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Botanical name: Asparagus asparagoides
Synonym: Asparagus kuisibensis, Asparagus medeoloides
Common names: Smilax Asparagus Fern, Cape Smilax, Bridal Creeper, Bridal-veil Creeper
Smilax Asparagus Fern (Asparagus asparagoides) also called Cape Smilax, 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 Bridal Creeper 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, Smilax Asparagus Fern may produce pendant white flowers which are followed by bright red berries.
Bridal Creeper is ideal for a hanging basket or a trellis where the stems, about 5ft long, can display their beauty.
Asparagus asparagoides is native to eastern and southern Africa.
According to Mark Tancig (University of Florida), Asparagus Ferns have been found to be invasive.
Therefore, avoid growing Asparagus Ferns in the ground and dispose them by burning as they grow vigorously, spreading across and scrambling up other plants.
Beautiful Smilax Asparagus are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Asparagus Ferns online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Random Harvest Nursery
Smilax Asparagus Fern (Asparagus asparagoides) thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, cool to average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with weekly feeding during the growing season.
Asparagus asparagoides requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as provide adequate room for new growth. Repotting is only need when it becomes pot-bound. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Smilax Asparagus Fern grows best in medium to bright, indirect light conditions. Keep it away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
Insufficient light for Bridal Creeper can cause the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish.
Asparagus asparagoides can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.
Water Smilax Asparagus Fern thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings.
Cut down on watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not let the soil to dry out completely.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to avoid root-rot disease.
Occasionally water Bridal Creeper from the bottom to ensure that the soil ball is thoroughly wetted. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth within the range of 12-280C is ideal for Smilax Asparagus Fern.
Though the Bridal Creeper can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage it.
Smilax Asparagus Fern has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.
Feed Smilax Asparagus Fern weekly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer for a lush growth.
Withhold feeding for Bridal Creeper Fern during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can cause fertilizer burn.
Repot Smilax Asparagus Fern at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes root-bound; when the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes.
Use a pot which is only 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil as it can result in root-rot disease and death of the fern.
You can divide the large ferns during repotting to propagate new plants.
The best soil for Smilax Asparagus Fern should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this fern. Buy quality potting mix for Bridal Creeper online from Etsy.
Pruning Smilax Asparagus Fern requires cutting back of the old stems to make room for new growth. Trim the dead leaves and branches to keep the fern neat and tidy.
Smilax Asparagus Fern (Asparagus asparagoides) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seeds, cuttings or by plant division. The easiest method of propagation is by plant division.
Water the Smilax Asparagus Fern thoroughly at least one day before to make it easier to divide, to hasten establishment and to reduce plant shock.
Divide the Smilax Asparagus Fern rhizome into sections by cutting with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors.
Pot the sections into individual pots in moist, free-draining potting soil.
Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth begins.
Allow the new Bridal Creeper to be well established, after which you can begin routine care.
Photo Credit: Flora of Zimbabwe
Smilax Asparagus Fern (Asparagus asparagoides) problems indoors include yellowing leaves, dropping leaves, leaf spots, plant death, diseases and pests among others. Read on for more on these problems and how to solve them.
There are many and varied reasons for yellowing and dropping leaves in Smilax Asparagus Fern.
One reason why Bridal Creeper may turn yellow and lose leaves is too little light.
Move the plant to a brighter spot where it can receive medium to bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
The second reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Smilax Asparagus Fern is that the soil has been allowed to dry out.
Water the fern liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist through out.
Decrease watering during the cold period to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
The third possible cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Bridal Creeper is too high temperatures.
Maintain an average room temperature within the range of 12-280C as constantly high temperatures can damage the fern.
Read more on 12 Reasons Why Asparagus Fern Leaves are Yellowing and Dropping (with solutions)
Brown leaf spot marks in Smilax Asparagus Fern are sunscorch marks caused by exposure of the fern to hot direct sunlight.
Position the Bridal Creeper in a more shaded place, away from direct sunlight but ensure it is receiving medium to bright, indirect light.
The cause for unexplained death in Smilax Asparagus Fern is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil brought about by poor soil drainage.
Bridal Creeper has thick, tuberous roots which store water. Therefore, soggy soil will cause the roots to rot.
Ensure that the soil is loose, free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
Common pests in Smilax Asparagus Fern are Spider Mites, Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Whiteflies whose infestation is promoted by either overwatering or underwatering.
Keep these pests away by maintaining the soil moderately moist during the growing period and slightly moist in the cold period but never allow the soil to dry out completely. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Apart from root-rot disease, Smilax Asparagus Fern is also prone to crown-rot and stem-rot which is prevalent in overwet, poorly ventilated conditions.
Isolated the affected fern to prevent spread of the disease to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for crown-rot and stem-rot disease.
Improve ventilation and make sure that there is free air circulation for the Bridal Creeper.
Smilax Asparagus Fern (Asparagus asparagoides) like other Asparagus Ferns is toxic to humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA.
If the berries are ingested, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If handled with bare hands, the berries can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive skin.
The foliage of mature Smilax Asparagus Fern can develop sharp spines on the branches which can cause skin irritation if handled with bare hands. Therefore, always wear gloves when handling it to avoid injury.