The fronds should be left on the plant until they die, where you can just leave them to just drop off naturally, or you can just prune them off, at least a few inches from the main trunk. 

Dicksonia antarctica tree fern buyThe green fronds on the tree fern continue to go through photosynthesis and produce food for the plant. Removing them before they have died reduces the amount of food produced, resulting in shorter and fewer leaves the following season. 

A lot of people just think they look scruffy with the old leaves hanging down. Personally this is part of the charm, I don’t grow stuff like this for a ‘pristine’ garden. If the plant had benefited from dropping the fronds earlier, it probably would have evolved to do it already!

Preparing A Tree Fern For Winter

To protect the young croziers (fern leaves) from frost, gently stuff some straw into the crown. If cold weather is forecast, some people wrap their tree ferns in horticultural fleece or bubble wrap. 

If your tree fern is in a pot, you might be able to relocate it closer to your home. Planting tree ferns in a sheltered location, away from frost pockets and strong winds, provides the best protection. In general, a house wall will be a warmer environment for a plant in the winter. 

What Do You Do With A Dead Tree Fern?

Instead of letting a lifeless trunk rot in your garden, give it new life by repurposing it as plant pots! A hollowed-out tree fern stump can be transformed into stunning-looking containers for bromeliads and orchids, which require little soil to grow and will happily settle into a stump.

Where can I buy tree ferns in the uk?

Further Reading & Common Tree Fern Questions

FAQ Tree Ferns – Learn, Buy & Grow with us.


Last Modified: September 6, 2022