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Tree Ferns

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I know this is a palm forum, but I was hoping I could hear some of your experiences with tree ferns; specifically in zone 8b-9a. 

 

I've read a lot of mixed reviews from people that have grown them in my hardiness zone. I think it gets almost too hot for them here. Most people, I understand, grow them in the shade down here. But then I've read where some a little further south from my area grow them in full sun. Some people claim they retain their fronds during brief freezing temperatures, and others say it can't get below freezing or they will lose their fronds. 

I know they will survive, but how well will they grow with temperatures will into the high 90's and low 100's? Will they stay evergreen at freezing temps, or will they get burned by a little bit of frost? Am I wasting my time? 

 

Thanks, in advance. 

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The only tree fern I've had experience with was Cyathea cooperi. I had it under some tree canopy, and it did fairly well. It could survive through mid and maybe even some low 20's. I think. One year, all the fronds died from the freezes, but it still came back in the spring. It finally died when it got too cold one winter. I would like to try it again. With a little more protection effort, I think you keep it alive for quite a while (or at least until it gets too big).

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5968478cf31df_WinterActivities014-Copy.t

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Do you think these would be doable in a pot?  Or are they too finicky indoors? 

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Posted (edited)

These tree ferns were planted from 3 gallon in 2015. I thought this location may be just right for these guys as they are on the north side of our house adjacent to 2 down spouts from our ran gutters.  And this area is always wet from neighbors irrigation runoff as well as ours.  They also get good filtered light as the afternoon sun passes through the screen enclosure.  Right plants for the right spot.  

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Edited by Kekoanui
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Where are all of located? 

 

I was thinking dicksonia Antarctica. I can't find one for sale anywhere around here, but the tree ferns that most people grow in the southeast, that I've read, are dicksonians. 

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Dicksonia may be hardier but they are painfully slow growing....

The heat did not seem to bother mine as it was low to the ground.....

 

I would try a C.Cooperi under a tree canopy, they grow fast

and mine seemed to take the heat well.

D.Antarctica

DSCF0633_zpsorm7kga1.jpg

C.Cooperi from a few years agouti was a lot bigger until a tree landed on it....

IMG_20150621_095209_zpsgvgoc63r.jpg

 

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I have seen Dicksonia antarctica in habitat covered in snow. They are amazingly cold hardy, also terribly slow growing, so it's better to  get one with as much trunk as you can afford.

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Dicksonia antarctica and cyathea cooperi both grow in the interior of California. We get week-long streaks of temperatures in the 110 degree range - and we have an arid, desert-like climate. As long as they get plenty of water they do fine. They do best in shade, or partial shade here. The summer fronds are shorter - fronds produced in fall and winter are larger. If you can grow cyathea, that one is much, much faster. They are both commonly available here, and while large, trunking cyathea are commonly seen around town, you'll be pressed to find large, trunking dicksonia. Our cyathea has grown to about 7 feet of trunk from a young 1-gallon plant in about 10 years. 

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Yes I have to agree with everyone else Dicksonia is much hardier but slower growing. They are evergreen down to 25F. The only thing thats wrong with Dicksonia grown here in the US is that their trunks are much more skinner than the one grown in there native lands, which makes then less hardy. I have one that I special order from a wholesale nursery that was once in a life time purchase that I couldn’t pass up. It was shipped from Tasmania  with 6’ of trunk and so thick I could not put my arms around it. It the only Dicksonia I have been able to keep alive in 8a. Also the crown on mine is really full. 

DSC00047_zpsojlh5nu3.jpg~original.jpeg

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This is our cyathea cooperi, tucked in the corner on the left. You can see how small the summer fronds are. When it flushes in the fall, the fronds arch over the front entryway. 

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I can't seem to find any for sale here in South Georgia and North Florida. Any ideas where I might find one for any of you that live in Georgia or Florida? 

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Posted (edited)

Palmcrazy,

Has that fern seen actual 8A winters yet?  What ultimate lows and for how long?

I've seen them for sale here on occasion but never bought one.

Steve

Edited by Turtlesteve
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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Turtlesteve said:

Palmcrazy,

Has that fern seen actual 8A winters yet?  What ultimate lows and for how long?

I've seen them for sale here on occasion but never bought one.

Steve

Steve, when a cold spell goes below 20F I wrap the trunk with a blanket and put another one in the crown for insulation.

It has gotten down to:

12F, ( below freezing for 5 days)  the outer ring of fiddles died.

15F two or three time in the last 12 years, little to no damage to crown. All mature leaves died that where exposed. 

In-between these freezing winter the lows were above 20F with no protection expect in the crown.  

BTW the leaves on mine are around 8’ long with morning sun to early afternoon, then filtered sun

Roger

Edited by Palm crazy
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I am in nz and have many treeferns and some grow big like cooperi blue.Cooeri forms are ban from been sold  in nz

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here is one not often seen Robusta from Lord Howe island-other fern far left between house is cooperi brentwood

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Nice!

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Hello I live in Brunswick, GA and have two healthy ones growing unprotected in my yard.  One has been in the ground two years and another one was a 4' trunk one I got from a neighbor who didn't want it.  It is adjusting to its now home. I had to water it a lot to get it settled in.  Both are in fairly deep shade and temps in the low 90s have not affected them.  I have irrigation in my landscape so they both get supplemental water.  The last two winters have been very mild so I can't give any feedback on how they do in freezing temps.  There are two mature ones a few blocks from me (10' high) that have done well for several years apparently.

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Brunswickguy, do you know where I can buy one at a descent size/price? They have cooperia off of 9a in J'ville, but I hate driving all the way down there for a very small fern at $45. 

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I usually look on E-bay...there is a seller on there

who has larger ones for sale but you have to ask him...

Landlocked as we are here in Iowa,T.ferns can be tough to come

by but Cooperi is easy and even if you find a smallish one-they grow fast!

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Rothbardian1 - I bought 3 at an Ace Garden Center on Beach Blvd in Jacksonville a year ago. I haven't seen them for sale around Brunswick.  One thing I have learned is they don't like to be transplanted so you need to decide a permanent spot for them and water them in very well.  I lost two of them "moving" them to another spot.

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