Depending on the local conditions will depend on how fast your tree fern will grow. A tree fern such as Dicksonia Antarctica will grow 1inch in height per year in the UK.

If you have a 3ft tree fern, it’s already about 25 years old right now. I have a pair of 6ft tree ferns that are already a good 50 years old! (I bought them about 3-4 years ago)

How fast does a tree fern grow?

How fast does a tree fern grow?

In the natural environment where they grow natively such as Tasmania and East Australia, they can grow almost double the speed, so 1-3 inches per year. Supposedly, one of the Australian tree ferns has been known to grow 3 feet per year… howeverI have not seen any proof of this though…so DYOR on that one! 

The speed at which a tree fern grows in the UK is directly attributed to how well you look after it, and its position in your garden. The ideal spot for a tree fern for fastest growth would be a sheltered area in part shade. Ideally you would then be watering almost every day through the summer, or do as I have done which is to install auto irrigation drippers on a timer, which is on for 5-10 mins twice a day. This almost ensures they grow as well as possible in the UK. 

How tall can a tree fern grow?

Tree ferns can grow massive in their natural habitat, technically can grow to around 15m in absolute ideal locations. However in the UK you’re going to be limited by the size of the tree that has been shipped half way around the world. So realistically the largest tree fern you’ll see in the UK is 12-15ft, and to be honest that’s pretty rare in a normal garden. I’m sure there are some large examples in Kew, but this is a very controlled environment!

My best advice here is to buy the size you need for the garden and expect to see very little growth over your own lifetime! If you can get anywhere near a foot in a decade you’re doing extremely well and the plant is very established. 

Further Reading & Common Tree Fern Questions

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Last Modified: September 6, 2022