Asparagus Fern- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#50

The name and and look is deceiving, but the Asparagus Fern never disappoints. With their incredibly fast growth, easy care, and fun texture, who wouldn't love it?!


Varieties

All varieties are fluffy looking, with green stems, leaves that look like needles and small thrones. The thrones aren't that bad but just be careful handling then because you may get poked.


There are a few different varieties that all look a little different:

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri': Can grow over 4ft wide and starts as an upright plant but usually becomes trailing with the weight of the stem.


Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri': Grows about 2ft tall and wide with upright, dense, conical shaped, foliage covered stems. These are commonly called Foxtail Fern because of the stem shape.


Asparagus plumosus (previously Asparagus setaceus): This variety has feather-like foliage that looks even softer than the other two. The overall growth shape is similar to the others but it is trained to climb. Because of that, it was hard to find a mature size, but it is safe to assume it can grow above 6ft if given the space.


Sun Requirements:

Bright, indirect light is best, but medium light is okay as well! Keep them out of any direct sunlight because it can cause the plant to yellow.


Water Requirement

This plant needs medium moisture. Underwatering will cause leaves to yellow and drop. It is best not to let this plant completely dry out.


Low to medium humidity is recommended. That being said, I don't add any extra humidity and mine are doing great!


Fertilizer

As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer and I fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants. Based on the below info from Fox Farm it looks like I could increase my fertilizing a bit if needed!

Houseplants A Guide to Choosing and Caring For Indoor Plants: "The plant will yellow in full sun, and if under-fertilized, as it is a heavy feeder."


Practical Houseplant Book: "Apply a half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer once a month from spring to fall."


As you can see, there are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Propagation

Best way to propagate is dividing. The root system is dense and fleshy with tubers along the root system so make sure you have a sharp knife to cut through it.


Other Facts

  • Part of the Asparagaceae Family or the Liliaceae family based on cultivar.

  • Native to southeastern Africa.

  • It is considered invasive in Florida, Texas, southern California, Hawaii and Australia, so please be cautious with this plant! It could be invasive in other areas, but this is what I found in my research.

  • In nature, these plants can grow pretty large with stems getting about 6ft long.

  • In your home, if you plant is a bit leggy you can cut it back, place it in more light to create fuller foliage.

  • Natively, these bloom with tiny pink/white flowers in clusters on the stem through peak growing season. Female plants could have a red berry as well.

  • Toxic to pets and humans. Check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!

Instagram Q&A

I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for the Asparagus Fern...


"I noticed some of your stems are bare when they grow. How quickly do the leaves/buds come in?"

  • They shoot up with just one single stem and from there smaller stems shoot off the main one. It takes a few weeks for that stem to eventually fill in but they do look like asparagus at first!


"How big can Asparagus Fern get? Do they need a lot of space to grow? How fast do they grow?"

  • It depends on the variety but my biggest one has some stems that are about 4ft wide and growing. They get very wide and they grow fast, so you need a wider space for them to grow.


"Are they a variety of pine tree at all? Might sound stupid but their stems look like a softer pine stem!"

  • There are NO stupid questions, I promise! They are not a pine but they are considered a broadleaf evergreen. Many houseplants are broadleaf evergreens because they don't loose their leaves in cold months in nature.

  • University of Wisconsin Madison Extension explains why their leaves actually are best. Here is what they explained "What appear to be leaves are actually leaf-like cladodes (short, flattened stems that look and function like leaves). These needle-like “leaves” arise in groups of four to eight from the nodes along the stem. The true leaves are barely visible scales near the base of the cladodes."

 

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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly

 

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