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Dicksonia Antarctica is a tree fern and one of the oldest plants known to man, predating the dinosaurs. They grow best with shelter, in a fully to partially shaded area. They are the easiest tree fern to grow in the U.K. climate, but will still require winter protection. Their eventual height can be up to three metres, but with such a slow growth rate of three to five centimetres per year, plants are often best purchased at close to the height you require them, especially for the impatient.  Their slow growth  rate can  also  make  them  pricey,  but  there  is  little  else  that  is  an  alternative  to  these  majestic  plants.The dark green, giant fronds make the perfect plant for an exotic, jungle style garden. Most plants in our gardens are best watered at the roots, but this is not the case with Dicksonias.  They require watering and feeding from the top.  This soft core at the top of the plant should never be allowed to freeze, and therefore must have winter protection using hessian and fleece, if the plant is too large to be moved to a greenhouse.Older fronds that turn brown should be removed. Humus rich soil is recommended with the addition of a bark mulch to shade the roots and seal in moisture. Tree ferns are supplied to the gardener as logs of varying lengths that must be sustainably harvested from the wild under license.  It is vital to plant the log the right way up with the smooth end at the base and the rougher end upwards. The middle of the log will be soft.

To view a selection of Dicksonia logs at Primrose click here

Mark Snelling

All images copyright Primrose

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