Tree ferns are among the most magnificent and resilient of all plant species and posses an architectural quality almost unique in nature.
Unfortunately it is the very fact of its uniqueness that causes concern when it comes to looking after them. Why, well it’s because - when purchased - tree ferns generally come without a root system, and look more like a detached elephant leg than anything else.

Luckily, watering tree ferns is very simple; it is just a case of mimicking how they would receive water in their native habitat. Tree ferns live below the tree canopy along the floor of temperate rain forests but as well as absorbing ground water through their roots they can also collect water from their leaves which drains into the crown and further down into the trunk. Their specialised fibrous trunks can also collect water either as rain falling onto it or from water droplets from mist and fog.

In the garden situation you would use either a hose or watering can fitted with a rose, watering the entire plant from top to bottom. While your tree fern may be bought without roots, once potted on these will be produced during the growing season.

If your tree fern is positioned in full sun it is likely to need watering most days, especially during the summer. If it is growing in the shade or semi-shade then you should be able to get away with watering every two to three days. Once the cooler temperatures of autumn arrive watering can be dropped off to perhaps once a week but you still do not want the truck or the crown to dry out. It is only over the winter period that the crown should just be kept on the damp side, but it may also require protection to stop the crown from fully freezing and damaging next seasons new growth.

If you have purchased your tree fern as just a cut trunk it is worth letting it soak in a bath of water for an hour or so before planting.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Buy Tree Fern Spores
JAPANESE PAINTED FERNS - Athyrium niponicum

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