Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern

Neoblechnum brasiliense

Raquel Patro

Published in

Neoblechnum brasiliense
Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern
Photo by peppyyyyyyyy

The Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern (Neoblechnum brasiliense) is a species of semi-shrubby fern native to Brazil, which stands out in landscaping for its unique beauty, large size, and adaptability, making it an interesting choice for tropical gardens and interiors. The Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern is a rhizomatous, perennial plant of great ornamental value with characteristically arched foliage. This plant forms a type of short, scaly, and fibrous trunk with slow growth, which develops over several years.

Its leaves are light green, arched, long, pinnate, slightly wavy, and arranged in a rosette, giving the plant a voluminous appearance and thick texture. In the ‘Volcano‘ cultivar, the young leaves emerge in the center of the plant with a reddish to coppery color, a characteristic that has popularized it since the redness of the young leaves reminds of the lava that emerges from the center of a volcano. There are also the cultivars ‘Crispum‘, which has crisp leaves, and the cultivar ‘Cristatum‘, with crested leaves, bringing a richer and more complex texture, further enriching the aesthetic of the environment in which they are found. These cultivars are especially appreciated by those looking to add an additional nuance of beauty to their garden or green space.

Neoblechnum brasiliense 'Volcano'
Neoblechnum brasiliense ‘Volcano’. Photo by Salix

On the underside of mature leaves, the sori form in curiously linear lines. These brown, powdery clusters contain spores, fundamental for the plant’s reproduction. The germination of these spores under ideal moisture conditions leads to the development of the prothallus, a delicate stage of the fern’s life cycle, which will later produce gametes for fertilization and growth of a new plant.

Young frond of the plant.
Young frond of the plant. Photo by Fabrício Mil Homens Riella

This fern will add a tropical feel to any environment. In landscaping, it can be grown under the canopy of trees forming beautiful clumps. The Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern can also be grown in flower beds, shaded borders, and in half-shade tropical gardens or winter gardens, and can be combined with philodendrons and heliconias, for example.

Indoors, it does very well in pots, adorning living rooms, offices, entrance halls, among other environments, bringing comfort and sophistication. In general, it is a species with simple maintenance. Only the pruning of yellowed or dead leaves is necessary. Avoid using it in environments with air conditioning that dries out its leaves.

It should be grown under partial shade or filtered light and appreciates slightly acidic, rich in organic matter, and well-drained soils. Growing it under full sun can burn its beautiful foliage, leaving it with a scorched and unpleasant appearance and can even lead to the plant’s death. It appreciates high relative humidity, with more than 60% saturation. If your environment is naturally dry, use a room humidifier near the plant, or create a microclimate with other plants that transpire a lot.

Sori on the underside of the fronds.
Sori on the underside of the fronds. Photo by Ben P

It is ideal to keep them at temperatures between 60.8 and 75.2°F (16 and 24°C), with gentle ventilation, without drafts. Water the plant when the substrate is superficially dry, always keeping it moist. Fertilize the Brazilian Dwarf Tree Fern in spring-summer, preferably with organic fertilizers, or in NPK 10.10.10 formulations with slow release, suitable for foliage, always respecting the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is advisable to apply the fertilizer around the plant, never next to the stem. Multiplication through spores during the summer is an effective technique for propagating this magnificent fern species. Sow the spores in moist vegetation boxes.

About Raquel Patro

Raquel Patro is a landscaper and founder of the Since 2006, she has been developing specialized content on plants and gardens, as she believes that everyone, whether amateurs or professionals, should have access to quality content. As a geek, she likes books, science fiction and technology.