Bushy green foliage plumes on foxtail ferns make them attractive evergreen plants. The asparagus foxtail ferns are not a true fern but are instead permanent members of the Asparagaceae family. The fern-like leaves that grow in conical, bottlebrush shapes are why foxtails ferns get their name. They resemble a fox’s tail. In USDA zones 9 to 11, foxtail ferns can be found growing outdoors.
Asparagus ferns are a vegetable-like group of leafy, herbaceous plants that grow as asparagus ferns. Small blooming shrubs with luscious light-green foliage, asparagus ferns are the most common variety. The feathery clusters of leaves on fern-like plants are well-known.
Asparagus Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersi’) Facts
If grown outside, foxtail ferns may become invasive if they are not grown in containers. Botanical names include Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersi,’ Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri,’ and Protasparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii.’ The emerald-green plant has great ornamental value due to its long spear-like fronds or leaves that rise and twist. The ferny plant has spiky appearance due to the clumps of velvety, soft evergreen foliage that grow in clusters.
The foxtail fern can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) broad. Since to their feathery leaves, foxtail ferns are referred to as ferns. Foxtail ferns reproduce by producing seeds rather than spores, unlike real ferns in the class Polypodiopsida. Foxtail fern leaves are a type of cladode, not genuine leaves, according to botany.
Photosynthesis necessitates the presence of a cladode, which is a kind of leaf-like structure found on plants. Throughout this article, we’ll refer to foxtail fern cladodes as leaves. Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myeri’) produces tiny clusters of aromatic white blooms. In the spring and summer, the little blooms bloom. The tiny thorny stems produce red berries after flowering.
In warm, tropical areas, foxtail asparagus has a lot of energy and thrives. It’s important to note that the rapidly growing plant may become invasive when cultivated as an outdoor plant. Unless it is grown in containers, its bulb-like, tuberous roots spread quickly.
How to Care for Asparagus Foxtail Ferns — Overview
Grow foxtail ferns in organically rich, constantly wet, and well-draining soil. Foxtail ferns prefer partial shade or bright indirect light. Water foxtail ferns grow between 65°F and 75°F (18°C – 24°C) when the soil gets somewhat dry. Frost-killed foxtail fern roots can survive temperatures as low as 24°F (-4°C), but they’ll die back after that.
Other Types of Asparagus Ferns
Other kinds of asparagus ferns are discussed below.
Asparagus Plumosa Fern (Asparagus Plumosus)
Asparagus setaceus and Protasparagus setaceus are two botanical names for the same plant. The leaf stalks reach 2 ft. (0.6 m) tall and have clusters of short green pine needles on them. Little white blossoms cluster together to form plumosa ferns, which turn red.
Sprenger Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’)
Sprenger ferns have arching fern-like sprays that may reach 3 ft. (1 m) in height. Soft needles make up the emerald-green feathery foliage. The asparagus emerald fern is another name for Sprenger’s asparagus.
Compact Sprenger Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri Compacta’)
This fern has short stature and grows to a height of 2 feet (0.6 meters) when grown asparagus cultivar ‘Sprengeri Compacta.’ This plant has delicate fern-like leaves, similar to the Sprengeri fern. indoors in hanging baskets, this asparagus fern is ideal.
Ming Fern (Asparagus retrofractus)
Asparagus macowanii, asparagus myriocladus, and asparagus macowanii ‘Myriocladus’ are some of the several botanical names for ming fern (Asparagus retrofractus). Pom-pom asparagus ferns or zig-zag ferns are two terms for Ming ferns.
Asparagus Foxtail Fern Care
Easy-to-care-for ferns include Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers.’ In warm, bright places with plenty of shade from direct midday light, foxtail ferns flourish outdoors. Indoor containers may also be used to grow foxtail ferns. Asparagus foxtail fern care is simple.
Asparagus Foxtail Ferns Light Requirements
In bright, indirect light, foxtail ferns thrive. In your garden, foxtail ferns thrive best in the morning sun but are shaded from midday onwards. The tender needle leaves may burn and begin to yellow if there is too much sunlight. The emerald plumes, on the other hand, may turn yellow if there is insufficient light. When growing as a houseplant, asparagus foxtail ferns need to be protected from direct sunlight.
In a bright location but not in direct sunlight, plant the potted fern. If possible, put the foxtail fern pot at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) away from a sunny window behind a sheer curtain. Although foxtail ferns are not on the list of plants that don’t need sunlight, they may be grown in the shade.
So, make sure the foxtail fern plant receives plenty of bright indirect light whether it is grown indoors or outdoors in your yard.
The Best Type of Soil for Growing Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
Make sure to grow foxtail ferns in rich, well-draining soil if you want to take care of them indoors. Foxtail asparagus plants prefer to grow in any kind of ground, regardless of how hard it is. The tuberous roots must not get wet or overly damp soil, which is the most important factor. Once established, foxtail ferns are drought resistant.
Water should drain freely through the potting mix for asparagus foxtail ferns, which should be light and aerated. For growing in containers, a mix of peat moss and perlite is used for drainage. Foxtail ferns like peat moss because it is slightly acidic and retains moisture.
The oxygen in the potting mix is circulated thanks to perlite or coarse sand. For further information about growing potted plants indoors, please see the article on the best DIY potting soil recipes for houseplants.
How to Water Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
To prevent the soil from drying out, foxtail ferns need frequent watering. When the top 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of soil is dry, water foxtail ferns can be found. If it hasn’t rained in the last week, you’ll have to water foxtail ferns once a week in the summer. Water the plant in the same way you water and care for succulents by watering with the taproot of foxtail fern (tuber).
When the potting mix partially dries, indoor foxtail ferns need watering. Weekly watering may be required in the summer, but less so in the winter. Before watering your foxtail fern houseplant, make sure the soil is not too dry. The soil surrounding the bulbous root should ideally bemoistened, not soggy.
Always thoroughly wet the soil when watering foxtail ferns. The roots get enough moisture because to this deep watering. However, between waterings, you must let the soil dry out somewhat. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing root rot, which can be fatal to the plant.
Pour enough water into pots until the bottom drains out to grow water foxtail ferns. Before returning the pot to its tray, allow all of the surplus water to drain. Return the pot to a sunny location, where it is protected from direct rays.
Asparagus Foxtail Ferns Temperature Requirements
In USDA zones 9-11, foxtail ferns thrive in the outdoors. Outside, asparagus foxtail plants prefer a temperature of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Temperatures less than 24°F (-4°C) are intolerable for foxtail ferns. Growth will slow down and you might endanger the plant if temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).
Foxtail ferns may be grown in your yard all year long if you reside in USDA zones 9 to 11. In the summer, foxtail ferns grow outside on patios, decks, and balconies in colder regions. You should bring the plant indoors when average temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).
Asparagus Foxtail Ferns Humidity Requirements
Moisture requirements for foxtail ferns are medium to high. In semi-tropical or tropical climates, humidity isn’t usually a problem when growing outdoors. When growing indoors, foxtail ferns need additional humidity. The average humidity levels in homes in tropical climates are usually insufficient.
To boost humidity levels, fill a humidifier with foxtail ferns. To avoid damaging the delicate needle-like leaves, it’s ideal to use distilled or filtered water. Mist over the fern’s crown with the spray set to its highest setting. To ensure that the humidity is adequate, spray the foxtail fern every day.
Using a room humidifier, grouping your tropical houseplants together, or setting the pots on a tray with pebbles and water are other ways to humidify foxtail ferns.
Fertilizing Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
During the growing season, from spring until summer, you can fertilize foxtail fern asparagus fern. Composting in the garden and mulching around the plants help to promote thriving growth in the back yard. Mulch prevents moisture from evaporating, while the compost adds nutrients to the soil.
Regular fertilization may ‘feed’ a growing foxtail fern in a container, whether indoors or out. Once a month, apply half-strength water-soluble fertilizer. Instead, you may apply a slow-release fertilizer three times throughout the growing season: in the spring, summer, and autumn.
Natural, organic fertilizers are the best options for houseplants. Seaweed, liquid kelp, worm castings, fish emulsion, plant extracts, and compost tea are all natural ingredients that provide minerals and nutrients. Since they don’t cause mineral salt buildup in the potting mix, these fertilizers are beneficial for foxtail ferns.
How to Prune Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
If you’re growing fast-growing plants as ground cover, pruning foxtail ferns is rarely necessary. Trimming old or dead stems encourages new stems to develop because of its thick development. The plant may give energy to new growth by trimming brown or dying branches.
Moreover, the plant’s aesthetic appeal is improved by removing dead branches. Trim back the woody stems at the base of old prune foxtail ferns. Remove all unattractive leaves from the plant with sterile pruning shears. Foxtail ferns thrive on vigorous pruning and can tolerate a lot of abuse.
To protect your hands from the stem spines, you may need to wear protective gloves, but the thorns are tiny and generally do not cause a issue. In the spring or early summer, pruning plants, such as Asparagus densiflorus, is at its best. You may, nevertheless, prune foxtail ferns at any time of year with foxtail ferns.
Repotting Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
Every spring, foxtail ferns may need to be repotted. The roots of a vigorous evergreen plant can grow more room in a large pot. Repotting asparagus ferns also allows you to check for signs of illness and refresh the potting mix. You may also divide the taproot while repotting the plant, allowing you to create new plants.
Here are steps for repotting asparagus foxtail ferns:
Pick out a pot that’s 1″ or 2″ (2.5 cm) bigger than what it is now. Too much soil moisture and diseased roots can result from selecting a pot that is too big.
A pot with drainage holes should be selected as well. The foxtail fern should be carefully removed from its current container. To prevent the spines from jagging your hands, you may need to wear protective gloves. Remove as much soil from the roots as possible.
For asparagus ferns, half-fill a new pot with an asparagus fern potting mix. Fill the rest of the container with potting soil and place the tuber in it. To give the plant some help, gently press down on the soil. Give the foxtail fern enough water to soak it, then put it in a well-lit spot.
How to Propagate Asparagus Foxtail Ferns
Foxtail ferns should be propagated through a root division. It is simple and straightforward to propagate asparagus ferns by dividing the roots.
Here is how to propagate foxtail fern:
Remove the foxtail fern from its pot. Remove any loose soil from the roots using a gentle hand. Position the plant on its side. Cut the tuber root in half or three pieces (depending on the size) using a sterile knife. Use an appropriate potting mix to repot the root sections in separate containers.
Asparagus foxtail ferns growing in the garden are simple to propagate. Use a spade to cut through the plant’s center while it is still in the ground. Remove the plant part you want to replace with care. To plant your new foxtail fern, pick a partially shaded spot in your yard.
Are Asparagus Foxtail Ferns Toxic?
Toxic chemicals in foxtail ferns are harmful to cats and dogs. Repeated exposure to Asparagus densiflorus foliage may cause dermatitis, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Dogs and cats may experience stomach pain, diarrhea, or vomiting if they eat the berries.
Pests that Affect Asparagus Foxtail Fern Growth
The pests that affect foxtail ferns are few. Mealybugs or scale insects are the most prevalent kind of bug that affects asparagus foxtail ferns. Mealybugs are tiny white creatures that leave behind a white powdery substance. Bumpy growth on the woody stems of scale insects is difficult to detect. By sucking fluids from the stems, mealybugs and scale insects harm plant development. As a result, it’s critical to treat plant pests right away.
Use a neem oil solution to eliminate bug from foxtail ferns. Add 1-2 tsp. of lukewarm water to a spray bottle. One tsp. of natural neem oil Dish soap that’s mild is recommended. Before using, shake vigorously. Let the foxtail fern’s foliage dry completely after applying the neem oil pesticide liberally. To get rid of mealybugs or scale, repeat the process every week.
You can use a high-pressure hose to dislodge any pests hiding in the thick foliage of asparagus foxtail ferns growing in your yard.
Diseases that Affect Asparagus Foxtail Fern Growth
The most prevalent ailment affecting foxtail ferns is root rot. Overwatering foxtail ferns allows fungal or bacterial infections to flourish, and the roots may rot as a result of this. Wilting growth and yellow leaves are symptoms of root rot. Watering the plant only when the soil is somewhat dry is the greatest strategy to avoid root disease.
You’ll need to remove the foxtail fern from its pot if you believe that root rot is infecting it. Look for signs of rotting on the tuber root and cut away any soft portions. Wait until the plant has recovered and the soil has mostly dried before watering it again.
FAQs About Asparagus Foxtail Fern Care
Easy-care plants for your garden or house include foxtail ferns. Nevertheless, there are a few concerns that might indicate plant health problems.
Why are foxtail fern leaves yellow?
Too much direct sunlight, overwatering, or a lack of light are the three reasons why asparagus foxtail leaves turn yellow. Asparagus fern leaves turning yellow are caused primarily by overwatering. Roots are drowned by too much soil moisture, preventing them from absorbing nutrients.
The delicate needle-leaves are scorched by too much direct sunlight and hot conditions. The glossy emerald green leaves might turn yellow or degrade as a result of this. Unlike actual ferns, foxtail ferns cannot endure in complete darkness. As a result, you’ll probably want to relocate the bushy fern plant or move it out of the sun.
Why are foxtail fern leaves turning brown?
Asparagus foxtail fern leaves may turn brown as a result of age. This is a normal part of development and should not be feared. To allow fresh, new green sprouts to develop in their place, you may remove the brown, unsightly stems. It might be a indication that the weather is too hot if many asparagus fern leaves are browning at the same time.
The leaves may be scorched by temperatures of more than 90°F (32°C). The asparagus ferns need shade and plenty of water in hot, arid conditions.