Dicksonia Antarctica which is also known as soft tree fern and man fern is a species of evergreen tree fern.
Overview of Dicksonia Antarctica or Soft Tree Fern
• It is native to parts of Australia, namely:
– South-east Queensland
– Coastal New South Wales
• These ferns grow up to a height of 15 m (49 ft).
• They consist of an erect rhizome forming a trunk.
• They are very hairy at the base.
• The fronds are large, dark green and roughly-textured.
• These fronds spread in a canopy of 2–6 m (6 ft 7 in–19 ft 8 in) in diameter.
• The shapes of the stems vary as some grow curved.
• There are multi-headed ones.
• The fronds are borne in flushes.
• The trunk is usually solitary.
• They can be cut down.
• Top portions can be replanted to form new roots if kept moist.
• The stump will not regenerate.
• The fern grows at 3.5 to 5 cm per year.
• It produces spores at about 20 years.
Scientific classification for Dicksonia Antarctica or Soft Tree Fern
• Kingdom : Plantae
• Division : Pteridophyta
• Class : Pteridopsida
• Order : Cyatheales
• Family : Dicksoniaceae
• Genus : Dicksonia
• Species : D. antarctica
• Binomial name : Dicksonia antarctica
• Locate a shady location.
• The site should receive periodic direct sunlight.
• Tree ferns will not thrive in complete shade.
• It should be planted in areas.
• The location should receive some direct sunlight.
• The locations should also have plenty of space to develop.
• Mature ferns may have a spread of 15 feet or more.
• Till compost into the soil of the planting site.
• This will help to improve drainage.
• It will also provide nutrients for developing tree ferns.
• Compost should be thoroughly mixed into the soil to a depth of at least 2 feet.
• Tilling the soil helps young tree fern roots to develop and expand underground.
• Sow tree fern spores into the soil.
• Cover with a thin layer of soil.
• If planting a small tree fern from a nursery, loosen the roots of young tree ferns before planting.
• If the roots are tangled and stunted, carefully cut with scissors.
• This will spur new root development.
• Place the plant gently into the soil.
• Ensure that the roots are evenly spread.
• Place mulch around the tree fern.
• Help maintain soil moisture.
• Fertilize tree ferns lightly.
• It should be fertilized throughout the growing season with a wet fertilizer.
• Water tree ferns regularly.
• Cover tree fern fronds with newspapers.
• This is to protect tree ferns from frost damage as needed.
• Prune brown fronds as needed.
• Monitor closely for diseases.
• Tree ferns are most commonly infested by mites, mealy bugs and termites.