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Asparagus Ferns — How to Grow Asparagus Ferns

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Asparagus Ferns — How to Grow Asparagus Ferns

The asparagus fern is an attractive, low-growing plant with feathery foliage that withstands drought fairly well.

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The asparagus fern isn’t exactly a common houseplant, but it’s attractive with feathery, light foliage and can be successfully grown indoors. In warmer regions, the fern can be easily adapted to outdoor culture, where it sometimes grows like a creeper and can even become invasive. Indoors, the key to an attractive asparagus fern is to keep the plant bushy and dense so its lace-like foliage forms an attractive mound.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Dappled shade is ideal, although it can be acclimated to more light.
Water: Keep it evenly moist; it prefers humidity during the growing season.
Temperature: Warm, preferring up to 70ºF. Don’t go below 55ºF for long.
Soil: Use loose, well-drained potting soil.
Fertilizer: During growing period, use weak liquid fertilizer weekly.

Propagation:

By division of clumps during repotting. Make sure to take multiple underground “bulbs” when dividing.

Repotting:

Like many ferns, this fern doesn’t mind being slightly pot-bound and can go up to two years before repotting. Divide at repotting time and keep in the same size pot to retain its tight growth habit.

Varieties:

The most popular asparagus fern is the A. densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’, or Sprengeri’s asparagus fern. There are, however, a few other varieties sometimes seen in cultivation, including A. asparagoides, which has ovoid pseudo-leaves, and A. setaceus, which has very fine needles.

Grower's Tips:

Although these plants thrive in humidity, they are remarkably drought tolerant for a fern and a healthy plant will typically quickly recover from cold damage or drought damage. It’s “leaves” are actually tiny branchlets called cladophylls that are flat and look like leaves. Mature plants become woody and can develop sharp spines on the branches, so watch out while you’re trimming older specimens. If you have a shady porch outside or a greenhouse, they love to be moved outside over the summer and will likely respond with abundant growth.
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