After a while, tree ferns can take care of themselves in winter. Once they’ve had a chance to winterise and harden off, they’ll take on sub-zero temperatures like you’d hope a tree would. Before then, however, there are some easy steps you should take to protect that ancient wonder.
Protect the crown
Stuff this bit full of leaves
The crown is the key to fabulous fronds and it’s the part that, if damaged, will impact your tree fern’s growth. Thankfully, the solution’s all around you in the autumn – fallen leaves. Stuff some handfuls around the bases of the fronds popping out of the crown, and they’ll provide a handy layer of insulation for the coldest winter nights. If leaves are somehow unavailable – maybe you’ve cleared them all away already – straw bedding like you’d have for a hamster will also do the trick.
If there are no fronds you can go all-out with insulation and an additional fleece, but you don’t have to cut the fronds off just to do this. They’ll probably go black when they get frost- and ice-damaged, but you can wait until this happens before cutting them back.
Wrap the trunk
Like this, but wrapped up
If you haven’t got a horticultural fleece to easily wrap around the trunk/stem. you can use anything you like to hold some insulation in place. Use autumn leaves again, but something like corrugated cardboard or chicken wire will be needed to keep the leaves where you want them. Just like stuffing a stocking with paper for a halloween costume.
Move it somewhere warmer
Your greenhouse may not be this big
Should you have your tree fern in a pot, the easiest solution is to put it somewhere warmer. Tree ferns are tropical in nature, harking back to dinosaur times when the world was balmy, so they like comfortable warmth if they can get it. A greenhouse is good, temporarily indoors is great, but anywhere you can put it to keep sub-zero temperatures away is worth doing.
Shop Frost Protection on Primrose.co.uk. To learn more about protecting plants in winter, check out this blog post!