How to Grow a Japanese Fern Tree
Jan 05, · What is a Tree Fern? Tree ferns are true ferns. Like other ferns, they never flower or produce seeds. They reproduce from spores that grow on the undersides of the fronds or from offsets. A tree fern’s unusual trunk consists of a thin stem surrounded by thick, fibrous roots. The fronds on many tree ferns remain green throughout the year. Tree fern, any of a group of relatively primitive ferns in the order Cyatheales, most of them characterized by ascending trunklike stems and an arborescent (treelike) habit. Tree ferns are conspicuous plants of humid tropical forests around the world. Species found at lower elevations are often widespread colonizers of disturbed or successional habitats.
The tree ferns are ferh ferns that grow with a trunk elevating the fronds above ground level. Most tree ferns are members of the "core tree ferns", belonging to the families DicksoniaceaeMetaxyaceaeand Cibotiaceae in the order Cyatheales. This order is the third group of ferns known efrn have given rise to tree-like forms. The two others are the Marattialesa eusporangiate order that the extinct Psaronius evolved from, and the order Polypodiales where the extinct genus Tempskya belongs.
In addition to those families, many ferns in other groups may be considered tree ferns, such as several ferns in q family Osmundaceaewhich can achieve short trunks under a trree tall, and particularly ferns in the genus Cibotiumwhich can grow ten metres tall. Fern species with short trunks in the genera Blechnum, Calochleana, Cnemedaria, Culcita mountains only tree fernCystodiumLeptopterisLophosoriaSadleriaThyrsopteris and Todea could also be considered tree ferns in a liberal interpretation of the term.
Tree ferns are found growing in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide, as well as cool to temperate rainforests in AustraliaNew Zealand and neighbouring regions e.
Lord Howe Islandetc. Like how to put ringtones on iphone 4 from itunes ferns, tree ferns reproduce by means of spores formed on the undersides of the fronds. The fronds of tree vern are usually very large and multiple- pinnate. Their trunk is actually a vertical and modified rhizome and woody tissue is absent. To add strength, there are deposits of lignin in the cell walls and the lower part of the stem is reinforced with thick, interlocking mats of tiny roots.
But other clump-forming tree fern species, such as D. Tree ferns often fall over fetn the wild, yet manage to re-root from this new prostrate position and begin new vertical growth. It is not certain the exact number of species of tree ferns there are, but it may be close to species. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ferns that grow with a trunk elevating the fronds above ground level.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN OCLC Categories : Ferns Plant common names Plants by habit. Hidden categories: Articles with short description Short description matches Wikidata Articles needing additional references from October Wgat articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced frn Articles with unsourced statements from October Namespaces Article Talk.
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Filicium decipiens Japanese fern tree is storybook pretty with a naturally rounded crown and unusual fern-like foliage. Its bushy growth creates dense shade and the globe-shaped top means no trimming required. This is a very elegant little tree, and it's . Jan 13, · The ‘short’ tree ferns: Blechnum is a genus of fern which has a few species that develop into small ‘trees’, or at least single-stem plants that looks like bonsai trees. The most commonly grown of these is Blechnum gibbum, the Silver Lady fern. It is a not a .
Few plants say the tropics more effectively than do tree ferns, yet thankfully many species of tree ferns are fairly cold hardy, enabling gardeners throughout the world to use these for decoration and landscaping in climates much less tropical than from where they originate. The tree fern is a commonly used plant in landscaping designs from Britain, the Pacific Northwest, the Mediterranean, Southern California, the Southeast US and in tropical climates all over the world.
They are basically living works of art, as well as useful shade for smaller, understory, more tender tropical and subtropical plants in marginal climates. The following is a brief overview of some of the more commonly grown cold hardy tree ferns in cultivation.
Tree ferns are not really true trees, at least in terms of having a true trunk and branches. Ferns develop fronds and these fronds are not really branches, but extensions of the growing center or meristem that radiate degrees, not unlike with palms, cycads and many other tropical plants. The fronds all start from curled up structures at the top of the fern call croziers. And a crozier, or fiddlehead, is really the very tip of a specialized root, called a rhizome, that has grown up all the way from the ground within the trunk itself.
The trunk is really a solid, upright accumulation of above-ground rhizomes that support the fronds. Cutting through a fern trunk will reveal that it is made of these roots all tightly packed together in this rigid supporting structure. Tree fern trunk showing leaf scars, and old hardened trunk that is more like concrete in texture. Croziers of several different tree ferns from left to right and top to bottom : Cyathea cooperi photo by Cretaceous , Dicksonia antarctica photo by Cretaceous , Angiopteris and Sadleria photo by Cretaceous.
The leaves, or fronds, are further divided up into leaflets, which arise in a very symmetrical pattern from the rachis or central leaf structure. The leaflets are usually deeply divided creating a very even, symmetrical and intricate lacy pattern that is like living art. Ferns reproduce via spore formation. Spores are the nearly microscopic structures that form within darkened structures sori or sporangia on the undersides of mature fronds. If the plant is being grown in ideal conditions for example, similar to its environment of origin the spores may germinate in the surrounding soil and form new microscopic tree ferns.
However, in most environments unlike those the plants came from, this is very unlikely to happen, and special steps need be taken if one wants to grow ferns from spore. But that is a discussion for another article. For more information on taking care of ferns and talking to those that grow a lot of ferns, visit the American Fern Society webpage.
Sori sporangia on the undersurface of a Cyathea cooperi. Tree fern petioles and rhizomes are often covered with either scales or hairs. One of the names for Dicksonia antarctica is the Soft Fern, which is truly a misnomer, as it is a very rough, scaly, and bristly-haired plant that is not a comfort to rub up against.
Dicksonia antarctica or Dicksonia squarrosa may look soft and cuddly from a distance, but these hair fibers are rough and extremely irritating if they get in eyes, under one's clothes or into one's lungs usually happens during pruning.
A few species of tree ferns can also be grown from cuttings, something which I personally have not had much luck with. Dicksonia antartica is one fern often propagated in this fashion, with the trunks being sawed off and rerooted, while the original tree grows another head. These beheaded trunks, sans fronds, can be found at nurseries sometimes. Cibotium glauca , a Hawaiian tree fern, is often grown from a cutting made off one of its suckers, but these are the ones I have never been able to root.
Cyathea species and most other genera will not grow from trunk cuttings! The term cold hardy is a relative term of course. No one in USDA zones will have much luck growing these outdoors, even with substantial winter protection, though some manage somehow.
Dicksonia antarctica under snow photo by kennedyh and Blechnum gibbum fried by a cold snap of only 27F. But cold is not the only limitation of tree ferns, as it is not with most ferns. I personally struggle much more with the few tree ferns I have in the summer than I do in the winters here in Southern California.
My Cyathea cooperi after heat wave. There are numerous techniques used for protecting ferns during periods of cold and heat. Basically, for heat, the main thing that needs to be done is keep these plants moist. It helps to keep the leaves wet, but unfortunately they do not stay wet very long unless ones keeps them constantly misted.
The true roots below the soil surface do not need to be kept constantly wet as they are protected somewhat by the soil. Roots kept wet all the time, particularly in poorly draining soils, will rot easily and then the whole tree will be lost.
But keeping the trunk and crown moist during periods of excessive heat can mean the difference between a horrific, dead-looking stump and a luxurious set of fronds atop a healthy trunk.
Most experienced tree fern growers in warm, dry climates either plant their trees in shaded, protected moist microclimates, perhaps near a pond or fountain. And most serious growers have drip systems set up at the tops of the trees keeping the trunks and crown wet most of the time.
Still, periods of heat beyond the tolerable will damage the fronds and cause them to shrivel up and look unsightly. Cold protection ranges from planting trees against buildings, under other trees or in other protected microclimates, to keeping them in pots and moving them indoors.
Some will dig up their plants each fall and overwinter them in burlap. Still others wrap in various protective materials like bubble wrap, heavy blankets etc.
This is an excellent web site for all sorts of information on tree fern cultivation, by the way. Tree ferns all have very high light requirements. However some still manage to perform well as house plants, as long as one can keep them sufficiently moistened lack of humidity is the second biggest problem when growing tree ferns indoors behind sufficient lighting. Few tree ferns can tolerate full sun in hot, arid climates, but in humid or cooler climates, many prefer full sun locations and stay much healthier with a lot of direct sunlight.
Blechnum gibbums in Los Angeles in nearly full sun on right. Dickosonia squarrosa grown in a pot and indoors here, but outdoors in shade most of the time middle photo and Cyathea cooperis along the road side in Australia last photo by ginger Soils should be acid and well draining, though I have learned most common species seem to grow well in most soils as long as they are mulched well and not very basic a rare condition in southern California.
Though tree ferns will rot in poorly draining soils if kept excessively wet, they also suffer if soils dry out too much. This is why mulching soil is so important when growing these in the landscaping. Planting a lot of low-growing shrubs around their bases will also work well to protect the sensitive roots below from drying out too much. These Cyathea cooperis live in a fern grove, which keeps the soil constantly moist. Fertilizers heavy on the nitrogen portion are recommended for tree ferns, but one should be careful not to over-fertilize them.
It is much easier to give too much fertilizer than provide too little. In Southern California, most tree ferns need very little fertilizer other than mulch or compost as the soils tend to be pretty rich here. Cibotium - these are Pacific Island or Central and South American trees and shrubs though only a few are common in cultivation. Cibotium glaucum , one the Hawaiian tree ferns, is probably the best known of this group and it is a wonderful tree fern that actually does have soft hairs leaves still somewhat scaly and rough to the touch.
One can see these all over the place as landscape plants if visiting Hawaii. But they are also commonly grown in more marginal climates like Southern California and similar Mediterranean climates. It is not one of the more hardy tree ferns tolerating temps down to about 28F before they suffer significant leaf damage.
They also very much resent dry heat and winds, so best grown along the coast in protected courtyards in the marginal climates. These prefer minimal direct sunlight in marginal climates, but still need a lot of light and do not do very well as indoor ferns.
Cibotium glaucum in California and in Hawaii. Cibotium shiedei , or the Mexican tree Fern, is really more of a shrubby plant rather than a true tree fern, suckering and spreading in nature. But it is a very soft and user-friendly plant that tolerates even inland climates in protected gardens in southern California, as long as kept somewhat moist in hot summers. Cibotium schiedei outdoors in California, and Cibotium chamissoi , another relatively commonly grown Hawaiian tree fern with slightly less droopy leaves.
Cyathea - This is the largest family of tree ferns and there far too many species to touch upon here. Only 3 or 4 of the hardy species are likely to be encountered by most casual tropical plant collectors.
Cyathea cooperi is by far the most commonly grown species throughout the world- this is an Australian species that is fairly fast growing and can get up to nearly 30 feet tall. Though very common it is not one of the more hardy Cyathea species and can show signs of damage at or above 27F.
Last year mine defoliated twice- once in the heat of summer F and once in the winter 25F … yet still it keeps on growing. This is a tree that does best if grown in a location where it gets at least partial day sun, but not hot, afternoon sun if grown inland. Cyathea cooperis in California- a very common landscaping plant.
The second two photos are of the Brentwood form- middle photo in California, and the photo on the right shows these ferns lining a road in Australia photo by ginger Though much less common, Cyathea medularis is very tall and excellent landscape fern for marginal climates and seems to have a bit more cold tolerance than Cyathea cooperi.
It has ornamental black leaf bases and horizontally oriented leaves. Though a slow grower, it picks up a speed a bit once it gets some size and can be an excellent landscape tree to plant other sensitive plants under. Cyathea medularis in large shade structure, out in the open and under a palm canopy, all southern California.
Cyathea amaragarensis in California, Cyathea australis in Australia- photo by kennedyh and a young Cyathea brownii in California. Cyathea princeps , Cyathea spinulosa , and Cyathea tomentosissim a, all in California. Dicksonia - this genus includes the most commonly grown tree fern in cultivation- the Male fern or Soft Fern, Dicksonia antarctica. It is a very common species seen frequently in landscapes from Britain, to the entire west coast of the US and, of course, Australia and Tasmania, its native lands.
This is a long-lived, slow-growing species lives hundreds of years and can grow up to 50 feet eventually, though usually not in cultivation, at least not in the more marginal climates. One can see these trees all over southern California as a basic component of public landscaping both inland and along the coast.
It is a very durable species handling cold down to the low 20s, and tolerating some direct sun inland. However, hot, sunny days in summer still thrash this species and make it look unsightly if the trunk, crown and leaves are not watered frequently that time of the year. Dicksonia antarcticas in California left and right and in the wild in Australia middle.
Another Dicksonia species encountered more and more frequently is Dicksonia squarrosa. However, it is still somewhat rare in cultivation and large, mature palms are rare outside of New Zealand. This tree has a markedly black trunk covered with golden hairs, and the undersides of the leaves are distinctly light color. It is a species that sometimes grows suckers right against the base. It is cold hardy down to about 25F. However, it definitely resents the hot summers and has to be watered nearly daily during heat waves.
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