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How to Grow & Care for Asparagus Fern

Written by Iris

Jul 30 2021

How to Grow & Care for Asparagus Fern
Asparagus Fern is the best indoor plant to tolerate low light and drought. The thick rhizome is an important part of the water retention of Asparagus in Africa. The fine needle-shaped leaves are small, which is very suitable for minimalist and natural home style. Asparagus Fern is native to South Africa and grows in rocks, forests, savanna shrubs and the coast of the Southeast Sea. In the tropics and subtropics, it is a perennial plant that can live as long as 15 years under ideal conditions like asparagus.
Asparagus Fern

How to Grow & Care for Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern Care - Light

Asparagus ferns like bright indirect light. Too much hot sun can scorch their leaves, too little will cause it to yellow and drop needles. You can take 2 approaches when placing your asparagus ferns:
Place directly in an east-facing window. It will love that soft morning sun. A north window MAY be enough light but just keep an eye on it and if it's looking sad, move it too a brighter locale.
Place it to the side of or a few feet back from south or west-facing window. This is where indirect becomes important. These windows will get afternoon and evening sun which is very hot, especially in summer, and it can burn your Asparagus Fern plant.

Asparagus Fern Care - Soil

The key to the success of growing an Asparagus fern is a fast-draining soil. There are a couple of ways to do this: Mix 1 part potting soil with one part perlite. While potting soil generally has perlite in it, we want to add more to increase aeration and improve drainage. Asparagus ferns also like loamy soil. You can make this by mixing 20% clay, 40% sand and 40% silt.

Asparagus Fern Care - Watering

An Asparagus Fern is a thirsty plant which means you may have to water it more often than your other plants. Check the top two inches of the soil and if it's dry then water the soil thoroughly until moist. Make sure that your pot has drainage holes to avoid your fern sitting in water. Brown fronds can be an indication of too little water. Check on your Asparagus Fern more often than your other plants until you understand how often it needs to be watered in your home. You may find it’s once a week but if you live somewhere hotter and drier then it could be more often.

Asparagus Fern Care - Temperature & Humidity

This Asparagus Fern houseplant will grow happily in temperatures of 12-25°C, try to avoid sudden drops in temperature and be wary of draughts and open windows. If you can provide your Asparagus Fern with a more humid environment then your plant will thrive. If you live in a drier climate then you could consider buying a humidifier. And if you don’t want to invest in one of those then misting your plants once a day or once every other day should do the trick. Another way to increase humidity for your Asparagus Fern is to place your plant in a pebbled tray full of water so as the water evaporates, the moisture will be taking in by your leaves.

Asparagus Fern Care - Fertilizer

Fertilize an asparagus fern weekly during the summer with a water-soluble fertilizer. Feed monthly during the rest of the year. Always dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 the recommended strength.

Asparagus Fern Care - Pruning

Be radical when you're trimming Asparagus Fern plant. Removing an old branch completely will encourage several fresh branches to grow, but snipping the tip from a branch will stop it from growing at all.
When you're pruning, consider what shape you want your plant to take on. Do you want a central stem, so that it starts to look like a small tree, or would you rather have the long, feathery branches cascading over the sides of a hanging basket? With this plant, there are many possibilities.

Asparagus Fern Care - Pests & Diseases

Spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs like to hang out in this plant's leaves, get rid of them with insecticidal soap. Overly wet conditions can cause root-rot.
Asparagus Fern
Asparagus Fern - Most Common House Plant

How to Propagate Asparagus Fern

Steps for Asparagus Fern Propagation with Seeds

Asparagus Fern Seeds may be purchased, or you can opt to save your own.
Propagating Asparagus Fern by seed may be challenging, as there are only one to three seeds per berry, and they don't always germinate.
When you're ready to plant your seeds, scrape them gently with sandpaper and soak them in water overnight before sowing. This helps to facilitate germination, by weakening the hard outer coating of the seeds.
If they are too small for you to handle easily, instead of using sandpaper, you could place the seeds in a bag with a little sand and shake them up. Then place the contents of the bag into water, sand and all, to soak for the night.
You may start seeds indoors in egg cartons, seed-starter trays, or grow disks.
Alternatively, you may sow them directly outdoors.
Moisten your potting medium or garden soil, then place the seeds on top and press them down gently. Do not cover the seeds with soil as they need light to germinate.
Place in a location that receives indirect sunlight. Maintain even moisture, watering before the soil dries out completely.
They can take up to four weeks to germinate, so be patient.

Steps for Asparagus Fern Propagation with Division

To grow Asparagus Ferns by division propagation, consult our guide to dividing perennials.
A division is obtained by cutting straight down through a mature plant's rootstock, separating the cut portion, and planting it elsewhere. The roots are essential, as stems alone will not regrow.
Place the division into your choice of potting medium or garden soil, and water well.
Maintain even moisture, watering before the soil dries out completely. Then care for the new Asparagus Fern plant carefully.

Varieties of Asparagus Fern

Foxtail Fern

Foxtail Fern - Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' has dense, bottle-brush-like stems that grow more upright. It makes a better tabletop plant than hanging basket.

Plumrose Fern

Plumrose Fern - Asparagus setaceus looks the most like a true fern. The spreading layered stems are covered with tiny soft needles. Older stems can grow several feet long. Cut them back to promote denser growth.

'Sprengeri' Asparagus Fern

'Sprengeri' Asparagus Fern - Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri', the most widely available variety, has arching stems with 1-inch-long dark green needles.
Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern FAQ

Why is it turning yellow?

The most common reasons for the Asparagus Fern plant turning yellow are pests and overwatering. Because they can be so damaging and so hard to eradicate, check for insects first. In fact, you should probably scan your plant for signs of an infestation every time you water it.
If there are definitely no bugs, take a long, hard look at your watering routine. If the Asparagus Fern plant is too wet, the roots will start to rot. The first sign of this is usually yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant.

Can I grow Asparagus Fern outside?

If you live in a warm climate, the asparagus fern will survive outside. But you should be careful. There are many parts of the world where it's considered an invasive weed because, once it's planted, it's hard to get rid of.
Give you plant a spot that's partially shaded and remember to cut it back and split the root ball in spring to keep it under control. Alternatively, you can keep it confined to a stone pot on your patio.

How can I revive Asparagus Fern?

Growers love the asparagus fern because it can be revived even if it looks like it's at death's door. You may have to give it a radical haircut because the leaves themselves won't come back to life, but never throw this plant away unless it's summer and you're still not seeing any growth. If it dries out completely, give it a good drink and wait. Once new growth appears, fertilize it and hope for the best.