Your Guide to Purchasing a Japanese Fern Tree for Your Landscape

The Japanese fern tree, also known as Filicium decipiens, is an unusual and exotic specimen tree gaining popularity in landscapes. Its graceful form and delicate, fern-like foliage create striking visual interest. If you’re considering adding a Japanese fern tree to your outdoor space, this guide will provide useful information and tips to help you find the perfect tree for sale.

Overview of the Japanese Fern Tree

Here are some quick facts to get to know this unique tree:

  • Originated in tropical east Africa and India
  • Evergreen tree reaching 25-40 feet tall and wide
  • Feathery, fern-like leaves on drooping slender branches
  • Produces small white flowers in spring/summer
  • Low maintenance once established
  • Tolerant of heat, coastal conditions, and various soil types

The Japanese fern tree has a naturally rounded, spreading canopy. It creates filtered shade below its branches. While it looks delicate, it’s actually quite hardy and trouble-free once established.

Where to Find Japanese Fern Trees for Sale

Japanese fern trees are sold at some specialty nurseries and online:

  • Local nurseries – Call ahead to see if any nurseries in your area carry this unique plant. It may be a special order item.

  • Online nurseries – Search for sellers offering container-grown Japanese fern trees shipped to your location. Eureka Farms, Smarty Plants, and Tree Source are some reputable online sources.

  • Garden centers – Sometimes available seasonally along with other specimen trees. Inventory is limited.

When buying online, look for sellers who professionally pack and ship the trees to arrive in good condition.

What to Look for When Selecting a Japanese Fern Tree

When browsing Japanese fern trees for sale, look for

  • Healthy foliage – Leaves should be intact, vibrant green, and show no signs of distress. Avoid trees with yellowing, spotted, or dry foliage.

  • Good form – Select a tree with evenly spaced and symmetrical branch arrangement. Skip any with crossed or congested branching.

  • Root ball condition – Container-grown trees should not be root-bound. Check that roots don’t circle the trunk.

  • Size – Pick a tree sized appropriately for your space. Most sellers offer multiple height options.

  • Soil needs – Ensure your soil meets the drainage and pH requirements of this tree.

  • Hardiness range – Confirm your climate is suitable, as Japanese fern trees need zone 10 or higher.

Choosing a vigorous, healthy specimen sets your tree up for success. Carefully inspect trees before purchasing.

Deciding on Container Size

Japanese fern trees are sold in different size containers based on their maturity. Typical options include:

  • 3-7 gallon – Best for younger trees under 6 feet tall. Easy for transport and transplanting.

  • 15-25 gallon – Larger containers for more established trees over 6 feet tall. Provide room to grow.

  • B&B/bare root – Mature trees over 10 feet are sometimes field dug. Require more careful handling.

For most residential landscapes, opt for a smaller container-grown tree that adjusts more smoothly. Check height and spacing needs for your location.

Caring for Your Japanese Fern Tree

To keep your new specimen healthy, provide these care measures:

  • Sunlight – Needs full sun. Avoid shady planting sites.

  • Soil – Well-draining soil enriched with compost is ideal. Prefers slightly acidic conditions.

  • Water – Irrigate regularly until established. Mature trees are drought-tolerant.

  • Fertilizer – Apply balanced fertilizer in spring for younger trees. Matures trees need little fertilization.

  • Pruning – Generally needs minimal pruning aside from shaping and maintenance.

  • Pest control – Watch for scale and treat with horticultural oils if found. Disease issues are rare.

With the proper growing conditions, Japanese fern trees require minimal care while adding beauty. Their distinctive form makes them stand out.

Designing With Japanese Fern Trees

Here are some ways to showcase Japanese fern trees in your landscape:

  • Accent or specimen tree – The unique foliage makes it ideal as a standout focal point.

  • Group plantings – Cluster three together for a tropical look. Provides filtered shade.

  • Poolside tree – The drooping leaves complement water features nicely.

  • Patio tree – Situate one nearby to allow enjoyment of the delicate texture.

  • Property border – Plant in a row to form a graceful living screen.

Take photos of your planting space and visualize how a Japanese fern tree could enhance the design. Their versatility allows for many uses.

Discover the Uniqueness of the Japanese Fern Tree

The graceful form and delicate texture of the Japanese fern tree offer unique appeal. As an uncommon specimen tree, it makes a distinctive statement in outdoor spaces. If you’re looking for something different that thrives with minimal care, consider adding this exotic beauty to your landscape. Just be sure to purchase from a reputable source and give it proper growing conditions. Your new Japanese fern tree will soon become a much-admired focal point.

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Japanese Fern tree, grows wide. Give her lots of room. Max height 25 ft.

Are fern trees Japanese?

It’s neither Japanese in origin nor a fern – though the long thin leaves growing out from stems have a fern-like look. The small size – 20 or 25 feet – makes the fern tree a good choice for a small front yard for house or mobile home. Or it can be used in conjunction with other plantings, because the foliage has a unique tropical look.

How big do Japanese fern trees get?

All Japanese Fern Trees for sale will vary in size. In the spring, trees are often smaller than trees shipped in the fall. Plants designated with a sku ending in -4, -6 or -8 will arrive in a standard 4 inch, 6 inch or 8 inch round growers pot respectively.

Can Japanese ferns grow indoors?

In the northern end of their grow zone Japanese Fern Trees should be brought indoors or protected during the winter months. The patio zone is 4b-11 which means the potted tree will flourish over the summer months in colder zones but must be brought inside before winter. At the nursery these trees are grown under 20-40% shade cloth.

What does a Japanese fern tree look like in Florida?

Japanese fern trees in Florida look like they almost jumped out of a fairy tale. Close your eyes and imagine a large magnificent fern perched lollipop-style atop a slender trunk. That would be a Japanese fern tree. But don’t assume it’s a fern or Japanese in origin. It’s neither. Fern-like leaves resemble long fingers that push up and out.

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