Common Asparagus Fern
Asparagus ferns (Asparagus setaceus) are popular indoor and outdoor plants that are beloved for their delicate foliage and elegant, arching branches. Despite the name, asparagus ferns are not actually ferns, but rather a member of the asparagus family.
The common asparagus fern is native to South Africa and Mozambique, but it is now widely cultivated in many parts of the world as a houseplant or ornamental plant. It grows best in warm, tropical climates and can be found in many different types of habitats, including forests and woodlands.
Habit: Climbing perennial plants up to several metres tall (but can be kept shorter through pruning) producing light feathery stems with fine, soft green needles. Small whitish flowers may be produced followed by blackish berries.
Temperature: Plants grow best between 20 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 10ᐤ C may result in damage to leaves while temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants.
Light Exposure: Plants grow best in bright, indirect light and will start to yellow and drop their needles when growing in areas with insufficient light.
Watering: Asparagus plants can be fairly drought tolerant storing moisture in its root system, however; watering once a week during the rainy season, once every two weeks in the cold dry season and once to twice a week during the hot dry season will be adequate. Misting the leaves during hot weather is beneficial to plant aesthetics.
Fertilising: Give plants a well balanced fertiliser twice a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).
Pruning/Repotting: Remove yellowing and dry stems as necessary. Tall leggy plants can be pruned down to near the soil level and new shoots will be produced in about 3 months. Asparagus Ferns like to be root bound and can be repotted every four to five years.
Pests/Diseases: Plants are relatively pest free but can occasionally be attacked by Asparagus beetles, aphids and cutworms in addition to Fusarium root rot and rust fungus of the leaves.
In conclusion, the common asparagus fern is a versatile and popular plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. With the right care, it can thrive in a variety of environments and add beauty to any space. By following these tips for light requirements, fertilising, potting up, watering, humidity and pest control, you can ensure that your asparagus fern remains healthy and vibrant for years to come.