Like other ferns, tree ferns will have a period of dormancy over the winter and break out into new growth in the spring. The trouble is that they are usually late in developing new fronds when compared to the more usual native or regular ornamental ferns.

New stock imported from the forests of Australia Tasmania and New Zealand will be in what is considered to be prime condition - even though they would have had both their roots and foliage removed. Even so, these tree ferns will have enough of an internal root system, and energy stores to start producing new fronds by the end of April - I am talking northern European climates here.

If you have purchased poorly maintained stock from a retail plant outlet, but have made efforts to supply a solid watering and feeding regime since taking ownership then you can expect your tree fern to unfurl its first frond in early to mid May depending on how the weather pans out.

If you are extremely careful then you will be able to feel the embryonic fronds as early as February - just try not to break them.

Be aware that a warm dry spring can easily kill off this new growth if the tree fern if it is not regularly watered, and I mean sufficient water to both the crown of the tree fern as well as its trunk.

If these early fronds do dry out then your tree fern is unlikely to survive into the following year.

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