Dwarf Tree Fern, Silver Lady Fern

Blechnum gibbum

Family: Blechnaceae
Genus: Blechnum (BLEK-num) (Info)
Species: gibbum (GIB-bum) (Info)
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly 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


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

Chowchilla, California

El Cerrito, California

Encino, California

Garden Grove, California

Hayward, California

Mckinleyville, California

Mill Valley, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Lake Worth, Florida (2 reports)

Miami, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Holualoa, Hawaii

New Orleans, Louisiana

Deer Park, Texas

Galveston, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 4, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

To my surprise this fern, although not very cold hardy will certainly grow in cold conditions. 2011-12 winter so far has been frost free but often the conditions are cold, with daytime maximums around 8-9C and night time temperatures around 5-7C, but despite this it is growing very fast which is unexpected.


On Apr 2, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I think the point of they dont take dryness is far underplayed-they can't any amount of dry ground.This plant has no ability to store water it seems. Water-but not heavily and it's growth is stunted.
There seems to be some difference also in size between the clones on the market-some seem dwarfish with fronds stubbornly staying under 16" And then the large robust form that resembles a cycad more then a tree fern.
Sensitive also to being brushed up against. One of three died from being to close to a path favored by the cats!
Great looking ferns,but every year they seem on the edge of being killed by dryness,cold,heat,..or cats.


On Apr 2, 2009, Plant_Man_28 from Saint Augustine, FL wrote:

I love this fern. I did not want to lose this plant by freezing temps . The freeze came , I covered with a knit blanket thingy and a sheet. I was the coldest night since 2003 / I thought it was dead. I noticed the inside center a tiny green frond. So my fern made it. Thank you God. By the way my fern has about half fooot of trunk on it so I doubt a young one would survive a hard freeze for 10 hours.


On Jul 8, 2008, zone10 from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I just love this fern. I have one growing in a NW facing garden where it's in bright light most of the time. Last winter, record low temps were set on many days in San Diego and this plant took a beating. All of the fronds turned brown and died. I thought the plant was history but it came back beautifully the following spring. I feed it with a few spritzes of diluted fish emulsion twice in the warm season.


On Oct 16, 2007, jdiaz from Chowchilla, CA wrote:

I planted this plant in partial shade and it just grew like no other! despite claims of slow growth, mine grew quickly to about three feet in just one growing season. in Jan of 2007, we had a severe freeze throuout all of California that lasted about a week and a half with temps in the low 20s, something extrememely unusual in central california. The black tree fern shriveled up and i thought i had lost it for sure, but i left the trunk in the ground with hopes of recovery. sure enough, this summer, it sprouted a pup and is quickly growing again.

I find that coffee grinds help speed up growth. i get them at my local starbucks- they all provide 'grounds-for-gardens' and they usually have them in silverish bags in the lobby.


On Jul 10, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a relatively slow growing fern that takes a few years to even start developing a stem..only after many years is it obvious it is a tree fern and has a trunk. It is a little touchy in So Cal- doesn't like hot weather or drying out, and really doesn't do great in full sun. But if kept in shade and given lots of water it makes a really cute and tropical looking fern. It used to be a pretty rare fern until about 10 years ago when Home Depot suddenly starting to carry them, and now everyone has one, it seems. THis fern is native to Fiji.

Pretty sure the second heading listed in the Plant Files: 'Silver Lady Fern' is exactly the same thing.

Just discovered this plant's cold limits... can't handle temps below 27F... uploaded a photo of what happens at ... read more