The Q&A Archives: austrailian tree fern

Question: I have conflicting information on how to take care of my fern. The sales clerk told me to plant in direct sun and not let it dry out. She told me not to allow mist to hit plant. I am inland SanDiego and it gets very hot in the summer. I have several smaller ferns and they are all in shade and being misted. My neighbor has great luck with her Austrailian Tree fern with daily misting and full shade. Please advise.
Thank you

Answer: Perhaps the conflicting information is being given because Austrailian Tree Fern is so adaptable. Cyathea cooperi, the Austrailian Tree Fern, is the fastest growing of all the tree ferns and would be a good choice for your growing region. It thrives in full sunshine, but will get along well in partial shade. The plant starts out as a low, wide clump before it begins growing upward. Expect Cyathea to grow from 1'- 3' per year. A lookalike is the Tasmanian Tree Fern so I wonder if that's what your neighbor is growing. Dicksonia, the Tasmanian Tree Fern, prefers shade but will grow well in morning sun in your region. It's the hardiest of tree ferns, tolerating cold temperatures of 20 degrees F. It grows slowly, eventually reaching 15' in height with many arching, 3-6' fronds. The fronds are more finely cut than those of the Austrailian Tree Fern. The best news is that either tree fern will adapt to the growing conditions you describe.

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