Dicksonia squarrosa known as wheki or slender tree fern is an elegant fern native to northern New Zealand where it grows in shady often swampy locations usually associated with high rainfall. The wheki has a narrow dark brown almost black trunk topped by a roseatte of compact deep green leaves which have a distinct deep brown hairy midrib. In the wild the wheki can reach heights of up to 7 metres but is usually much smaller, it is unusual amongst tree ferns for being able to regrow from the base or trunk if the main growing point is damaged or stressed.
This is a tree fern that really needs moisture, ideally daily watering to keep healthy and flourish. It is not fully hardy in the U.K requiring winter temperatures to remain above -2 degrees celsius so I’d recommend bringing undercover during the winter months.
Dicksonia squarrosa is not often available here these days but is an easy rewarding fern to grow given adequate moisture and frost protection. It is happy in a container and responds well to regular dilute feeds of seaweed extract during the growing months.