Feb. 2013


Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflouris,Asparagus plumosusAsparagus sprengeri) is a traditional hanging basket plant. It is called a fern but it’s not actually related to ferns; rather, it’s a perennial herb and a member of the lily family. It has fine needle-like leaves and arching stems but the sizes vary depending on the type.

  • Asparagus ferns are great in hanging containers.
  • Use the leaves for floral arrangements.
  • Plumosa varieties can grow over six feet long, with long, wry stems that twine. Sprengeri varieties can reach two feet in length, with thorny, arching branches. All asparagus ferns should have feathery leaves, usually of a soft green in color. Sprengeri will produce small white flowers in the spring.
  1. Propagate the plant. You can grow it from seed or by root division. If growing from seed, plant it into a container in spring and leave this on the window sill for warmth to aid germination. If propagating by division, do this in early spring.
  2. Maintain a suitable temperature. This plant needs daytime temperatures around 60 to 75ºF (around 30ºC-35ºC). Night temperatures are best around 50 to 65ºF (25-30ºC).

  3. Plant the asparagus fern in a container or the garden. Wherever you choose, it must be a cool and shaded position.
    • If growing indoors, keep the container out of direct sunlight or there is a risk that the leaves will discolor.
  4. Water regularly. Keep the soil moist. However, give it moderate watering in summer and be very sparing with watering during the winter. Some asparagus ferns, such as sprengeri, have an in-built system which helps prevent drying out.
  5. Fertilize only moderately. Every three months should be adequate. Sprengeri ferns require fertilization once a month during the growing season (March to August).

  6. Repot. If you want the fern to grow larger, it will do so with repotting to larger containers; not repotting will cause problems because it quickly becomes root bound. The more frequently the repotting into larger containers, the more it will grow bigger. To contain the size of the ferns, keep the containers small but replace the soil.
    • When repotting, cut up and divide the root ball for propagation of more asparagus ferns.
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