Asparagus setaceus 30cm
Several species of the genus Asparagus are commonly known as asparagus ferns - especially A. densiflorus, which is usually grown outdoors, and A. aethiopicus, which is usually grown as a houseplant. Although they are different species, they both look very similar, with bright green feathery foliage.
The fast-growing asparagus fern, usually planted in spring, has many good qualities, but it comes with some important caveats. In warm, humid climates, asparagus ferns can spread quickly when planted outdoors -- to the point of serious invasiveness. Check with your local extension office to see if it is invasive in your area.
Indoors, the key to a robust asparagus fern is to keep it well watered, bushy and dense so that the lacy foliage forms an attractive mound.
Asparagus fern is mildly toxic to humans and moderately toxic to pets.1
Caring for the asparagus fern
The "leaves" of the asparagus fern are leaf-like cladodes. The true leaves are barely visible scales at the base of the cladodes. Although the ferns look soft to the touch, they are quite sharp. Wear gardening gloves if you plan to prune an older plant. If the asparagus fern is content in place, it may produce small flowers followed by berries that are mildly poisonous. The berries are poisonous to cats and dogs.1
The asparagus fern thrives in sheltered shade, although it can be acclimatized to more light. Keep it out of direct, bright sunlight, which can scorch the foliage.
Plant asparagus ferns in pots or containers in moist, loose, well-drained potting soil. Outdoors, plant them in rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. They prefer rich soil to thrive. Make sure pots have drainage holes.
Keeping an asparagus fern hydrated takes some effort, as this plant thrives on humidity. Indoor growing conditions can often be too dry, especially during the winter heating season. Spray the plant daily, focusing on the overhanging stems. If the plant appears to be turning brown and drooping, it probably needs more water.
Keep the soil moist, and water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Warmer, moist air and daily misting help the plant thrive. Keep the outdoor asparagus fern well watered to prevent the soil from drying out completely.
Temperature and Humidity
Try to maintain a warm temperature around 23 degrees and not below 13 for too long degrees to dive. If you have a shaded porch or greenhouse, the houseplants will likely respond with abundant growth over the course of the summer. Avoid sudden changes in temperature, which can cause the cladodes to fall.
Feed asparagus ferns with liquid or water-soluble all-purpose plant food diluted to half strength. During the summer, container plants may require weekly feedings; otherwise feed monthly.
Botanical name Asparagus aethiopicus, A.densiflorus Height 30cm Pot size 12cm Place Parashadow - Shadow Water requirement Keep moist Toxic Slightly toxic Repot Every 2 years Packaging Special plants mail box Maintenance Beginner