the topic of tree ferns.
    i bought a very healthy looking, 30cm trunk, tree fern in July, with 8 or 9 healthy looking, green firm fronds all there ready waiting to unfurl, 4or 5 we’re very prominent. To my disappointment only 2 have unfurled the others are in exactly the same stage as they were in July. The 2 that opened are very green and perfect looking. Its situated in a perfect position, I water daily and feed weekly. Would anyone please know the reason for this. It’s so disappointing. Thankyou
  • You are feeding too much, I think.  They're not supposed to need feeding until 2nd year. Just water and spray open fronds. On 2nd year feed about monthly.  I made that mistake.  This year my fern has over 20 fronds.  Good luck
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