Austrailian Tree Fern

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

I have an Australian Tree Fern that I have in a pot. I am thinking about planting it in the ground. How much sun can they tolerate? Does it need dappled sun? I have it on my covered patio now and I can't imagine it needing full sun.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Mine is under a big live oak tree with dappled shade all day. All the others I've seen here, including several huge tall ones at Selby Botanical Gardens are growing under other trees, too. Mine also gets regular light irrigation and I mist it occasionally with orchid fertilizer when I'm passing it with the sprayer in hand. That fuzzy fiber-y trunk absorbs a lot of nutrients for the plant, evidently.

Even though it looks like a tree, it's still a fern, and ferns like shade. I wouldn't risk it if you don't have a good shady place to plant it.

This message was edited Jun 5, 2012 10:53 PM

Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy
noonamah, Australia

The big question is do you know which tree fern it is? There's a few genus and a large number of species of Australian tree ferns. They have a number of different requirements when it comes to water, temperature, sun and general exposure. You need to know which one you're talking about before you can find out what its requirements are.

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

I have a place in mind that I would like to put it. It is under a big oak tree with a huge Fig Tree on the back side. It would only get dappled sun most of the day. TropicBreeze, I do not. When I bought it the tag only said Austrailian Tree Fern. Let me see if I can post a picture of it and maybe it can be identified.

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

Here are some pictures. It's is dark out so I hope you are able to see what you need to for identification. It has two huge fronds and several new ones that are rolling out. It had another large one but one of my dogs knocked it over and broke one off :(

This message was edited Jun 6, 2012 12:14 AM

Thumbnail by GreenThumbSuker Thumbnail by GreenThumbSuker
noonamah, Australia

They can be a bit difficult to ID positively but photos are a good start. There was someone here (this site) who had an "Australian Tree Fern" that someone led him to believe was Cyathea cooperi. As it turned out it was Cyathea australis which is much more cold hardy, able to take full sun (provided it's well watered) and even able to tolerate sea air (far more so than other tree ferns). A lot of the Dicksonia species can take a lot of cold and can also cope with direct sun. My parents have a couple against the brick wall of their house, in full sun much of the day, and they cope quite well. Although, by end of summer the fronds don't have the lush green of more shadier grown plants.

From those photos yours does look like Cyathea cooperi. When it has a trunk you can see the scars where the old fronds fell off, about the size of (our) 20 cent coins. I'd keep that one more sheltered, it's not as cold tolerant or sun tolerant as the C. australis. The root system is fairly shallow so mulching it well and keeping that damp is important.

With all those crosiers rolling out it must like what you're already doing (apart from having a dog there). I had a wallaby chew off a new frond on mine which worried me. Thought they might keep coming back for the new fronds and end up killing the whole plant. But so far they haven't touched any of the latest ones. Best of luck with yours.

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

I have looked at both options you gave me. The fronds on mine look more like the Cyathea cooperi.

I found some information that said, "As far as I am aware, all ferns sold in the United States as C. australis are actually C. cooperi, a more tender species.)"

I have also noticed this...

Now I'm not sure if I will try it in the ground or if I will just leave it in it's pot. I'm in zone 8b per the USDA charts but our local botanical garden says we are zone 9a, so I'm not really sure. On a RARE occassion we can get down to about 19 F, but not often. I'm not sure if tossing a light blanket over it would help if that were to happen. Decisions, Decisons..

This message was edited Jun 6, 2012 7:17 AM

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Maybe leave it in a pot, but put the pot out where you want it to live for this year. You could then either cover it if cold weather threatens (that IS quite effective) or move it back into the covered patio. If it's doing fine in the new location, next year you could go for it and plant it.

I'd go for a bigger pot, though. Heavier base would prevent it blowing over, or getting knocked over by the dog again. You could also sink the pot partially into the ground, to help insulate the roots from temperature changes. Best of both worlds?

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Here are a few more shots of mine. It's about 9ft. tall and nearly as wide. Putting out lots of new fronds right now, too.

Any IDea which one it is, tropic?

Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy
Fruit Cove, FL


I also have a Cyathea cooperi in a pot but have not been very successful. I've only had it about a month and it is not looking good. I think originally it was getting too much sun but have since moved it to a shadier spot. How much/often should I water? I've read that it needs moisture but "don't overwater". It's been in the 90's here lately. Keep it very moist? Slightly damp? Misting?

This message was edited Jun 6, 2012 6:48 PM

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

I water at least every 4th day (sometimes more often), just depends on the soil when I feel it. I mist it most everyday. The misting keeps it slightly damp. I mist the fronds, and the "trunk" because I'm told that the trunk is actually root.I have some spanish moss covering the soil. I pulled it from some of our local trees in the area and allowed it to dry out before adding it. I believe that it helps hold and use the mositure better. I may be wrong about what the actual benefit is.

It seems to like this regimen. The pot it is currently in is on the smaller side with good drainage and that may be why I must water fairly often. It currently resides on my covered patio that is south facing.

Hope this helps.

Fruit Cove, FL

Thank you very much! Sounds like I need to increase the moisture.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Mine's in the ground, and gets light irrigation every second day unless it rains. Less in winter, and I mist if the weather's dry.

noonamah, Australia

dyzzypyxxy, yours looks like Cyathea cooperi as well. The trunk is quite slender (Dicksonias and C. australis have stockier trunks). Where the fronds have fallen away there's those bare patches on the trunk. The leaflets on the fronds seem a little courser than on mine, but there is some variability in C. cooperi. And cooperi is one of the faster growers.

With watering what's also important is what's in the water. From what I've read in some forums a lot of Florida water has too much lime in it. That can be a problem. Otherwise, plenty of water and high humidity. Many instructions on plants include "Keep moist but don't over water". I've seen that for bog plants as well, which is quite ridiculous. With these it's important to keep them moist but have good drainage. In habitat they often have water streaming past them for long periods during the rainy season. But the water is always moving.

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

Can this plant successfully live in it's pot indoors, in a South facing window? I'm thinking of putting it in my bedroom in a south facing window.

My thoughts are to place it on a pan of rocks with water for humidity.

I'm afraid if I leave it outdoors the dog or the cold is going to kill it.. One of our outside dogs really seems to like to "play" with it for some reason. Maybe because it moves flowingly in the breeze and he thinks he is a cat.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images