Botanical name: Asparagus falcatus
Sicklethorn Asparagus also called Large Forest Asparagus or Sickle-leaved Asparagus is a large, thorny, climbing plant which bears sickle-shaped 'leaves' and the stems are distinctly prickly, hence the common name. The 'leaves' are dark-green, thin, curved and about 2 in. long. The stems can grow up to 8 ft high and can be trained to grow up a pole. When provided with the right growing conditions, the plant may produce fragrant white flowers which are followed by bright red berries. Sicklethorn is native to South Africa and Mozambique. Avoid growing Sicklethorn Asparagus in the ground as the plant is invasive and has become a serious environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland.
Other Asparagus Plants commonly grown indoors include; Asparagus plumosus commonly called Common Asparagus Fern, Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' commonly called Foxtail Fern, Asparagus asparagoides commonly called Simlax Asparagus and Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' commonly called Emerald Fern, among others.
Sicklethorn Asparagus prefers semi-shade to bright light conditions. However, keep it away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight as it may scorch the leaves while insufficient light causes the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Sicklethorn Asparagus thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period as growth is minimal. Occasionally water the plant from below. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for Sicklethorn Asparagus. Though it can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.
Sicklethorn Asparagus has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.
Feed Sicklethorn Asparagus weekly during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Sicklethorn Asparagus at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes root-bound. Use a pot which is only 1 size larger. Ensure the soil is loose and free-draining soil and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil. The large Sicklethorn Asparagus plants can be divided to propagate new plants.
Pruning Sicklethorn 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. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
Sicklethorn Asparagus can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from seeds, cuttings or by division. 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.
There are two reasons for yellowing foliage, brown-edged or scorched leaves accompanied by leaf drop. One raeson is too much sunlight; protect Sicklethorn 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.
The causes of yellowing foliage, leaf drop with no scorching in Sicklethorn Asparagus are too high temperature or too little light. Maintain an average room temperature and move your Sicklethorn Asparagus to a brighter spot.
The cause for unexplained death of Sicklethorn Asparagus is root-rot disease which is due to waterlogging of the soil. The thick, tuberous roots store water therefore soggy soil will cause root-rot.
Common pests in Sicklethorn 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.
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) 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.