Botanical name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri'
Synonym: Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii'
Common names: Foxtail Fern, Plume Asparagus
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri') also called Plume Asparagus is an evergreen fern-like plant whose erect stems are densely packed with needle-like foliage.
The evergreen foliage in Plume Asparagus grows in clumps giving the plant a spiky appearance. The 'leaves' are really needle-like branches.
Though commonly called a Fern, Foxtail Fern is not a True Fern, it is much easier to grow than true ferns. The Fern adapts well to indoor growing conditions.
Foxtail Fern is mainly grown for the beautiful foliage and texture. The Fern can also be grown as an outdoor container plant.
Foxtail Fern can grow to a height of 2 ft and 4 ft wide.
When provided with the right growing conditions, Plume Asparagus may produce small white flowers which are followed by bright red berries.
Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' is native to southern Africa from Mozambique to South Africa.
According to Mark Tancig (University of Florida), Asparagus Ferns have been found to be invasive.
Avoid growing Asparagus Ferns in the ground and dispose them by burning as they grow vigorously, spreading across and scrambling up other plants.
If you are looking to add this beauty to your collection, beautiful Asparagus Ferns are available online at Etsy. Buy Asparagus Ferns online from Etsy.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri') care indoors is easy when it is provided with the right growing condions. Plume Asparagus thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, cool to average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding.
Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' requires frequent pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations. Repotting is needed only when it becomes root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Foxtail Fern grows best in medium to bright, indirect light conditions away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
Too little light for Plume Asparagus will cause the leaves to loss their color and turn yellowish.
Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' will also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.
Water Foxtail Fern thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings.
Decrease watering in the cold period as growth is reduced at this time but do not let the soil dry out completely.
To ensure that the soil ball is thoroughly wetted, occasionally water the Plume Asparagus from the bottom. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the fern.
An average warmth within the range of 12-280C is ideal for Foxtail Fern. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for this plant.
Though Plume Asparagus can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves.
Foxtail Fern has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.
Feed Foxtail Fern weekly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer for lush growth.
Do not feed Plume Asparagus during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may cause fertilizer burn and death of the plant.
Repot Foxtail Fern at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes pot-bound to provide adequate space for the growth of the tuberous roots.
Use a pot that is only 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
The large Plume Asparagus Ferns can be divided during repotting to propagate new plants.
The best soil for Foxtail 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 Asparagus Fern. Buy quality Potting Mix for Plume Asparagus online from Etsy.
Pruning Foxtail 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 as well as reduce pest and disease infestations.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri') 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 (splitting).
During repotting, split (divide) the Foxtail Fern rhizome into sections by cutting with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of clean scissors.
Pot each section in its own pot in moist, free-draining potting soil.
Make sure that each pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the pots in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.
Allow the new Plume Asparagus to be well established, after which routine care can begin.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri') problems indoors include yellowing and dropping leaves, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Read on for more on these problems and for solutions to these problems.
Yellowing and dropping of leaves in Foxtail Fern is caused by a number of varied reasons. One of these reasons is too little light.
Position the Plume Asparagus in a brighter spot where it will receive medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural light is not adequate.
The second reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Foxtail Fern is underwatering for an extended period of time.
Water the plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings and maintain the soil moderately moist.
Lessen watering in the cold period to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
The third possible cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Foxtail Fern is too high temperatures.
Keep the Plume Asparagus away from hot drafts and hot direct sunlight to maintain an average room temperature within the range of 12-280C.
Plant death in Foxtail Fern is caused by root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil brought about by poor soil drainage.
Soggy soil will cause the thick, tuberous roots in Plume Asparagus to rot. Once the roots rot, the plant will certainly die if corrective measures are not taken in time.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is loose, free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
Apart from root-rot disease, Foxtail Fern is also susceptible to crown-rot and stem-rot which is prevalent in poorly ventilated and too wet 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 Plume Asparagus.
Common pests in Foxtail Fern are Mealy Bugs, Spider Mites, Aphids and Whiteflies whose infestation is enhanced by either overwatering or underwatering.
To keep these pests away, maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing period and slightly moist in the cold period but never let the soil dry out completely. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri') 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, they can 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. Therefore, always wear gloves when handling the Plume Asparagus.