How to grow and care for Asparagus Fern Indoors

Asparagus fern

Botanical name: Asparagus plumosus
Synonym: Asparagus setaceus
Family: Asparagaceae
Sufamily: Asparagoideae

Asparagus Fern also called Asparagus Grass, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus or Ferny Asparagus is grown for the graceful feathery foliage, which is often used in floral arrangements. Though commonly called Fern, it is not a True Fern, it is much easier to grow than true ferns. The 'leaves' are really needle-like branches. Asparagus Fern 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 plants 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 Fern ideal for a hanging basket. Ensure that the arching branches are not impeded by other plants so that they can beautifully display their beauty. The Fern can also be grown as an outdoor container plant. Asparagus Fern is native to Southern Africa. Avoid growing Asparagus Fern in the ground as the plant is invasive where it grows vigorously, spreading across and scrambling up other plants.

Other Asparagus Plants commonly grown indoors include; Asparagus falcatus commonly called Sicklethorn Asparagus, Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' commonly called Foxtail Fern, Asparagus asparagoides commonly called Simlax Asparagus and Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' commonly called Emerald Fern, among others.

How to Grow Asparagus Fern

Light

Asparagus Fern adapts well to semi-shade or bright light conditions. However, keep it away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight causes the leaves to loss their deep-green color turning them yellowish instead. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

Water Asparagus 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. Occasionally water the plant from below. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for Asparagus Fern. Though it can adapt a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

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

Feeding

Feed Asparagus Fern weekly during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Asparagus Fern at the beginning of the growing season when the fleshy, fibrous roots push up the potting mixture. Use a pot which is 1 size larger and loose free-draining soil. A large plant can be divided to propagate new plants.

Pruning

Pruning Asparagus Fern 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. Find out more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern can be propagated by division or from seeds. The easiest method of propagation is by division. During repotting, divide the tuberous roots into sections by cutting with 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 after which routine care can begin.

Common Problems in Asparagus Fern

  • Yellowing foliage, brown-edged or scorched leaves and leaf drop
  • There are two reasons for this. One is too much sunlight; protect Asparagus Fern from direct sunlight. The second reason is that the soil has been allowed to dry out; learn how to how to water houseplants correctly.

  • Yellowing foliage, leaf drop and no scorching
  • The causes of this in Asparagus Fern are too high temperature or too little light. Maintain an average room temperature and ensure the plant receives the correct light.

  • Unexplained plant death
  • The cause for unexplained death of Asparagus Fern is root-rot disease which is due to waterlogging of the soil. The thick, tuberous roots store water, soggy soil will cause root-rot.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Asparagus Fern 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.

  • Diseases
  • Common diseases in Asparagus Fern are Crown Rot and Stem Rot and Root-rot which are prevalent in too wet conditions.

Toxicity

Asparagus Fern 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.

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