Asparagus Fern: Care and Growth

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asparagus fern

Do you know that you can grow Asparagus Ferm both in outdoor ad indoor settings?

The soft texture of this small needle-like plant helps to add airiness to mixed beds in your garden.

Asparagus fern delights you with white blossoms along with red berries that help to attract birds.

Moreover, in garden beds, they can spread vigorously through their fleshy roots, as well as by birds who eat their berries, then deposit the seeds.

It is important to note that a number of species of the Asparagus genus are commonly known as Asparagus Fern especially A. densiflorus, which you can grow outside.

However, you can grow A. aethiopicus as a houseplant.

Though different species, both are very similar plants with bright green feathery-textured foliage.

Keep on reading to learn more about Asparagus Fern in detail.

Asparagus Fern

These are warn-weather perennials that are closely related to the common edible garden asparagus.

In zones 9 to 11, these plants are hardy outdoors where they will grow as creeping spreading plants.

However, it is also common for them to grow as indoor houseplants where they make a good specimen in mixed containers or hanging baskets.

Normally, you will need to plant them in spring, the fast-growing fern has a lot of good qualities.

But it comes with some important cautions. In warm, humid climates, asparagus fern will spread rapidly when you plant them outdoors to the point of seriuos invasiveness.

asparagus fern 1

Make sure to check with your local extension to find out if it is invasive in your area or not.

Indoors, the key to a robust asparagus fern is to keep them properly watering, bushy, and dense, so its lace-like foliage forms an attractive mound.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that asparagus fern is mildly toxic to humans and moderately toxic to pets.

Fast Facts about Asparagus Fern

Some fast facts about asparagus fern are:

Common Name Asparagus fern
Botanical Name Asparagus aethiopicus, A. densiflorus
Family Asparagaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size Up to 3 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Partial (outdoor); bright, indirect light (indoors)
Soil Type Well-drained potting mix
Soil pH Slightly acidic (6.5-6.8)
Bloom Time Spring to fall
Flower Color White; flowers are insignificant
Hardiness Zones 9-11 (USDA)
Native Area South Africa
Toxicity Mildly toxic to humans; moderately toxic to dogs and cats

Asparagus Fern Care

If you live in zones 9 or warmer, you can grow this plant outdoors as perennials.

In an outdoor setting, these plants prefer a partial shade location in organically rich, moist, well-draining soil.

While in all other climates, you can plant them as an annual and keep them indoors as a houseplant.

Moreover, it is also popular as an outdoor container plant where you can use it as a thriller in a mixed planting.

You can, however, bring the container inside when the weather turns cold.

Leaves of the Asparagus fern are like leaf-like cladodes.

The true leaves a barely visible scale near the base of cladodes. While ferns look fort to touch, they tend to be quite sharp.

Therefore, make sure to wear gardening gloves if you want to prune an older plant.

When asparagus fern is content in its location, it will produce small flowers followed by berries that are mildly toxic.

Furthermore, these berries are toxic to both cats and dogs.

Warning: Asparagus fern is considered an invasive species when your plant them outdoors.

Light, Soil, and Water Requirements

The asparagus fern tends to thrive in dappled shape, though it can be acclimated in more light as well.

However, make sure to keep it out of direct, bright sunlight which can scorch the foliage.

Make sure to plant the asparagus fern in pots o containers in moist, loose, well-draining potting soil.

In an outdoor setting, plant them in rich, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic.

This plant prefers rich soil to thrive in so make sure that the container has drainage holes.

Keeping an asparagus fern hydrated will take a little effort, as this plant tends to thrive on humidity.

Indoor growing conditions can often be too dry for them, especially during the winter heating season.

watering the plant

Therefore, you can mist the plant daily, while also focusing on the arching stems.

However, if the plant appears to be turning brown and droopy, it likely needs more water.

Keep the soil moist, and water when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.

Furthermore, warmer, humid air, and daily misting can help it thrive.

Outdoors, keep your plant well-watered to prevent the soil from drying out completely.

Temperature, Humidity, and Fertilizer Requirments

Make sure to maintain a warm temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and not dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit for too long.

However, if you have a shady porch or a greenhouse, the indoor plants will respond with abundant growth over the summer.

Moreover, avoiding sudden changes in temperatures can cause the cladodes to drop.

Feed asparagus fern with liquid or water-soluble all-purpose plant food by diluting it to half-strength.

During summers, contain plants may need weekly feeding, otherwise, feeding them monthly will be enough.

Types of Asparagus Fern

There are a number of types of popular cultivators of asparagus fern. These are:

Myeri has dense foliage on upright stems. It is also known as Foxtail Fern.

Sprengeri boasts long stems and a full, almost fluffy mounding form.

Moreover, it is also referred to as an Asparagus Emerald Ferm.

Sprengeri Compacta tends to have the same features as its namesake, however, it is a dwarf variety.

Nana features bright green foliage and is another compact variety of asparagus fern.

Pruning and Propagating Asparagus Fern

It is important to note that asparagus fern is a fast grower and you may want to trim it to keep it tidy.

It is okay if you leave it looking wild and shaggy. You can use clean garden spears or sharp scissors to remove brown portions or to regenerate an older plant.

However, make sure that you can cut the base, not in the middle of a stem.

asparagus fern 2

While you can propagate this plant by planting the seeds in the berries, the easier and faster way is to dig up and divide the tuberous roots.

You can do that by following the steps below:

  • In spring, dig up the entire plant or remove it from its pot using a trowel or shovel
  • Make sure to wear gloves to protect yourself from the spark spikes of the plant
  • Divide the root clump into sections using a trowel or knife, making sure that each section includes a root section, as well portion of the crown with growing shoots
  • Replant the pieces of the plant into an individual pot or their own garden locations. It is best to keep the plant shaded until you see new growth begin.

Growing Asparagus Fern from Seeds

You can find the seeds of asparagus fern inside the small red berries that the mature plants will produce.

When the berries are fully ripe, mask them and strain out the small seeds.

Moreover, these will be often one to three seeds per berry.

Before planting them, scarify, and soak seeds overnight.

then press them on the top of the soil and the seeds need light to germinate.

Germination can take a few weeks. When true leaves develop, you can transplant the seedlings into a larger pot to continue growing.

Potting, Repotting, and Overwintering Asparagus Fern

Plant asparagus fern in pots or containers in loose, well-drained potting soil.

This plant tends to grow quickly and the tuberous roots can easily break a pot.

Therefore, plan or repoting often. For most successful repotting, divide the plant into big clumps.

Make sure to take multiple underground roots when dividing the plant.

potting and repotting

Then, place the divided plant into new pots filled with fresh potting soil and water the well.

In case outdoor temps begin to dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to bring your plant inside.

Keep them in bright light, away from drafts and radiators.

Moreover, make sure to keep the soil moist, but do not let the root stand in water, as this can cause root rot.

Common Pests, Diseases, and Problems

Spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs like to hang out in the leaves of this plant. You can get rid of them with the help of insecticidal soap.

It is important to note that overly wet conditions can cause root rot, so make sure to avoid overwatering to prevent these issues.

While this plant is easy to grow, it does have a couple of issues that you can easily remedy if you understand what you are looking for.

Yellow Leaves

The leaves of the asparagus fern will turn yellow if it has pests like mealybugs and spider mites, or if your plant is not getting enough sunlight.

To improve this, you will ned to remove pests, place the plant in brighter light, and mist the plant this should resolve the problem.

Moreover, the leaves of this plant can turn yellow if you over-fertilize or if it has too much or too little light.

If your asparagus fern is turning brown and looks like it is drying out, you may have underwatered it.

Cut off the brown, dried sections, and try watering more often.

Dropping Leaves

One of the biggest problems with asparagus fern is dropping foliage which can litter floors and tables with fine dried-out needles.

This normally happens due to inconsistent watering.

While these plants do not like to soak in water, neither like to be parched, the right watering rhythm can be difficult to maintain in colder climates, where indoor air can be very drying during the winter.

Therefore, more frequent watering and misting is the solution to a plant this is badly shedding.

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