Asparagus Ferns (Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri), also referred to as Emerald Feather; Emerald Fern; Plumosa Fern or Shatavari, is a flowering plant of the genus Asparagus densiflorus. It is grown for its ornamental graceful feathery-like, fern-like foliage. These are not true ferns but a member of the lily family. They are native to South Africa and can grow 1-3′ tall and 3-4′ wide in the right conditions.
Asparagus Ferns care is easy since it grows well indoors or outdoors when planted in filtered sunlight or partial shade conditions. It does well when planted near other plants or trees to provide shade. It is perfect for beginners because it grows in low light conditions and doesn’t need much water. Plus, the leaves are pretty!
- Asparagus Ferns Main Characteristics
- Asparagus Fern Care
- Propagating Asparagus Fern
- Potting and Repotting Asparagus Fern
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- How to Grow and Care for Asparagus Ferns (Video)
|Common Name||Asparagus Fern; Emerald Feather; Emerald Fern; Lace Fern; Plumosa Fern; Racemose Asparagus; Shatavari; Sprengeri Fern|
|Botanical name||Asparagus densiflorus (Sprengeri group) (ass-SPAR-uh-gus den-sif-FLOR-us)|
|Synonyms||Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus setaceous, Protasparagus densiflorus|
|Family||Asparagaceae [formerly Liliaceae]|
|Native Range||Coastal Southeastern South Africa|
|Common Cultivars||Sprengeri (Asparagus Fern), Meyeri (Foxtail Fern), Graham Cracker|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9B through 11|
|Mature Size||1.50 to 2.00 feet Height; 3.00 to 4.00 feet Spread|
|Bloom Time||Flowers periodically throughout the year|
|Propagation methods||by cuttings and division, by seeds|
|Sun||Filtered Sunlight or Deep Shade|
|Soil||occasionally wet; slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam|
|Toxicity||Toxic to Dogs and Cats; Low toxicity if eaten; may cause mild skin irritation|
The Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri is a low-maintenance plant not requiring much care. The best thing about this plant is that it grows quickly and persistently. It also does not need any fertilizer or special soil, so there’s one less thing you have to think about when caring for your asparagus fern. An ideal choice for a novice!
The Asparagus fern is fast-growing and tolerant to low light conditions. The plant does not require high humidity or areas with high light conditions. Try to keep it in a shade or indirect sunlight. Bathrooms are a great spot!
This plant requires moist soil, but it is important not to overwater. The soil should be allowed to dry out in between watering, at least until the top layer of compost has dried out. Requires even less water in winter, so don’t be afraid to be a bit stingy.
The Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri prefers moderate temperatures between 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit. High-intensity heat sources, like radiators, are a death sentence for these plants despite their hardiness. Make sure not to let the temperature go below 20-25°F.
It’s a good choice for an indoor garden since it likes to grow in some humidity. But not too much; otherwise, there is a high chance too much moisture will negatively influence its growth.
Conditions for potting a Plumosa Fern are not overly stringent. The plant can live in any well-drained soil, and it will grow to fill the pot you choose to use.
The potting media should be porous to ensure that the water drains away from the pot. And some peat moss added to the soil could do wonders.
You can propagate a Plumosa Fern by using either division or seeds. The division is the most common way to propagate them because it is simpler and less risky. You take a small potted plant, cut it into pieces with leaves on them, and replant each piece in new potting soil.
When you use division, there is always some loss of plant material, so some people prefer to use the seed method of propagation. The advantages to this are that you can sow more than one plant at a time and don’t lose any plant material when you do it. At room temperature, seeds grow after 20-30 days. To speed up the process, scarify the seeds and immerse them in water for a little bit before the seeding.
Extract the root system from the pot when it has filled up the planter. You will sense that it is ready to be extracted when the soil around the plant no longer feels loose.
Split the roots and replant a section of it into the original pot. Take care not to damage or break any of the roots; you can use a gentle tugging motion with your hands to separate them.
As long as you have enough space in your new pot for one whole set of root systems, go ahead and replant a section of them.
Place some fresh soil with the plant’s roots and water gently until all dry patches are moist. Then place the plant back next to a sunny window and watch it grow!
The Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri is only mildly toxic to humans. It is perfectly safe for a home garden or a bathroom. However, prolonged skin contact can sometimes cause dermatitis (skin inflammation). Make sure not to eat the berries as that can easily result in an upset stomach.
It is also mildly toxic to dogs and cats.
This plant is prone to slugs, mites, mealybug, and aphids. Especially red spider mites can be a significant problem for this plant because both thrive at the same temperatures. Red spider mites are attracted to the underside of leaves, which is where they usually start their infestation. And because they’re less active in cold temperatures, you should spray your plants at least twice a week in the heat of summer to protect them from these pests.
Be mindful of these common pests, but generally, Asparagus Fern care is relatively straightforward.
Why is my asparagus fern turning yellow?
Old leaves yellowing at the bottom signify age and are an everyday occurrence. It is a part of the plant’s natural life cycle. If the yellowing is everywhere on the plant, this is most likely why.
- Temperature too high – Move away from any heat sources like radiators
- Too much light – Put it somewhere shadier
- Too much water – Check if the compost is waterlogged and if it is; decrease the frequency of watering. Also, check for root rot.
- Too little water – Give it more water (but not too much)
Brown Leaves on the Edges?
You either give your plant too much sunlight, or the compost has no moisture. Put it in the shade and add water to the pot if needed.
How to Grow and Care for Asparagus Ferns (Video)
How often to water asparagus fern?
Water only after the top layer of compost has dried but don’t let it dry out completely. Instead, use your finger to check how long it takes for the top 2-3 centimeters to dry out to figure out how long the drying process takes. And then water accordingly. Remember to give it even less water in winter as it does not need it.
How to prune asparagus fern?
There are no special considerations when handling an Asparagus Fern. First, prune away any undesired plant parts with sharp scissors or clippers. Then clear away the excess from the container.
How to get rid of asparagus fern?
One way to get rid of asparagus fern is to apply herbicide, which contains ingredients like glyphosate, at the base of the plant stems. Make sure you ventilate for about 10 minutes after spraying. If it does not look like the plants are dying, you will need to reapply it again.