The Q&A Archives: Growing Australian Tree Ferns

Question: I was wondering if you could tell me how to grow a cutting from a tree fern. How and where do I take the cutting and how do I root it? Also, how do I care for the fern?

Answer: Like most ferns, Cyathea cooperi or Australian Tree Fern is propagated by spores. Less commonly, it might be propagated by offsets that can develop from the trunks or roots. If an offset develops, cut it cleanly from the parent in spring and pot it in a moist mix. Put it in a closed system to promote humidity in bright light, but not direct sun. Once new growth starts, you can harden it off.

Ferns do best with high humidity and bright light, but not direct sun. Place the plant on a shallow tray with pebbles and 1/2 inch of water. As the water evaporates, it will increase humidity around the plant. Don't let the water soak up into the roots, however. Keep away from drafts, air conditioning ducts, etc.

When watering, flush the water through the holes at the bottom of the pot to reduce salt build-up, which can cause brown tips. Fertilize with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer according to package instructions. Good luck!

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