Misplaced Tree Fern

I’m not pointing fingers, but whoever planted these two tree ferns (cyathea cooperi) at our back door wasn’t thinking ahead. Okay, I am pointing fingers – Mother Nature, try again. They’re great plants but they are a bit big for this space.

When they were small enough to stay under the stairs, we didn’t mind too much that they grew over the path (we loved their constantly spreading fronds). But now they definitely infringe on our access and require pretty regular pruning (I thought they were slow growing – just one more misconception I had about any number of plants in my garden).

These guys had to be moved. But finding some place that could take a tree 15 metres high that is also a fern and likes ferny conditions (moist, shady, cool) was problematic. Luckily we have 2 friends who were happy to each get one. One friend even sent us home with a triple of cordyline (the other has offered us as much horse manure as our garden can handle). Giving is great, receiving ain’t too bad either.

The cordyline are now the centrepiece of the reduced bed. Paul promises that they are slow growers so they won’t interfere with our stairs any time soon. Just to be sure, Frank forbade me from adding manure or even good soil to the bed!

We now can walk up and down without bobbing and weaving.

I think the cordylines fit in nicely with the succulents that I’ve replanted in the empty spot. I expect to have a lot of losses of the succulents, but this area is perfect for them so I’m sure they’ll spread and cover the bed in no time whether I give them a start or not.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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2 Responses to Misplaced Tree Fern

  1. well I hate to say it but Cordelines are pretty fast growing here, but the good thing is that you can just lop the tops off if they get too high and they will shoot from the cut off top. It is a pity you couldn’t find room for a tree fern – they are one of my favourites. Mind you free manure sounds pretty good.

  2. Yeah, I suppose “fast” is relative. I’m hoping that even when they do get to stair height, they won’t spread like the tree fern and block the way. But, if they do, I can just hack them off as you suggest. What a fantastic plant!

    As for tree ferns, I love them and maybe could find a space for them but I’ve become pretty ruthless with my plants and if they don’t feed me (or my chickens) or produce some beautiful flowers, I’m reluctant to give them space (and allow them to shade my productive crops).

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