Dwarf Tree Fern

12 Dec

Dwarf Tree Fern (Blechnum gibbum ‘Silver Lady’), evergreen fern with an unusual, palm-like appearance, 1-2 ft. trunk with a  crown of spreading fronds, new fronds are light green and mature to deep green, medium to dense shade, consistent moisture, good container plant, native.

These evergreen ferns are noted for their symmetrical, formal appearance.

Blechnum gibbum ‘Silver Lady’ is fast-growing, and can reach 6 feet in height, though it’s more likely to top out at 4 or 5. It has a distinctive frond structure that I’ve always found difficult to describe until I heard it classified as one of the “shuttlecock” ferns. Exactly. For anyone who’s ever seen a badminton “bird,” this description will make perfect sense. Oblong, lance-shaped pinnatisect bright green fronds rise vaselike from a central trunk and maintain their verticality, making for a distinctively architectural form. With its short trunk, one can understand why it has the appearance of a small palm to some.

California native cousin: blechnum B. spicant, known as deer fern, is a native cousin. It is tougher than ‘Silver Lady’, but does not have that wonderful trunk.

You can grow B. ‘Silver Lady’ inside, if you give it a warmish position near a window. Increased humidity will aid in its growth and general happiness. Blechnums are lime intolerant, so if you are in an area where hard water is the norm, use purified water for indoor specimens or add a few drops of lemon juice to the water. Grow in moist, well-drained slightly acidic soil in full to partial shade. Add lots of organic material to the soil. Top dress in the cooler months if specimen is not being brought indoors. Remove any older leaves as necessary. Feed every three months during the growing season with an organic, slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer.


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