HARDY SOFT TREE FERN, Man Fern, Dicksonia antarctica
The fern grows at 3.5 to 5 cm per year and produces spores at the age of about 20 years.
Reproduction by this species is primarily from spores, but it can also be grown from plantlets occurring around the base of the rhizome.
The plant can grow in acid, neutral and alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade. It strongly resents drought, and does best in moist soil.
This plant is particularly suited to garden planting and landscaping purposes. As an ornamental plant, it is hardy to about −5 °C (23 °F) with some reports of hardiness to -10°C (14°F), succeeding outdoors in the milder areas of Britain where it thrives and often self-sows in Cornish and Scottish west coast gardens. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Note: The 'seeds' of this fern are actually spores (very, very tiny). See germination info below. There are 5+ spores per pack.
Germination: It is important to use a sterile seed-start mix, or sterile a mix with boiling water, before planting. Use a pot with holes so water can drain. When cool, sow on the surface of the mix. Watering should be done from the base only (from a bottom tray), as watering from the surface will bury the spores and they cannot grow. Cover the pot with clear plastic, and keep in a well lit location as light is required for germination. Do not place in direct sun. The ferns can take weeks or months to germinate.