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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Australian Tree Fern

Cyathea cooperi, Australian Fern

It's been said that Australian Ferns can be somewhat demanding and fussy plants. I suppose if grown indoors or in a not-so-sub-tropical climate they could perform less than expected.
The sheer majestic presence of the unusually large woody specimen in a shady setting draws one's attention to them . When you think about it the uniqueness of tree ferns is limitless.

The greenery of each oversized frond is soft and lacey while the trunk is stiff and fuzzy brown. The contrast is visually and tactiley appealing. This fern is a slow grower... though they can possibly reach heights of 10-12 feet.

Moist conditions in a shaded area with filtered light helps reproduce the forest-like provisions they prefer. Composted mulch and leaf litter around the base is suggested to use for amending the soil.

One rather small one purchased last May was sited in the back garden just off to the side of a flagstone pathway. It didn't take long at all before I realized what a hardy asset it was to the understory of the oak treed canopy.

Florida's high humidity level is a plus for growing the moisture loving tree ferns.

Just as it was getting so cozy and feeling at home here, all those long leafy fronds on my fern were bitten by frost last winter. They are not at all cold hardy. But by blanketing the trunk on the two coldest nights of the year, its trunk was preserved. Then with the first bit of warm weather the fern recovered and quickly put on new growth.

Each new fiddle head unfurls from brown, curly, tautness into a gracefully arching 4-5' evergreen frond that is gargantuan as ferns go.

This year it has tripled in size. Didn't I read somewhere that they were slow growers?

Planting the Australian Tree Fern in the midst of lower growing shrubs had me wondering initially if it was the best place for it. It has proven its worth by standing sentinel while not blocking the view beyond it. Another lesson in following gut instinct. I'm very happy with it right where it is.


  1. That's truly spectacular plant-I always liked them, glad yours is doing so well.

  2. I have only seen these beauties in botanic gardens. You are lucky to be able to grow it.

  3. Hi Meems~~ Do you read Loree's "Danger Garden"? She recently did a post on a botanical garden in California. Her photo showed what looked like a forest of tree ferns. Nice. I wonder if my New Zealand tree fern, [Dicksonia antarctica]is related. It looks similar to yours. I bought mine this past spring and until recently it wasn't without an unfurling frond. Because we get below freezing at times, I'm keeping mine in a container. I love how yours looks, a dramatic focal point to complement the surrounding plantings. Beyond cool, Meems. Major kudos.

  4. The Tree Ferns are majestic! You're lucky to live in such a humid area!

  5. Meems, That Australian Tree Fern is totally AWESOME. I love it... Interesting how it starts brown and then turns beautiful green. So --it can get form 10-12 feet high.. WOW!!!

    Thanks for sharing this beauty with us.

  6. It's perfect in your garden Meems, and must be very happy there considering how much it's already grown.

  7. I finally got one of these this past spring and you're right it has grown by leaps and bounds. They are a real conversation piece in the garden.

  8. Hi Meems.....Tree ferns are very popular here and in some areas they do very the winter they fill the top of the tree with straw and cover with fleece.....that will be removed when the risk of frost is over.....

    Your tree fern is obviously very very happy where it is. I envy you being able to add them to your garden, sadly I cannot plant them here it is too cold and far too exposed to very cold winds.......

  9. Okay Meems, now you've really got me jealous. Tree ferns rarely do well down here as they tend to be very salt sensitive. I've seen a few grown successfully but they reqiure a great deal of care. Great choice and great location.

  10. Hi Meems~
    The fern looks so stately and full of texture. It looks just beautiful with the colorful caladium growing beneath it.
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my post about your favorite constant blooming plant. You have inspired me to plant more pentas in my own garden.

  11. Love your stunning Australian Fern Tree, Meems ... you have one happy specimen! I adore ferns, my all time favorite plant ... I grow many varieties and love them all.

  12. Hi Meems! Thank you for featuring this beautiful plant! It's one of my favorites. Our winters are too cold for it. Sometimes, I manage to keep it through the winter, but more often it doesn't make it, then, I buy a new one. I enjoyed your post and the pictures.

  13. love your a/t fern...the fiddle is so interesting. i have not had good fortune with my ferns here...the dogs love to dig them up.
    happy autumn

  14. Meems,

    You have such a green thumb! This plant looks awesome and in a few years it'll be the cats meow. Always look forward to reading your posts. Stay safe, warm and dry the next few days.


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September 2010

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