The Australian tree fern is a stately but tender plant that thrives in warm, humid climates. Growing to a mature height of 30 feet, Cyathea cooperi looks more like a palm tree than a fern.
Australian tree ferns form a lush canopy for a variety of understory plants in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens.
Tree ferns abound in the temperate rain forests of Australia and New Zealand. If you live in a similar climate, these statuesque plants can add to the beauty of your woodland landscape.
C. cooperi matures to a height of 30ft with a 6 inch thick trunk and fronds as long as 8 feet.
Be careful when walking under the canopy of fronds as these bristles can get into your hair.
Use gloves when pruning or handling tree ferns as they can irritate your skin.
The new fronds are cinnamon brown before they unfurl. The stalks and undersides of the fronds are covered in harsh brown hairs that stick to anything they come into contact with.
Cyathea Cooperi is a shade lover. The foliage will yellow if it receives too much sun.
Plant it in well composted soil with moisture holding capability.
Do not allow tree ferns to dry out.
They love high humidity and tend to turn brown if it gets too dry so spritz them with the hose in the early mornings during dry weather.
Mulch around the plants with dried leaves or wood chips.
If planting more than one, space them at least 6 feet apart.
Prune the old brown fronds to give a clean look to your Australian tree fern.
For outdoor planting, the tree fern is cold hardy to 23 degrees F. but it may suffer leaf damage a few degrees above this.
Although the Australian fern tree can be grown in a container, I do not
suggest growing it as a houseplant because of its eventual size, need
for high humidity, and those irritating hairs. A greenhouse with a high ceiling is the perfect indoor environment for it.
Tree Fern Propagation is by spore and is best left to professionals.
Under the right conditions, the Tasmanian tree fern will propagate itself quite enthusiastically.
It has become a weed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The spores are spread by the wind and, unlike Hawaii's native hapuu tree fern, this Aussie doesn't play well with other plants. It's much more aggressive and faster growing.
It forms thickets and chokes out other species.
This problem has not occurred in the temperate zone.
Tree ferns are not particularly disease prone unless water sits in their crowns for too long and causes rot.
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