The Q&A Archives: Australian tree fern

Question: Is it okay to pot up an Australian Tree Fern ( Alsophila australis) and have it survive the winter? Or is it better to plant it in the ground and mulch it in winter? Do I cut back the foliage every fall and let it regrow?

Answer: Cyathea cooperi is the Australian Tree Fern. It's hardy to 20F but may suffer some damage to the fronds. If you prune off winter damaged fronds the plant will generate new fronds. You can pot up the plant but it won't grow well indoors. It's better to leave it in the ground and build a simple structure of framing and burlap to go around and over the fronds to protect them from freezing. Australian Tree Ferns will eventually reach 20' high and about 12' wide, so be sure to give it ample growing room. Provide your tree with partial afternoon shade for best growth.

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