The Q&A Archives: Australian fern

Question: I have a backyard that is entirely in stamped concrete. I want to put flowers in large vases and be able to move them into different locations. I want a fountain with australian ferns in back of it. My question is:
Will australian ferns grow in my area, and if so, where can I get them and how can I care for them? I live in battle Ground, 98604.Thank you. George Miller

Answer: Cyathea cooperi is the Australian Tree Fern. It is generally planted outdoors because it can eventually reach 20 feet high and 12 feet wide. However, you can keep it in a container outdoors for the summer but you'll need to take it indoors over the winter months. Australian tree ferns begin as fern-looking plants. The fronds develop at the crown of the plant; as the older fronds die off, new fronds develop. The center of the plant becomes trunk like, hence the name "tree fern". Australian tree ferns like bright light but shade from hot afternoon sunshine. Water your plant when the potting soil begins to dry out and be sure to water thoroughly so the entire root mass gets wet when you apply water. There's nothing worse than pockets of dry soil for a containerized plant! You can place your tree fern outdoors in a shaded spot during the spring and summer months, then bring it back indoors for the autumn and winter. Other than regular watering, your tree fern doesn't really require any care. Enjoy!

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