Botanical name: Asparagus falcatus
Common names: Sicklethorn Asparagus, Large Forest Asparagus, Sickle-leaved Asparagus
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) 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.
Sickle-leaved Asparagus 'leaves' not true leaves are dark-green, thin, curved and about 2 in. long.
The Large Forest Asparagus stems can grow up to 8 ft high and can be trained to grow up a pole.
Sickle-leaved Asparagus may produce fragrant white flowers which are followed by bright red berries when provided with the right growing conditions.
Asparagus falcatus is native to South Africa and Mozambique.
As indicated by Mark Tancig (University of Florida), Asparagus Ferns have been found to be invasive in some regions.
Avoid growing Asparagus Ferns in the ground and dispose them by burning as they grow vigorously, spreading across and scrambling up other plants.
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) 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.
The foliage of mature ferns can develop sharp spines on the branches which can cause skin irritation if handled with bare hands. Therefore, always wear gloves when handling Sickle-leaved Asparagus.
Asparagus ferns are readily available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful Asparagus Ferns online from Etsy.
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, cool to average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding during the growing period.
Sickle-leaved Asparagus requires pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as reduce pest and disease infestations. Repotting is needed only when it becomes root-bound. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Sicklethorn Asparagus grows best in medium to bright, indirect light conditions away from direct sunlight as it can cause scorching of the leaves.
Lack of enough light for Sickle-leaved Asparagus causes the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish.
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' will also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.
Water Sicklethorn Asparagus liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
Reduce watering in the cold period as growth is reduced at this time but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Once in a while water the Large Forest Asparagus from the bottom to ensure that the soil ball is thoroughly wetted. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Confirm 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 Sicklethorn Asparagus. Though it can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can cause yellowing and dropping of the leaves.
Sicklethorn Asparagus has no need for high humidity but it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.
Feed Sicklethorn Asparagus with a balanced, liquid fertilizer weekly during the growing season for lush growth.
Do not feed the Sickle-leaved Asparagus during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time, therefore, the plant does not need it.
The best soil for Sicklethorn Asparagus 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. Buy quality Potting Mix for Large Forest Asparagus online from Etsy.
Repot Sicklethorn Asparagus 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 only 1 size larger than the current one and ascertain that the soil is loose and free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil.
The large Sickle-leaved Asparagus plants can be divided during repotting to propagate new plants.
Pruning Sicklethorn Asparagus requires cutting back of the old stems to make room for new growth.
Trim the dead leaves and branches to keep the Sickle-leaved Asparagus neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) 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.
During repotting, divide the Sicklethorn Asparagus 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.
Position the pots in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth begins.
Allow the new Asparagus falcatus to be well established, after which you can begin routine care.
Sicklethorn Asparagus (Asparagus falcatus) problems include yellowing leaves, dropping leaves, plant death, diseases and pests among others. Read on for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
There are many possible causes of yellowing and dropping leaves in Sicklethorn Asparagus. One of the possible causes is too little light.
Move the fern to a brighter spot where it can receive medium to bright, indirect light or instal grow light if the natural lighting is inadequate.
The second possible cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Sickle-leaved Asparagus is that the soil has been allowed to dry out for too long.
Water the fern thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Lessen watering in the cold period as growth is reduced at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
The third possible cause of yellowing and dropping leaves in Sicklethorn Asparagus is too high temperatures.
Maintain an average room temperature within the range of 12-280C by keep it away from hot drafts and hot direct sunlight.
The cause for unexplained death of Sicklethorn Asparagus is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil (poorly drained soil).
Asparagus falcatus thick, tuberous roots store water, therefore, soggy soil will cause root-rot and death of the plant.
Ensure that the soil is loose and free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
The other common disease in Sicklethorn Asparagus is crown-rot and stem-rot which is prevalent in poorly ventilated and overwet conditions.
Isolated the affected plant to prevent spread of the disease to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for crown-rot and stem-rot disease.
Improve ventilation and ensure that there is free air circulation for the plant.
The common pests in Sicklethorn Asparagus are Whiteflies, Mealy Bugs, Spider Mites and Aphids whose infestation is promoted by either overwatering or underwatering.
Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing period and slightly moist in the cold period but never let the soil dry out completely to keep these pests away.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil to get rid of the pests.
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