Planting Tree Fern in a Container on a Deck

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by Kevinm, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Kevinm

    Kevinm Member

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    Good day all,

    Home Depot on Terminal Ave just received a small shipment of Tasmanian Tree Ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) and we picked one up. Quite a deal actually. It's a #15 and the trunk is already about a foot long.

    Anyway, we'd like to plant it in a sheltered, partially shaded corner of our deck. It is partially under the eaves which should provide more shelter.

    Any suggestions on planting and fertilizing? What type of soil? Where can we get some reasonably priced, large pots?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!!
     
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    I assume you mean the store on Terminal Avenue in Vancouver (many forum participants may not be familiar with our geography). I also saw similar plants last weekend in another part of the Lower Mainland.

    As long as you understand that Dicksonia antarctica is not reliably hardy here, and that you'll have to protect the pot and wrap the stem for the winter, everything should be just fine. The problem is basically that while this species is adapted to occasional cold spells (in its native Tasmania), the cold never lasts very long there. Here, when the temperature drops, it either falls precipitously and lasts for days or weeks, or the cold is associated with wet weather, which is a particularly penetrating combination.

    Ferns are pretty good at looking after themselves nutritionally, although a very weak, balanced fertilizer applied in the growing season might be beneficial. A dilute solution of liquid seaweed or fish fertilizer sprayed on the stem seems to work well. Too much nitrogen, particularly late in the season, will spell disaster, as it will encourage soft growth; if anything, you will want your tree fern to grow slowly. Any kind of container will do, but make sure that it's of sufficient size to accomodate the present root system, with a little room left over. Don't overdo it on the size, though, as too much soil volume can contribute to soil compaction (and the exclusion of oxygen). Use a typical "planter mix," or any humus-rich, well-drained soil.

    I would recommend actually sinking the pot some way into the ground in the autumn to insulate the roots. As for winter-protecting the top, see this previous thread.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2004
  3. Kevinm

    Kevinm Member

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    Thanks Douglas!

    Yes, I was referring to the HD on Terminal Ave in Vancouver. There are a couple of large ones and several small tree ferns left (as of last night) if anyone is interested.

    Thanks for the information on winterising. I also read some great information on the Cold Hardy Tree Fern page before deciding to purchase one. If anyone is interested, the site is:
    http://www.angelfire.com/bc/eucalyptus/treeferns/

    I plan on rigging up an insulating "jacket" to cover the fern during the colder months. Of all of the tree ferns, D. antarctica does seem to be the most tolerant to cold and rain so I expect that it will be just fine with a little TLC.

    Thanks again!
     

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