Fern Asparagus – Herb garden
Fern Asparagus is the most popular evergreen perennial, erect herb with a short rhizome with fleshy swollen fasciculate roots. The stems are erect, herbaceous, unarmed. The false leaves (Cladodes) occur in whorls 4-6, linear, sickle-shaped, and flat. The flowers are usually bisexual, solitary, or paired, arise in the axil of cladode, in the middle or upper part of the stem. The bloom-stalks are slender, articulate, lower part slightly exceeding the upper part. It produces deep red-black, berry 5-6 mm in diameter. Fern Asparagus plant is harvested from the wild for local use as food and medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Species: A. filicinus
Scientific Name: Asparagus filicinus
Common Name: Fern Asparagus
Synonyms: Asparagus qinghaiensis, Protasparagus filicinus.
How to grow and care for Fern Asparagus (Asparagus filicinus)
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.
It 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 a Fern Asparagus is in the spring before it starts producing new growth. Soak seeds for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring. It germinates in three to six weeks at 25°c.
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. It does not like pesticides so use a mild solution of insecticidal soap to get rid of plant pests.
Benefits of Fern Asparagus (Asparagus filicinus)
- Young shoot, green cladodes, and roots of Fern Asparagus (Asparagus filicinus) are edible. Young shoots are pickled and cooked as a vegetable. Green cladodes are used to make Kachru a local traditional dish of hills. Roots are dried and powdered. This root powder is used as a tonic to provide strength and vitality to both men and women.
- The dried root is antipyretic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic, nervous stimulant, and tonic.