New Zealand Fern Tree
New Zealand Fern Tree
Common Name: New Zealand Tree Fern, wheki, slender tree fern, rough tree fern
Scientific Name: Dicksonia squarrosa
Family Name: Dicksoniaceae
Origin: New Zealand
Height: 20 ft.
Width: 5-9 ft. fronds, ultimate spread can be 12 feet.
Growth: Fairly rapid, on average about 4-12” per year.
Zone: US Zones 9-10
Light Needs: Part Shade, indirect light.
Salt Tolerance: Good
Soil/PH/Texture: Highly acidic to slightly alkaline. Prefers well-draining soil high in organic matter.
Soil Moisture: Keep soil uniformly moist.
Drought Tolerance: Low, requires regular irrigation.
Pests/Diseases: Generally pest free. Can be susceptible to spider mites or root rot.
Growing Conditions: Shelter from strong winds. Add some organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, to the hole at the time of planting. It is helpful to stake your tree fern for up to 2 years until it becomes established.
Characteristics: Striking evergreen, slender, black, fibrous trunk with fern-like leaves in a rounded canopy. Fern fronds form an umbrella shape at the top of the trunk. Fronds sprout in an almost horizontal fashion and will often grow from apparently dead pieces of trunk. The tree is not self-cleaning, and the trunk will be covered with a “skirt” of the dead frond stalks if not trimmed.
Propagation: Spreads by underground rhizomes.
Wildlife: Can provide foraging space and shelter for birds and small mammals.
Facts: Occasionally, tree ferns will lose all their fronds. This is generally an indication of stress, such as damage from cold weather or insufficient moisture. Try to protect your tree fern during colder conditions. As long as the growing point at the center of the trunk is intact, the plant will usually recover. Tree ferns can live 40-150 years.
Designer Considerations: Tree ferns create a lush, tropical oasis atmosphere in the garden. They do not flower or produce seeds. Makes an ideal container or small garden plant where space is limited.
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