Botanical name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'
Synonym: Asparagus sprengeri
Common names: Emerald Fern, Sprenger's Asparagus, Sprenger's Fern
Emerald Fern also called Sprenger's Asparagus is an evergreen fern-like plant whose arching stems are sparsely covered with clusters of soft needle-like foliage.
The trailing stems in Emerald Fern bear bright green 'leaves' hence the common name 'Emerald Fern'.
The name 'Sprenger's Fern' is attributed to Carl Ludwig Sprenger who made it popular in Europe as an ornamental Plant.
Though commonly called a Fern, Emerald Fern is not a True Fern, it is much easier to grow than true ferns. The 'leaves' are really needle-like branches.
Emerald Fern is mainly grown for the beautiful foliage and texture. It adapts well to indoor growing conditions.
Sprenger's Asparagus is ideal for a hanging basket or pedestal where the stems can cascade downwards beautifully. The Fern can also be grown as an outdoor container plant.
When provided with the right growing conditions, Emerald Fern may produce clusters of small white flowers which are followed by bright red berries.
Emerald Fern habit can be dense and compact to wide-spreading with the stems growing up to 3ft long. This wide-spreading nature of this fern makes it perfect for a hanging basket.
Emerald Fern is native to the Cape Provinces and the Northern Provinces of South Africa where it grows in rocky slopes and coastal scrub in dry areas.
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.
Buy beautiful and healthy Asparagus Ferns from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Bloombox Club Ireland
Emerald Fern grows best in semi-shade to bright light conditions away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
Insufficient light for Sprenger's Asparagus causes the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Emerald Fern 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 as growth is minimal at this time.
Occasionally water your Emerald Fern from the bottom to ensure that the soil ball is thoroughly wetted. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ensure 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.
Average warmth within the range of 12-280C is ideal for Emerald Fern.
Though Sprenger's Asparagus can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Emerald Fern has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.
Feed Emerald Fern weekly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer.
Withhold feeding for Sprenger's Asparagus during the cold season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Emerald Fern at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes root-bound.
Use a pot which is only 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.
The large Sprenger's Asparagus plants can be divided to propagate new plants.
The best soil for Emerald 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 Emerald Fern. Buy quality Potting Mix for your Emerald Fern from Etsy.
Pruning Emerald Fern requires cutting back of the old stems to make room for new growth.
Trim the dead leaves and branches to keep the Sprenger's Asparagus neat and tidy. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Emerald Fern can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seeds, cuttings or by plant division (splitting). The easiest method of propagation is by plant division (splitting).
During repotting, divide (spli) the Emerald Fern rhizome into sections by cutting with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors.
Pot each Sprenger's Asparagus division into individual pots in moist, potting soil and ensure that the 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 and maintain the soil moist until new growth begins.
Allow the new Emerald Fern to be well established, after which you can begin routine care.
Photo Credit: Bosco's Garden Center
Emerald Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') problems indoors include yellowing, dropping leaves, root-rot and pests among others. Read on for more and for solutions to these problems.
Yellowing and loss of leaves in Emerald Fern is caused by various reasons.
One reason for yellowing and leaf drop in Emerald Fern is too little light.
Move the Sprenger's Asparagus to a brighter spot where it will receive medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.
The second reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Emerald Fern is prolonged underwatering.
Water the Emerald Fern thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
The third possible cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Emerald Fern is too high temperatures.
Maintain an average room temperature within the range of 12-280C for Sprenger's Asparagus as constantly high temperatures can damage the plant.
The cause for unexplained death of Emerald Fern is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil.
The thick, tuberous roots in Emerald Fern store water therefore soggy soil will cause root-rot.
Ensure the soil for Sprenger's Asparagus is loose and free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil.
Attack of your Emerald Fern by these plant pests is promoted by either overwatering or underwatering.
You can keep away these pest from your Sprenger's Asparagus by maintaining the soil moderately moist while avoiding overwatering or underwatering.
Emerald Fern diseases; Crown Rot and Stem Rot and Root-rot which are prevalent in too wet conditions. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.
Emerald Fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') is toxic to humans and pets.
Sprenger's Asparagus berries if ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If handled with bare hands, the berries can cause contact dermatitis.
The foliage of mature Emerald Fern can develop sharp spines on the branches which can cause skin irritation if handled with bare hands. Therefore, always wear gloves when handling Emerald Fern.