Blechnum brasiliense

Common names for this species include ‘Red Dwarf Tree Fern’ and ‘Red Brazilian Tree Fern’. The name ‘brasiliense’ simply means from Brazil. The fern is common in humid sites in Brazil and in similar habitats across South America. This species is most well known for the striking red new foliage which turns to a glossy green as fronds mature. The image below shows Blechnum brasiliense growing with new striking red fronds emerging in the United States Botanic Garden Washington, DC.

Blechnum brasiliense showing striking red new growth” title=


Overtime the erect rhizome of this fern will form a thin stipe-stubbed trunk around 30cm (9″) in height. The species is monomorphic. The species not like excessive watering, but must not dry out, a free draining potting mix and a high amount of sunlight. Blechnum brasiliense is not hardy and coming from the warm and humid subtropical forests of South America it will not tolerate any frost. Therefore in colder climates this species makes a great greenhouse specimen if you can keep your greenhouse heated above freezing in winter.

Blechnum brasiliense in the tropical house at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Australia” title=

Over winter keep the plant on the dry side of moist as it won’t appreciate being kept wet and cold. This fern can be grown indoors in warmer climates and requires a light position with some humidity. In a modern central heated house you may struggle to keep a comfortable temperature range and humidity for this plant to thrive in.

There are two main cultivated variations of the species in circulation which are:
Blechnum brasiliense ‘crispum’ – segments have prominently crisped margins.
Blechnum brasiliense ‘cristatum’ – segments are crested.