Care of Asparagus Fern

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. Or set this ornamental trailer on a multi-level plant stand. Its feathery foliage blends in beautifully with other humidity-loving house plants. 

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.

Asparagus Fern Care Tips

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Origin: South Africa

Height: Trailing stems up to 3 ft (90 cm) long

Light: Bright indirect 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. Dry indoor air will cause this plant to shed its small leaflets. Set pot on a tray of wet pebbles and mist leaves daily with room-temperature water to keep the humidity high.

Temperature: Average room temperature 60-75°F/16-24°C. This plant will tolerate a minimum temperature of 50°F/10°C.

Soil: Good-quality potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced house plant fertilizer diluted by half. 

Propagation: This is an easy plant to grow from seeds. Divide overcrowded plants in spring. Ease the plant out of its container and divide the plant with a sharp knife, keeping as much of the roots attached as possible.

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