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How to Look After a Dicksonia Antarctica Tree Fern

By Kimberly Sharpe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Foliage of the Dicksonia Antartica tree fern.
fern image by Jan Will from Fotolia.com

Dicksonia Antarctica tree fern, also known as the Tasmania tree fern, grows up to 15 feet in height when grown as a houseplant and often over 20 feet in height in its native home. The ferns grows a large rhizome root based trunk topped by soft fronds. The tree is often grown as a garden ornamental or indoors as a houseplant. It offers cold hardiness down to 20 degrees F for short stretches of time. Exceptionally long living, the Dicksonia Antarctica tree fern easily lives over 1,000 years.

Plant the Dicksonia Antartica tree fern in a partial to full shade. The tree does not tolerate hot, intense sunlight well.

Mix abundant organic material such as peat moss, leaf debris, bark chips or aged manure into the soil prior to planting the tree fern in an outdoor location. Well draining soil with abundant organic material is ideal. When planting the Dicksonia Antartica in a container mix potting soil, peat moss and sand to plant the tree fern within.

Apply three to four inches of mulch such as peat moss or bark chips around the tree fern when planted outside. Mulch will help the surrounding soil retain moisture and lessen weed growth.

Water the tree fern frequently. The plant requires moist soil conditions. It does not tolerate drought well. Tree ferns grown in containers will benefit from having their leaves misted with a handheld sprayer every few days. Place the tree ferns container into a saucer filled with pebbles and water to raise the humidity level when the fern is grown indoors.

Fertilize the Dicksonia Antartica tree fern every four months using a general purpose water based fertilizer. Follow the application instructions on the label.

Wrap the base of the trunk in chicken wire filled with straw to offer wintertime protection in areas that dip below freezing. Remove the chicken wire and start in the spring after all danger of a freeze has passed.


Things You Will Need

  • Organic material such as peat moss, bark chips, leaf debris or aged manure.
  • Mulch such as peat moss or bark chips
  • Water soluble fertilizer
  • Handheld sprayer
  • Chicken wire
  • Straw

About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.