How to grow and care for Smilax Asparagus Indoors

Houseplant, Asparagus asparagoides', Simlax Asparagus

Botanical name: Asparagus asparagoides
Synonym: Asparagus kuisibensis, Asparagus medeoloides
Family: Asparagaceae
Sufamily: Asparagoideae

Smilax Asparagus also called Cape Simlax, Bridal Creeper or Bridal-veil Creeper is a herbaceaus plant with vigorously-growing trailing stems on which shiny green leaf-like structures are borne. These leaf-like structures are flattened stems and not true leaves. The shiny foliage remains fresh for a long time after cutting which makes it ideal for floral arrangements especially bridal bouquets and hence the common name 'Bridal Creeper'. When provided with the right growing conditions, the plant may produce pendant white flowers which are followed by bright red berries. This plant is ideal for a hanging basket or a trellis; the stems can grow up to 5ft long. Simlax is native to eastern and southern Africa. Avoid growing Simlax Asparagus in the ground as the plant is invasive and has become a serious environmental weed in Australia and New Zealand.

Other Asparagus Plants commonly grown indoors include; Asparagus plumosus commonly called Common Asparagus Fern, Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' commonly called Foxtail Fern, Asparagus falcatus commonly called Sicklethorn and Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' commonly called Emerald Fern, among others.

How to Grow Simlax Asparagus

Light

Simlax Asparagus prefers semi-shade to bright light conditions. However, keep it away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight causes the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish instead. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

Water Simlax Asparagus thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period. Occasionally water the plant from below. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for Simlax Asparagus. Though it can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Simlax Asparagus has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.

Feeding

Feed Simlax Asparagus weekly during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Simlax Asparagus at the beginning of the growing season when the fleshy, fibrous roots push up the potting mixture. Use a pot which is 1 size larger and loose free-draining soil. A large plant can be divided to propagate new plants.

Pruning

Pruning Simlax Asparagus requires cutting back of the old stems to make room for new growth and trimming of dead leaves and branches to keep the plant neat and tidy. Find out more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Simlax Asparagus

Simlax Asparagus can be propagated by division or from seeds. The easiest method of propagation is by division. During repotting, divide the rhizome into sections by cutting with a sharp clean knife or a pair of scissors. Pot each division into individual pots in moist potting soil. Place the pots in a shaded place, maintain the soil moist until new growth begins and the plant is well established, after which routine care can begin.

Common Problems in Growing Simlax Asparagus

  • Yellowing foliage, brown-edged or scorched leaves and leaf drop
  • There are two reasons for this. One is too much sunlight; protect Simlax Asparagus from direct sunlight. The second reason is that the soil has been allowed to dry out; learn how to how to water houseplants correctly.

  • Yellowing foliage, leaf drop and no scorching
  • The causes of this in Simlax Asparagus are too high temperature or too little light. Maintain an average room temperature and ensure the plant receives the correct light.

  • Unexplained plant death
  • The cause for unexplained death of Simlax Asparagus is root-rot disease which is due to waterlogging of the soil. The thick, tuberous roots store water, soggy soil will cause root-rot.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Simlax Asparagus are Spider Mites, Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Whiteflies due to either overwatering or underwatering. They can be avoided by maintaining the soil moderately moist while avoiding overwatering or underwatering.

  • Diseases
  • Common diseases in Simlax Asparagus are Crown Rot and Stem Rot and Root-rot which are prevalent in too wet conditions.

Toxicity

Simlax Asparagus is mildly toxic to humans and pets. The berries if ingested will cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If handled with bare hands, they may cause contact dermatitis. The foliage of mature plants can develop sharp spines on the branches which can cause skin irritation if handled with bare hands.

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