5. TREE FERNS CARE GUIDE
Choose a wind-free position in either full or half shade, avoiding direct sunshine. Somewhere within easy reach of a tap is ideal!
Tree ferns are often supplied without leaves or roots to enable easy handling and transportation. On receipt, plant the trunk sufficiently deep for stability either directly in the ground. Adding organic matter to the soil will help the new tree fern establish and provide an easy medium for the roots to grow into but they are surprisingly unfussy about soil types. When kept potted a mixture of leaf mould (or peat) and loam is fine; multi-compost is ideal.
c. Feeding and watering
The whole trunk should be given a good soak and the ‘well’ at the top should be allowed to fill with water and to overflow down the sides of the trunk. Unless you live in one the wettest parts of Great Britain tree ferns need regular watering, even once established and especially in dry weather. New fronds should begin to appear in 2 to 4 weeks and will unfurl very fast once they start, growing several inches over a weekend.
Initially your new tree fern needs no feed, just water. Once established, in its second year and beyond, they can be fed regularly (especially when new fronds are growing) with a liquid ‘high nitrogen’ fertilizer. A dilution of our special Fern fertilizer from The Palm Centre is ideal. On an already wetted trunk, slowly pour the mixture into the top and allow it to overflow and soak into the trunk. A thick layer of organic mulch on the ground surrounding the trunk will help feed the plant slowly and naturally.
d. Winter Care
In winter your plant may lose its fronds – this is nothing to be alarmed about and quite natural.
But to avoid frost damage to the ‘fronds in waiting’, push a ball of hay down into the crown for insulation
at the onset of cold weather. New fronds will grow again in the spring, by which time the hay will have rotted down to provide nutrients beneficial to the fern’s growth. In the hardest of winters remove the fronds, wrap fleece, hessian or old blankets around the trunks and pile extra insulation into the crown.
e. Ethically sourced
While the new fronds grow fast, trunks are very slow to make height, about 2-3cm per year. Thus it can be seen that the larger trunks offered are many years old. Their collection from the wild is fully authorised and strictly monitored by the Australian authorities, who have strongly policed policies in place regarding sustainable harvesting of tree fern trunks in land cleared for logging or other purposes.
>> Have a look at our tree fern Dicksonia antartica