CARING
FOR
TREE FERNS

In general, growing tree ferns in the UK isn’t as hard as generally perceived – as long as you follow some simple basic rules.

BUYING AS A LOG:

If you are buying a tree fern as a log, as soon as you can you should plant the log (depending on the size) up to 20 to 25cm deep or as much as is required to hold it in a upright position.

Initially they may require further support until fully rooted as when their new fronds appear, they can catch the wind like a sail blowing it over which can only hinder rooting and damage those fresh fronds.

Tree ferns grow best and will perform better if grown in positions sheltered from strong winds and direct or full sun, this helps to prevent excessive drying out and the scorching of the fronds.

EARLY LIFE AND WINTER

Young juvenile tree ferns are more susceptible to colder winter weather and should be, where possible, kept in a frost free environment through their first winter.

 Tree Ferns are evergreen and therefore hold their fronds all through the winter so there is no need or advantage in removing them before they are dead as it can ultimately only weaken the plant, they usually die due to their age, during the summer due to sun scorch or dehydration, or over winter when temperatures drop below -5 to -6, in these circumstances remove the fronds by cutting a couple of inches above the base of the affected frond.

Being evergreen tree ferns still require moisture throughout the winter months especially if they are kept or overwintered undercover i.e. a greenhouse or shed, as they can die or get severely dehydrated if left without water so remember to water as required and place a saucer under the container so they can draw water as they require it.

Tree ferns are hardy to around -8 to -10 but in reality will require winter protection from around -5 to -6 to ensure that the fronds formed for the following season do not freeze and die, to help prevent this you will need to insulate the crown by packing it with straw, dried leaves, horticultural fleece or hessian all allow moisture to get to the crown whilst allowing the tree fern to breath without the new fronds from rotting, then in severe weather you can then tie the fronds up vertically and wrap them again with horticultural fleece, hessian or any other insulating material, depending where you live and the aspect of your tree fern will determine when you do this but usually this is undertaken October/November and unwrapping again in late April/early May when the risk of severe frosts have past. 

Tree ferns do not like to be kept dry for to long and prefer to be kept damp/moist so for good plant health and to keep them well hydrated you need to water the crown, trunk as well as the roots regularly especially during dryer periods, also remember to feed regularly during the growing season with a liquid feed to the crown +/or apply a granular fertiliser ie. Growmore to the base, ultimately the better you treat your tree fern this year will help determine the health of the tree fern and therefore the quantity of fronds formed the following year 

CARING FOR TREE FERNS

In general, growing tree ferns in the UK isn’t as hard as generally perceived – as long as you follow some simple basic rules.

BUYING AS A LOG:

If you are buying a tree fern as a log, as soon as you can you should plant the log (depending on the size) up to 20 to 25cm deep or as much as is required to hold it in a upright position.

Initially they may require further support until fully rooted as when their new fronds appear, they can catch the wind like a sail blowing it over which can only hinder rooting and damage those fresh fronds.

Tree ferns grow best and will perform better if grown in positions sheltered from strong winds and direct or full sun, this helps to prevent excessive drying out and the scorching of the fronds.

EARLY LIFE AND WINTER

Young juvenile tree ferns are more susceptible to colder winter weather and should be, where possible, kept in a frost free environment through their first winter.

 Tree Ferns are evergreen and therefore hold their fronds all through the winter so there is no need or advantage in removing them before they are dead as it can ultimately only weaken the plant, they usually die due to their age, during the summer due to sun scorch or dehydration, or over winter when temperatures drop below -5 to -6, in these circumstances remove the fronds by cutting a couple of inches above the base of the affected frond.

Being evergreen tree ferns still require moisture throughout the winter months especially if they are kept or overwintered undercover i.e. a greenhouse or shed, as they can die or get severely dehydrated if left without water so remember to water as required and place a saucer under the container so they can draw water as they require it.

Tree ferns are hardy to around -8 to -10 but in reality will require winter protection from around -5 to -6 to ensure that the fronds formed for the following season do not freeze and die, to help prevent this you will need to insulate the crown by packing it with straw, dried leaves, horticultural fleece or hessian all allow moisture to get to the crown whilst allowing the tree fern to breath without the new fronds from rotting, then in severe weather you can then tie the fronds up vertically and wrap them again with horticultural fleece, hessian or any other insulating material, depending where you live and the aspect of your tree fern will determine when you do this but usually this is undertaken October/November and unwrapping again in late April/early May when the risk of severe frosts have past. 

Tree ferns do not like to be kept dry for to long and prefer to be kept damp/moist so for good plant health and to keep them well hydrated you need to water the crown, trunk as well as the roots regularly especially during dryer periods, also remember to feed regularly during the growing season with a liquid feed to the crown +/or apply a granular fertiliser ie. Growmore to the base, ultimately the better you treat your tree fern this year will help determine the health of the tree fern and therefore the quantity of fronds formed the following year