Asparagus ferns are slender, fern-like leaves that grow in lovely clusters and are an ornamental plant species. Asparagus ferns are perennial plants in the plant family Asparagaceae, despite their name. They are not real ferns. Foxtail ferns, plumosa ferns, and Sprengeri ferns are some of the most common types of asparagus fern.
Asparagus Fern Facts
It’s possible to mistake asparagus ferns for one another. Several common names and botanical names are used to describe various species of these fern-like plants. Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus setaceus, and Protasparagus setaceus are three common names for the same plant. Because they resemble ferns, ornamental plants in the genus Asparagus are called ferns. The feathery asparagus leaves look a lot like genuine ferns, as seen in pictures of asparagus ferns and their foliage.
Real ferns reproduce by spores and are members of the plant class Polypodiopsida. Seed production is seen in asparagus fern plants of the Asparagaceae class. A cladode is made up of asparagus fern leaves. Cladodes are flattened leaf-like structures in asparagus that are required for photosynthesis, according to botanists.
We’ll call asparagus fern cladodes “leaves” in this piece since simplicity. Asparagus ferns produce little white or pinkish flowers in the spring, with their leaves being leaf-like flattened stems known as cladodes (in the picture). Asparagus ferns produce little green or red berries after blooming.
It’s important to remember that Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ plants may become invasive when growing them outdoors. In USDA zones 9 to 11, asparagus ferns have spreading tuberous roots that flourish. Whether you want to add greenery to your backyard, patio, deck, or balcony or grow asparagus fern plants in containers, it’s best to grow them in containers.
How to Care for Asparagus Ferns – Overview
Evergreen houseplants such as asparagus ferns thrive in homes, and they are easy to care for. In part shade, grow asparagus ferns and protect them from direct sunlight. Once a week or whenever the top layer of soil dries, water asparagus fern plants. During the growing season, mist regularly to maintain humidity and fertilize every month.
Types of Asparagus Fern Plants (With Pictures)
Asparagus ferns come in a variety of colors and shapes.
Asparagus Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’)
Bushy plumes that resemble a fox’s tail sprout from asparagus foxtail ferns. The light-green foliage has a soft, delicate appearance due to the gorgeous arching plumes that include bundles of needle-like leaves. Asparagus foxtail ferns produce tiny white flowers followed by red berries when they’re in their flowering stage. Hardy, drought-tolerant plants include foxtail ferns.
The asparagus foxtail fern grows to a height of 2 feet (0.6 meters) and spreads to a width of 4 feet (1.2 meters). USDA zones 9 to 11 are suited for these fern-like bushy plants. Asparagus ferns are fast-growing ground cover plants that thrive in morning sun with afternoon light shade.
Indoors, however, they may grow in containers shielded from direct sunlight and thrive. Plume asparagus and the asparagus fern are two other common names for asparagus foxtail ferns. Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers,’ Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii,’ and Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersi’ are some of the cultivar names for this asparagus fern.
Sprenger Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’)
Sprenger’s asparagus ferns feature deeply clustered soft needles on their arching fern-like leaves. The airy emerald-green leaves of the Sprengeri ferns resembles a fern plant. White flower clusters with green berries that turn vivid red characterize this Asparagus densiflorus cultivar.
Sprengeri asparagus ferns can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall. As a hanging basket specimen, the long cascading needle-like leaves are stunning. In containers, these asparagus ferns prosper best in the morning sun and part shade in the afternoon. Zones 9 to 11 are ideal for Sprenger asparagus ferns.
The asparagus emerald fern is another popular name for Sprenger’s asparagus. Sprengeri ferns are also known as Asparagus aethiopicus, according to some botanical sources. Several botanists, on the other hand, believe that asparagus plants are divided into two species: Asparagus densiflorus and Asparagus aethiopicus. Asparagus sprengeri and Protasparagus densiflorus are two botanical names for this asparagus cultivar.
Compact Sprenger Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri Compacta’)
A cultivar of Asparagus densiflorus with short, compact growth is known as the ‘Sprengeri Compacta.’ With a spread of 4 ft. (1.2 m), compact asparagus ferns grow up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall. Sprays of light green ferns cascade over the sides of hanging baskets and give the appearance of airyness.
In zones 9 – 11, grow compact Sprenger asparagus ferns as a semi-evergreen outdoor plant all year. If you live in cold areas, compact asparagus ferns are also ideal indoors. Asparagus ferns require a minimum temperature of 55°F (12°C) to thrive outside. When the temperatures average 70°F (21°F), all asparagus ferns thrive.
Dwarf asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Nana’)
The emerald-green feathery leaves of dwarf asparagus ferns are smaller than those of plumosa fern, although they are more compact. The little asparagus ferns can grow to be 15 inches (0.4 meters) tall. The ‘Nana’ asparagus fern is an excellent houseplant for growing in pots because of its modest growth.
Asparagus Plumosus or Asparagus Plumosa Fern (Asparagus setaceus)
The rich-green feathery flattened sprays of asparagus plumosa ferns are identical to those of a real fern plant. The scrambling light, airy plumage has soft, needle-like leaves with Plumosa ferns. They have fast growth. Greenish-white flowers with a bell shape and green berries that gradually turn black are also produced by Plumosa ferns.
Easy-to-grow ornamental houseplants include asparagus plumosus ferns. Indoor conditions are ideal for fern-like plants if they get enough indirect light. Plumosa ferns make excellent hanging baskets or growing on a windowsill as an indoor plant.
In the outdoors, plumosa ferns may spread invasively if they are grown in areas 9 to 11 in shaded dappled light. To keep asparagus ferns from becoming invasive, sow them in pots outdoors. The asparagus plumosa fern’s long climbing stems may stretch up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall. The plume-like foliage of the plumosa fern earned it the botanical name Asparagus plumosus.
The plant is also known as Asparagus setaceus, Protasparagus setaceus, and Latin for “hairy,” because of the plant’s hairy leaves. The lace fern, common asparagus fern, ferny asparagus, and asparagus grass are a few other names for the plumosa fern. The dwarf cultivar of asparagus plumosa, ‘Nanus,’ is available.
Ming Fern (Asparagus retrofractus)
Large leafy perennial shrubs with light fern-like flattened sprays, Ming asparagus ferns are a popular Choice. On woody stems, the needle leaves develop in tufts or clusters. The branches of Ming ferns grow in a zig-zag pattern, which is a characteristic. The branches have sharp spines, even though the foliage appears to be soft.
The average height of ming ferns is 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters). In zones 9 to 11, bright indirect light or filtered sun are ideal for growing the shrubby asparagus plant, which has evergreen foliage. Pom-pom asparagus ferns, Chinese Ming fern, and zig-zag shrub are all popular names for ming asparagus ferns.
Asparagus macowanii, asparagus myriocladus, and asparagus macowanii ‘Myriocladus’ are just a few of the plant’s many botanical names.
Climbing Asparagus Fern (Asparagus scandens)
If they’re grown outside, climbing asparagus ferns may be invasive. They have scrambling feathery leaves that grow up to 8 feet (2 meters) tall. Thin needle-like leaves on the flattened branches give the delicate green foliage its appearance. Before giving way to orange-red berries in the spring, small white blooms emerge. In warm regions, climbing asparagus ferns or “krulkransie” can provide year-round greenery by growing up trellises or arbors.
Instead, you may let the spreading leaves to develop into a shady-area ground cover. It’s important to verify that the plant isn’t invasive in your region before you purchase it. The Asparagus scandens doesn’t produce thorny spines, unlike other species of asparagus ferns.
Wild Asparagus Fern (Asparagus acutifolius)
This evergreen plant has thorny leaves and blooms wild asparagus fern. Wild asparagus leaves, like those of all asparagus plants, are fern-like. The perennial wild asparagus fern thrives in full sun or partial shade and grows up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. The wild asparagus species produces little greenish-white clusters of flowers, similar to other asparagus ferns. During the winter, its green berries develop.
The Mediterranean is home to wild asparagus ferns. Asparagus brevifolius, Asparagus aetnensis, Asparagus corruda, and Asparagus commutatus are some of the other botanical names for this species of wild asparagus.
Asparagus Fern Plant Care
Indoors, asparagus ferns thrive. In a loose, loamy potting mix, grow asparagus ferns in bright indirect light and they’ll thrive. To keep humidity levels high, water asparagus ferns when the soil dries out and spray them with mist. The room temperature is ideal in most cases.
Asparagus Ferns Light Requirements
To thrive, asparagus ferns need a lot of indirect sunlight. The leaves of the ferny plant may be scorched if it is exposed to direct sunlight while being cultivated indoors. In dark environments, asparagus ferns grow poorly. As a result, the asparagus fern leaves might begin to yellow if they don’t receive enough light.
As long as there is protection from the sun’s direct rays, the best location for growing asparagus ferns indoors is near a bright window. The plant gets some morning sun, but no hot midday or evening sunlight, so growing asparagus ferns on an east-facing windowsill is ideal.
Plant where there is some dappled sunlight if you’re growing asparagus ferns in your garden. The delicate asparagus fern leaves turn yellow due to too much sunlight.
The Best Soil for Asparagus Fern Plants
In light, well-aerated soil that drains quickly, asparagus ferns thrive. To create a suitable houseplant potting combination, mix one part of potting soil with one part of perlite. Peat moss, for example, retains moisture. Coarse sand or perlite is added to increase drainage.
Too much moist soil is harmful to asparagus ferns. Asparagus ferns thrive in all soil types, from poor to excellent, in their native environment. The growing medium must not get too wet or soggy, which is the most important soil requirement. To prevent water from pooling in the pot, asparagus fern containers should always include drainage holes.
How to Water Asparagus Ferns
When the potting soil has partially dried, only water asparagus ferns. Check the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the potting mix before watering to ensure it is dry. Next, until the bottom of the pot drains, thoroughly water the soil. Between large watering, always allow the earth to dry.
A tuber is a bulbous root of asparagus ferns. Water is stored in this root-like fleshy plant. Never use an asparagus fern more than once a week. The roots will rot and the plant may die if the bulbous roots are placed in too wet soil. Remember that asparagus ferns are drought-tolerant plants.
Temperature and Humidity for Asparagus Fern Care
At temperatures of 65°F to 70°F (18°C to 21°C), grow asparagus ferns in a typical room. Asparagus fern plants must be kept at 55°F (13°C) or below. Asparagus ferns need similar care as growing ferns indoors, including temperature fluctuations, direct sunlight, and cold drafts.
When caring for asparagus ferns indoors, proper humidity is one of the challenges. Asparagus fern growth indoors is frequently hampered by too dry humidity levels. As a result, it’s recommended to mist the feathery sprays once a day. Over the foliage crown, spray a fine mist of distilled or filtered water.
Using a room humidifier, sitting the potted plant on a pebble and watering tray, or growing alongside other houseplants are additional ways to ensure proper humidity levels for your asparagus ferns.
How to Fertilize Asparagus Fern Plants
While fertilizer isn’t always needed, fertilizing asparagus ferns can help ensure proper development. To encourage lush foliage development, apply a diluted liquid fertilizer monthly throughout the growing season. Mix in half-strength with an organic houseplant fertilizer. Just after watering your plants, apply once a month.
Pruning Asparagus Ferns
To flourish, asparagus ferns don’t need frequent trimming. You can, however, improve the plant’s look by cutting off dead, yellow, or brown leaves in the spring. Dead branches should be pruned away from the roots to eliminate them. Snip off new stem tips to encourage bushy growth.
Repotting Asparagus Ferns
Every spring, asparagus ferns must be repotted because they grow quickly. Repot the plant in a bigger container using the root ball from the previous one.
The pot can quickly outgrow the tuberous root. You’ll have to repot asparagus ferns on a regular basis since they don’t mind being somewhat rootbound. Roots protruding from the pot, soil that begins to drain poorly, or a broken pot are all indications that you should repot an asparagus fern indoors. Divide the tuber root for propagation while you repot your asparagus fern.
How to Propagate Asparagus Ferns
Split the thick fleshy root into two or three sections and replant it asparagus ferns. Ensure there are multiple healthy stems on each division of asparagus ferns when propagating by root division. Also, plenty of shoots should be present in the sections of bulbous roots. Fill each container of growing soil with water before planting each section of root.
Keeping Asparagus Ferns Free from Pests and Disease
Asparagus ferns are insect- and disease-free plants that are toughy and grow in woody conditions. Mealybugs or scale insects are the most common houseplant pests that affect asparagus ferns. These little pests suck the sap from healthy plants, weakening their development.
If you detect signs of mealybugs, you should treat asparagus ferns immediately. Scale insects and other similar pests may be eliminated using insecticidal soap, organic neem oil, and rubbing alcohol.
Asparagus Fern Toxicity
All types of asparagus are deadly to cats and dogs. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), dogs and cats may develop allergic dermatitis from being exposed to the plant on a regular basis. Vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort may result from swallowing the berries.