Tree fern, Cyatheales: Wanted poster and varieties

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Tree fern

These extraordinary creatures are considered the oldest and largest ferns in the world and can grow up to 20 meters high in their homeland in tropical and subtropical rainforests. In the 19th century, the first tree ferns came to Europe. Meanwhile, the living fossils have also found their way into our native gardens and offer friends of ferns the right entry into the world of exotic plants. However, there are some basic things to keep in mind when taking care of these tropical beauties.
  • botanical name: Cyatheales
  • Department: ferns, vascular plants
  • Genus includes over 620 species
  • Use: as a room and container plant
  • Largest representative: Norfolk tree fern (Cyathea brownii)
  • Growth height: up to 30 meters
  • Crown diameter: up to five meters
  • has on the trunk of fern fronds
  • Habitat: light, partially shaded to shady, sheltered from the wind
  • Watering: regularly, do not allow to dry out, spray from trunk and fronds
  • Fertilizer: Regular liquid fertilizer from April to September
  • Overwinter: bright, cool room
Tree ferns are certainly one of the more sophisticated potted plants for gardening enthusiasts. In its native habitat, the trunk reaches an amazing height of 30 meters - Norfolk Tree Fern (Cyathea brownii). The imposing crown with a diameter of up to five meters consists of over 50 filigree fronds, which can sometimes be up to four meters long. At only five centimeters per year, the trunk grows relatively slowly. However, its diameter can be 40 centimeters.

Tree fern species

The true Cyatheales has on its straight trunk a head of fern fronds, which are multi-feathered. Pure tree fern families are Dicksoniacees and Cyatheaceen, which also have a commercial significance at the same time. The genus Cyatheales comprises over 620 species and thus forms the largest group.
Cyathea australis (Australian tree fern)
  • Giant from the tree fern family
  • Trunk height over ten meters
  • Canopy can reach a diameter of five meters
  • dark brown to black stem
  • Palm fronds are bright and rich green
  • relatively cold-tolerant
  • tolerates frost for a short time to minus ten degrees
  • can be cultivated as a tub and houseplant
Cyathea cooperi (Scaly Tree Fern)
  • popular Zimmerbaumfarnart
  • fast growing
  • Growth height over ten meters
  • Fern fronds can reach lengths of more than three meters
  • Trunk with about 20 centimeters much narrower than other species
  • must not be shortened, otherwise he will enter
  • black trunk
  • Fern fronds green and silvery in the light
  • can stand outdoors at temperatures up to zero degrees
Cyathea dealbata (New Zealand Silver Fern)
  • robust container plant
  • Trunk height over ten meters
  • Canopy up to six meters
  • Fern fronds shine silvery on the underside
  • Trunk is slim and brown-black
  • Older specimens tolerate briefly minus five degrees in winter
Cyathea medullaris (Black Tree Fern)
  • all-year room cultivation possible
  • Growth height up to 20 meters
  • Canopy up to three meters
  • Fern fronds reach five to six meters in length
  • not frost resistant
Cyathea smithii (soft tree fern)
  • as a container plant to cultivate
  • Tribe height to eight meters
  • grows slowly
  • Fern fronds reach a length of 2.5 meters
  • Frost-hard tree fern
  • sensitive to heat
  • fully shaded location
  • tolerates frosts down to minus ten degrees for a short time
Cyathea tomentosissima
  • Keep out in the summer
  • but can also be cultivated throughout the year as a houseplant
  • grows slowly
  • Growth height up to eight meters
  • Fern fronds have filigree red scales
  • tolerates light frosts down to minus three degrees
Cyathea brownii (Norfolk tree fern)
  • Container plant or as a houseplant in the conservatory
  • grows fast
  • thin trunk
  • makes up to five meters long fronds
  • feathered fern fronds of deep green leaves
  • Base is covered with dark brown scales
Tree ferns can be cultivated well in our latitudes as bucket or indoor plant. As a houseplant, the palm-like creatures should have enough space. In addition, a location near a window would be ideal. If the Cyatheales is too dark, it grows accordingly slower.
As long as the winter garden is not overly hot in summer, it is just as suitable for tree ferns. At temperatures above 35 degrees plant friends should better do without it. Many species can confidently spend the summer outdoors.
  • partially shaded to shady place
  • sheltered
  • as a houseplant bright location
In order for the tree fern to develop its full beauty, the substrate should be optimally adapted to it.
  • permeable to water
  • breathable
  • loose soil with a content of organic substances
  • acid soil
  • no lime
  • nutritious


A thick drainage layer should always be placed in the lower part of the pot or bucket - a mixture of gravel, sand, expanded clay, humus soil and a small amount of bark.
Tip: Coconut fiber substrates offer a successful alternative. Even potting soil can be used if this much compost is mixed.
to water
Tree ferns need high humidity and plenty of water. With regard to the roots there is a special feature of the tree ferns: with dried out petioles, a short section remains, from which new roots form. These roots not only support the stability of the strain. The tree fern absorbs nutrients and water with them. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep the strain moist. This is best achieved when the water is poured into the leaf crown. So the running water supplies the trunk with moisture at the same time. In addition, the strain can be sprayed with a nebulizer. Excess water must be removed.
  • Fertilization time April to September
  • regularly pour some liquid fertilizer into the irrigation water
  • Use green plant fertilizer with little phosphorus
  • Pour the fertilizer water into the leaf crown
Although some species of Cyatheales would survive short-term frosts, tree ferns should not overwinter outdoors. In a bright and little heated place, they are better off. Ideal would be a cold house or a shady place in the conservatory.
  • Hibernate at five to ten degrees
  • Pour moderately, do not allow to dry out
  • can not stand winter sun
Home gardeners cultivating their tree fern outdoors all year round can take steps to protect their exotic friend:
  • wind-protected place without direct sunlight
  • Place the bucket on a base such as a polystyrene plate
  • Layer of bark mulch on soil and in leaf crown
  • Tie the crown together with string
  • Wrap stem with fleece or straw mats
  • Pot in foil or Styrofoam wrap
  • pour moderately
frequently asked Questions
My tree fern lost all leaves in winter. Now he is reissuing, but gets again brown tips. Why is that?
Since the tree fern is originally native to tropical and subtropical areas, it will probably lack air moisture. Due to the dry heating air in winter the tree fern does not feel well. Daily spraying of the trunk already helps.
I have a tree fern in the bucket on the balcony. Now, a brown surface forms around the fern, which looks somehow moldy. When pouring it "steams". What to do?
It could be a slime mold that looks yellow at first and turns brown when dried out. This fungus occurs when the amount of peat in the substrate is too high. When touched (or by pouring), the fungus discharges countless spores that look like fine smoke. Simply remove superficially. The plant does not harm it.

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