Botanical Name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'
Upright, emerald plumes make foxtail fern a gorgeous accent plant for container groupings or staging among tropicals.
This beautiful fern is easy to grow and, some say, more decorative than its close relative, the asparagus fern.
Fronds densely covered with 1 in (2.5 cm) needle-like leaflets give this fern a delicate, feathery appearance. But, don't let its delicate appearance fool you. In its native, warm temperature forests of Africa, this fern is an aggressive grower and can be invasive. It's not a problem, though, contained in a pot. Cut it back or divide it in spring to keep it under control.
Prune it back. Cut back stems to keep this fern compact and bushy. Trim off old, faded fronds to make room for new growth and to keep the plant looking its best.
Repot in spring. Move to a pot only 1 size larger. Allow 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) space from the rim of the pot, because 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. Foxtail fern likes dappled sunlight. Water regularly, but take care not to overwater. The plant's thick, tuberous roots store water and soggy soil can cause root rot. Raising the humidity can help.
Origin: South Africa
Height: Up to 3 ft (90 cm) long
Light: Bright light
Water: Water thoroughly, allowing soil to dry out a little between waterings. Too much water can lead to root rot. 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 with room- temperature water.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C
Soil: Any good potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced house plant fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Division. Divide overcrowded plants in spring. Remove the plant from its pot and cut through the thick roots with a sharp knife to avoid pulling and tearing them.
Dry soil or dry indoor air will cause this fern to shed its small leaflets.
Mist it regularly to keep the humidity high.
Foxtail fern is not a true fern, but a member of the lily family. It's a relative of asparagus fern and the edible asparagus vegetable.