Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Giant Scaly Tree Fern, Australian Tree Fern
Cyathea cooperi 'Brentwood'

Family: Cyatheaceae
Genus: Cyathea (sigh-ATH-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cooperi (koo-PER-ee) (Info)
Cultivar: Brentwood

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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2 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive DanKistner On Jul 23, 2009, DanKistner from Winter Haven, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Cool plant! Just bought one of these. I love how ferns grow and how nice it is to watch it super size!

Positive TropiSocal_dave On Jun 3, 2008, TropiSocal_dave from Garden Grove, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

One fern specialist, told me that the Brentwood fern contains both Brentwood and regular cooperi spores on them, and therefore it is impossible to know if it is a Brentwood until you see a larger trunk girth.

Negative lastmate On Dec 1, 2007, lastmate from Okeechobee, FL wrote:

New fronds wither and die. Maybe to hot and dry, but water everyday. It had been windy also. Will fertize and hope for the best.

Neutral Cretaceous On Nov 9, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Cyathea cooperi 'Brentwood' cultivar is generally larger, and the fronds darker green in colour, than that of the species. The trunk is also thicker. The 'Australian Tree Fern' which is commonly found for sale locally in the gardening departments of stores such as Orchard Supply Hardware is usually this cultivar. It is often misidentified as "Cyathea australis".

Neutral jswords On Sep 22, 2006, jswords from columbus, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

I am attempting another fern in the front of my house, rather protected, and at the foot of a drain. I am more concerned with the lowest temperatures in the winter. I'm in 7b, should I pot it and nurse it indoors for the winter? It's a fast grower, and a real show stopper which is why I chose it for my entryway area. I'll let you know how it fares.

Neutral ladybug70 On Aug 24, 2006, ladybug70 from Ione, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've only recently (this week) purchased an Australian Tree Fern to plant in my newest garden area in my back yard under a couple of palm trees. I'll keep you posted on how it does in this central/north central area of Florida.

Neutral BotanyBob On May 30, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

The common Australian Tree Fern, Cyathea cooperi, is a fairly fast growing tree fern, eventually growing up to 20'+ in height. However, this cultivar, 'Brentwood', is MUCH faster growing. It is beefier in every respect, too. If one is looking for a large tree fern that is going to provide a nice shade in a hurry, this is about the fastest one you can get. It's spread will eventually be 20'+ and grow easily as tall.

Tree ferns are fairly easy to grow, even from small plants, in the right atmosphere. Cyathea cooperi prefer warm (but not hot) climates with constant moisture. Though growing them in full sun can make them yellowy, keeping the trunk moist will help them acclimate to a sunny position. Trunk/stem moisture is critical to the health of most all tree ferns. They are fairly drought tolerant in terms of not needing a lot of water in the soil, but the trunk (which is actually a modified rootball) requires moisture fairly regularly. Hot, dry weather will make the plants wither.

They appreciate fertilization in the warmer weather with an acid fertilizer (similar to what you might use for Azaleas), but are not overly picky. Soils should be well draining, as they will rot in heavy, clay soils if keep too wet.

Though very attractive, and make an incredible tropical look to any garden, they are not overly soft or silky like many ferns. In fact, pruning them or even working under them require some care so as not to get too much prickly and irritating fern fiber in your clothing and on your skin. They are definitely worth growing, though, as they provide the most perfect dappled shade for many understory palms and tropicals.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Grand Bay, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
El Sobrante, California
Garden Grove, California
Hayward, California
Lakewood, California
Los Angeles, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Marino, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Brooksville, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lady Lake, Florida
Lake Helen, Florida
Miami, Florida
Nokomis, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Gonzales, Louisiana
Columbus, Mississippi
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Houston, Texas (3 reports)

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