Asparagus fern is an evergreen perennial, ornamental houseplant. It delivers long, upright, or trailing, branching stems sparsely covered with sharp, stiff spines in the axils. The rounded stems, up to 6 feet long, are green to brown in color and have a shallow indentation along their length. The leaves are actually leaf-like cladodes. These needle-like leaves arise in groups of 4-8 from the nodes along the stem. The true leaves are barely visible scales near the base of the cladodes. Plants have a dense fibrous root system as well as creeping rhizomes and numerous fleshy white bulbous tubers. Tiny, inconspicuous, pea-like, fragrant white flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. Blooms are followed by small red berries up to ¼ inch in diameter which ripen by fall. The berries can cause dermatitis when in contact with skin and gastrointestinal upset if ingested and are poisonous to cats and dogs.
Scientific Name: Asparagus densiflorus
Synonyms: Asparagopsis densiflora, Protasparagus densiflorus
Common Names: Asparagus fern, Plume asparagus, Foxtail Fern.
How to grow and maintain Asparagus fern:
It requires bright indirect light or filtered sun. Avoid direct hot afternoon sun which may cause the leaves to yellow. Tolerates full shade, but foliage may turn a lighter green.
Asparagus densiflorus grows well in organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils.
It thrives well in ideal temperature between 68°F – 72°F during daytime and temperature 50°F – 55°F for night time.
Water regularly during the growing season (from spring to autumn), Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top one inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Water sparingly in winter, but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Fertilize monthly spring through fall with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted by half.
It can be easily propagated by seed or division. The best time to propagate an Asparagus Fern is in the spring before it starts producing new growth.
Prune back stem tips as expected to maintain plant form and promote dense foliage growth. If the plant loses its attractive shape, stems may be cut back close to the soil level to regenerate.
Re-pot in the standard potting soil when roots push through the top of the soil and the drainage hole. Always use a pot one size larger or you can just prune the roots.
Pests and Diseases:
It is susceptible to Mealy Bugs, spider mites, aphids, scale, and thrips. Leaf spot and rots may occur. Asparagus Ferns do not like pesticides so use a mild solution of insecticidal soap to get rid of plant pests.