How to Grow and Care for Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) Indoors


Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus fern

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Botanical name: Asparagus plumosus
Synonym: Asparagus setaceus
Family: Asparagaceae
Sufamily: Asparagoideae
Common names: Asparagus Fern, Asparagus Grass, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus, Ferny Asparagus

Description

Asparagus plumosus commonly called Asparagus Fern, Asparagus Grass, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus or Ferny Asparagus is grown for the graceful feathery foliage, which is often used in floral arrangements.

Though called a Fern, Asparagus plumosus is not a True Fern, it is much easier to grow than true ferns. The 'leaves' in Asparagus Fern are really needle-like branches.

Asparagus Grass adapts well to a wide variations in light, heat and frequency of watering and does not demand a humid atmosphere like true ferns. It is also easy to propagate.

The foliage of mature Lace Fern can develop sharp spines on the branches which can cause skin irritation if handled with bare hands; use garden gloves when handling.

The cascading growth habit makes Asparagus plumosus ideal for a hanging basket where the branches can cascade downwards beautifully.

Ensure that the arching branches are not impeded by other plants so that they can beautifully display their beauty. It can also be grown as an outdoor container plant.

Origin

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) is native to Southern and Eastern Africa.

Invasiveness

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.

Where to Buy

Asparagus ferns are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Asparagus Ferns from Etsy.

Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus fern

Photo Credit: Random Harvest Nursery

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) Care Indoors

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) thrives in medium to bright, indirect light, cool to average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding.

Lace Fern also requires frequent pruning to keep it neat and tidy. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Asparagus plumosus grows best in medium to bright, indirect light conditions. Keep it away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight may scorch the leaves. It can also grow under a grow light where natural lighting is inadequate.

Insufficient light for Climbing Asparagus causes the leaves to loss their color, turning them yellowish. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Asparagus plumosus 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.

Occasionally water the Lace 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.


Temperature

Average warmth within the range of 12-280C is ideal for Asparagus plumosus.

Though Asparagus Fern can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Asparagus plumosus has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves especially when the temperatures are high.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Asparagus plumosus weekly during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Asparagus plumosus 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 that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease.

The large Ferny Asparagus can be divided to propagate new plants.

Soil

The best soil for Asparagus plumosus 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 Asparagus Fern from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Asparagus plumosus requires cutting back of the old stems to make room for new growth.

Trim the dead leaves and branches to keep the Asparagus Grass neat and tidy. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) 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.

How to propagate Asparagus plumosus by plant division

During repotting, divide the Asparagus plumosus rhizome into sections by cutting with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors.

Pot each section 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 Lace Fern to be well established, after which you can begin routine care.

Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus fern

Photo Credit: Beekenkamp Group

Asparagus plumosus Problems Indoors

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) problems indoors include yellowing, dropping leaves, root-rot and pests among others. Read on for more and for solutions to these problems.

Leaves yellowing and dropping

Yellowing and dropping leaves in Asparagus plumosus are caused by various reasons. One of the reasons is too little light.

Move the Asparagus Fern to a brighter spot where it can receive medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal grow light if the natural lighting is inadequate.

The second reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Asparagus plumosus is prolonged underwatering.

Water it 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 Asparagus Fern is too high temperatures.

Maintain an average room temperature within the range of 12-280C for Asparagus Grass as constantly high temperatures can damage the plant.

Read more on 12 Reasons Why Asparagus Fern Leaves are Yellowing and Dropping (with solutions)

Plant dying

The cause for unexplained death of Asparagus plumosus is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil.

The thick, tuberous roots in Asparagus Fern store water therefore soggy soil will cause root-rot.

Ensure that the soil is loose and free-draining soil and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil.

Pests

Asparagus plumosus pests; Spider Mites, Aphids, Mealy Bugs and Whiteflies.

Pests infestation in Asparagus Fern is promoted by either overwatering or underwatering.

You can keep away these pests from the Lace Fern by maintaining the soil moderately moist while avoiding overwatering or underwatering.

Diseases

Asparagus plumosus diseases; crown-rot and stem-rot disease and root-rot disease 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.

Is Asparagus plumosus toxic?

Asparagus plumosus (Asparagus Fern) is toxic to humans and pets.

Asparagus Fern berries if ingested, can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If handled with bare hands, the berries 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 Asparagus Grass.

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