Antarctic Tree Fern

Dicksonia antarctica

Antarctic Tree Fern

The Antarctic Tree Fern (Dicksonia antarctica) is one of our best-selling tropical tree ferns. It’s a large tree fern is native to Australia and Tasmania, and the name “Antarctic” is rather misleading since its native range runs from the sub-tropics of Queensland all the way to the chilly climate zones of Tasmania.

In the USA, this tree fern is commonly planted along the California coastal areas, along the Gulf Coast and lower Atlantic coast where its foliage may freeze back, only to resprout in the spring. It can survive lower temperatures much like the Australian Tree Fern.

Antarctic Tree Fern can reach a height of 15 or 16 feet.

For Growers[+]

One of our best tropical sellers, Antarctic Tree Fern is very slow. It takes approximately 14 to 16 weeks to finish a 4 inch pots from a 72 cell. Most of tropical ferns can tolerate higher light level than perennial fern. It still needs protection though: Antarctic Tree Fern requires a minimum of 9 hours of light per day ranging from 1500 to 3000 ftc. The quality of the light is another important factor that affects healthy plant growth. For light protection, white poly is preferred over clear poly as it distributes light more evenly. With adequate ventilation, most tropicals are happy with 50% to 60% shade. One good way to test your light level is to put your hand above the plants during the mid of the day. If you can hardly see your hand’s shadow your light level is adequate. If not, you may want to increase or decrease your shade.

Antarctic Tree Fern reaches its maximum growth rate at soil temperatures between 70°F and 80°F. Temperatures outside this range will slow growth. Antarctic Tree fern stops growing once the soil temperature drops to 62F. Antarctic Tree fern is sensitive to the heat.

Antarctic Tree fern likes well-drained soil. It likes constant moisture but takes drought better than Australian Tree Fern. Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Antarctic Tree fern roots are susceptible to root rot when the soil is overwatered. Ebb and Flood or drip irrigation are ideal as they help keep the foliage dry, thus reducing foliar diseases. In outdoor and shade house settings, water overhead early in the day or use drip irrigation so that the foliage has a chance to dry out before nightfall.

When well cared for, ferns have very few diseases and pests. Caterpillars, fungus gnats, aphids and scale can become a problem. However, they are easily treated with your state’s recommended pesticides. Do not use copper-based products on ferns.

To supply all nutritional needs of ferns, well balanced fertilizers such as 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 need to be applied. Rates of 150-200 ppm nitrogen are sufficient. Some growers have experienced success with a lower constant feed rate, combined with a slow-release fertilizer. Most varieties prefer pH levels from 5.5-6.5. Make sure your fertilizer also contains micronutrients.

Habit: Crown

Range: Zones 9 - 10 Learn more about zones


Type: Evergreen

Collection(s): Tropical

Casa Flora Number: 19030