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How to overwinter Dickensonia Antartica


By Maggiep

United Kingdom Gb

I bought my fern at Easter 2007 but put it out too early and it was severly damaged by spring snow. It has recovered really well but I would like to know how and when to start winter protection before I Iose the lot again this year.



Hi Maggie. If it has got a trunk yet then the main problem is frost getting into the roots (which Is what the trunk is believe it or not.) Unless it is a baby with no trunk yet then these beasts are fairly resilient. Sure they will lose their leaves in winter but come the spring they will put out new fronds (somebody told me on another forum what the unfurled fronds are called but I've forgotten, so I just call them young fronds) and have a lovely crown again next year. The leaves are only hardy to -2oC but the plant itself will bounce back to -10oC so all you have to do is make sure frost doesn't get into the centre. So pack the centre loosely with straw or hay (straw is slightly better, it doesn't rot so easily) then scoop all the leaves together at the top over the straw and tie them round to hold them. They will die but as I said will come back, as sure as Arnold Scharzenneger , next spring.

If your tree fern is still very young then it wants fleecing at the least or keeping under glass. I bought one just a few weeks ago at Reighton Nurseries near here for only £3.50. No trunk yet but I reckon it should have one for my 100th birthday. So my bigger one (planted out) is, as every year, getting the straw and string treatment and my baby is going to come into the house for the winter because there is no room in the greenhouse.

You don't say exactly where you are in the UK ( I wish people would it would make it easier to advise them) but unless you are in the N.E. Scotland this advice should be OK.

Forgot to add, unless you are in Cornwall then start now.


26 Oct, 2008

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