Tree ferns are light and airy plants that come from tropical and subtropical rainforests in Australia and New Zealand. They are actual ferns that reproduce by spores. As new fronds develop, the old ones below die off, creating a trunk where they were attached to the plant.
Australian tree ferns grow to 40 feet tall with a crown of fern fronds that are up to 8 feet long. The trunk is typically 4 to 6 inches thick.
Australian tree ferns need rich, well-draining sandy soils that remain moist and cannot tolerate full sun or freezing. They can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 10b through 11.
Australian tree ferns can be grown indoors in the winter months in a large pot, then taken outdoors in spring and summer when temperatures remain above -3.33 degrees C. The fern will stay smaller when grown in a container.
Australian tree ferns do not need to be pruned. Old fronds will naturally fall from the trunk as new ones are produced.
Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser once a month during the spring and summer growing season to Australian tree ferns. For container-grown plants, dilute the fertiliser to half-strength.