The Q&A Archives: Tree Fern Care

Question: I have an australian tree fern, about 3 feet tall, that looks like it is dying. I water it once every three days. It was doing very very well, but lately it been very cold here and I'm not sure if I am doing somthing wrong or what. Please help!

Answer: Your Australian Tree Fern prefers full some shade from hot afternoon sunshine in your growing region. The browning fronds might indicate that conditions have been too sunny for it, or that cold temperatures have nipped the tips of the tender new leaves. The trees require moist but well-draining soil, and it's always important to water thoroughly each time you apply water so the entire root mass gets wet. Sprinkling a little every few days will not supply enough water to the roots of your plant. Sometimes air pockets can develop in the root mass of containerized plants so even though you think you're applying adequate water, there may still be some dry spots. You can counteract this by immersing the container in a larger container of water and leaving it for 15-30 minutes so the potting soil becomes completely saturated. (I do this every 10 days to two weeks during the growing season.)

It isn't unusual for the lower, older fronds to die off, so if the browning is concentrated on the older fronds, it might be just a natural aging process. You can cut away the older fronds and new fronds will develop at the crown of the plant. Hope this answers all your questions.Best wishes with your plant!

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