Botanical Name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'
Asparagus Fern is not a true fern, but a member of the lily family (Liliaceae).
Long, arching stems densely covered with short, needle-like leaflets give this plant a delicate appearance. It has a cascading habit that makes it ideal for a hanging basket.
Mature plants will bloom in summer with small, white-to-pale pink flowers, sometimes followed by clusters of green berries that turn red in the winter. These berries are poisonous if eaten.
Florists love the feathery, emerald-green foliage in bouquets. It's also a popular outdoor container plant in temperate climates. If planted in the ground, asparagus ferns are invasive. In their native habitat, these vigorous plants will spread across -- and scramble up -- other plants.
Prune it back. Trim off old stems in the spring to make room for new growth and to keep the plant looking neat.
Repot in spring. Move to a pot only 1 size larger. Allow 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) from the surface of the potting mix to the rim of the pot. The fleshy, tuberous roots sometimes force the potting mix up as they grow.
Leaf drop is usually a symptom of too much sunlight -- or, more likely -- dry soil. Keep your asparagus fern where it'll get filtered light. Water regularly, but take care not to overwater. The plant's thick, tuberous roots store water and soggy soil can cause root rot.
Origin: South Africa
Height: Trailing stems up to 3 ft (90 cm) long
Light: Bright light.
Water: Water thoroughly, allowing soil to dry out a little between waterings. Water sparingly in winter, but do not allow soil to dry out completely.
Humidity: Prefers moist air. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles and mist leaves daily with room- temperature water.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C
Soil: Peat moss based potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced house plant fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Seeds or division
Dry soil or dry indoor air will cause this plant to shed its small leaflets. Mist it regularly to keep the humidity high.
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This fern is closely related to the foxtail fern, which features feathery plumes of leaflets.
Discover more types of ferns that make beautiful house plants.