Position: partial to full shade
Soil: humus-rich, neutral to acid soil
Rate of growth: slow-growing
Hardiness: half hardy - (would benifit from winter protection)
A fantastic, tree-like fern with a thick mass of roots that form a trunk and large, up to 3m (10ft) long, filigree-like fronds. These impressive tree ferns are one of the oldest plants in the world and add a touch drama to any garden. They are native to Australia and Tasmania, and since they are slow growing, can take 10 years to grow only 30cm of trunk.
Try them in a semi-shaded spot, among ferns and woodland plants, as part of an exotic scheme, or beside water. They are hardy to -10 degrees C, although the foliage may die back at -2 degrees C. They will happily grow in any soil as long as the trunk is kept moist.
Plants may be dispatched without leaf fronds, however these will soon grow back.
Garden care: As these plants absorb their nutrients through the trunk, water and feed by spraying the whole stem and crown. They are not fully hardy so will need protection in winter. In milder areas you can do this by gently stuffing a few handfuls of fallen leaves into the crown. In colder parts of the country pack the crown with straw before wrapping it with strips of frost fleece, or over-winter it in an unheated greenhouse. As the new growth starts to emerge in spring, the protection should be removed.