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Why do all the ferns now emerge from the centre of the trunk ?


By Bobndi

Dorset, United Kingdom Gb

Over the last 5 years the growth has been increasingly towards the middle of the tree and now the ferns only grow to a quarter of their original length.

On plant dicksonia antarctica



Are you feeding it down the crown Bobndi? I mean in summer of course not now. A weak Growmore solution every couple of weeks is essential and actually I leave one of those little blocks of slow release fertiliser in the centre of mine in spring every year. If that is not it, can you tell us exactly about its growing conditions and how you look after it. I know it's a pain but this is rather strange if it is being fed and watered correctly.


21 Nov, 2008


Since I've had it I've fed it once a week in addition to constant watering.The crown has always been protected during the winter.At the moment everything is growing from the centre,but when we first had it,it grew normally.It would usually produce about 8 ferns of reasonable length.Last summer we had 16,all with stunted growth.I have several photos which illustrate all this but I seem to have difficulty in loading and sending.
Thanks for trying to help.

22 Nov, 2008


I am wondering therefore if it was just the awful weather last summer. My own fern usually produces about 12 fronds but last year produced 17 in spring at the usual time then blow me in August grew another 3, and I know Youngdaisydee had the same thing on hers. Something they have never done before. I would just wait and see what happens next year. 'Monitor the situation', as the Govt. says when they have no idea what is happening.

Sorry not to be able to say definitely but please let us know in early summer what it has done.


22 Nov, 2008


Hi again Bob.

Just found this and paraphrased it for intellectual copyright reasons.

'Leave the fronds on the plant. Most have retained them undamaged this past winter and green fronds continue to produce food for the plant. Removing them before they have died off reduces the amount of food produced resulting in shorter or fewer leaves the following season. A tree fern's performance is related to the previous year's growing conditions and these determine the amount of carbohydrates it manages to store in the leaf bases and central core. The more food manufactured and stored, the greater the quantity and quality of fronds produced during the ensuing growing season'.

Is it in the ground or in a pot by the way because everything points to a food deficiency of some sort after I have become intrigued and done some research.


22 Nov, 2008


Do you have it planted in the ground or a pot. If it is in a pot then the fronds grow shorter and the growth overall is stunted.

22 Nov, 2008


Hi, I have a similar problem with my tree fern. The leaves have been smaller and from the middle for the last two years. I have had it for about eight years, it is planted in the ground in quite a shady spot, fed weekly with a seaweed feed and watered well.

In the past I have bent the fronds down over the crown to protect it and fleeced it when really cold. I will try leaving them alone this winter, see if that helps.


22 Nov, 2008


Andrea. Read my question above yours. Right to the end. Especially the last paragraph.


22 Nov, 2008


The tree is in the ground in a shady spot.We have a number of semi-tropical plants in our garden,and over the past 10 years they have all florished,with the exception of the tree fern,

23 Nov, 2008


That should be ideal Bob, yet all the symptoms are of a mineral deficiency. I would mulch round it with a good quality compost or well aged manure over the winter, as well as doing the usual to protect the crown. The only other possible thing I can think of is that it is just too shady where it is. They do like some shade but like to be warm as well. I must admit I grow mine in tropical Yorkshire in nearly full sun and it thrives. You are better off than us in Dorset but my own micro-climate is actually not bad. Sorry not to be of more help but please keep us informed.


24 Nov, 2008

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