Versatile asparagus fern is an attractive herbaceous perennial that is easy to grow, though not actually a fern. Plant asparagus fern in garden beds where it is used as a creeper in warmer climates. It can be invasive, so keep an eye on it. You will more often find asparagus fern growing indoors as a dense, bushy houseplant with lace-like foliage that forms an incredible mound.
The soft texture of this plant's small needle-like leaves adds an airiness to plants in mixed combinations. Asparagus ferns will delight you with dainty white blossoms followed by red berries that attract birds. In garden beds, they spread vigorously by their fleshy roots as well as when birds eating the berries deposit seeds.
Asparagus Fern Care Must-Knows
Asparagus ferns perform best in an organically rich, well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once they are established in the garden, asparagus ferns should be kept evenly moist with dappled shade. As potted houseplants, asparagus ferns should be placed in indirect or filtered light for best results. During warmer months you can move asparagus ferns outdoors to a shaded porch. Asparagus ferns prefer warm and humid climates (about 70 degrees F) and cannot withstand temperatures below 55 degrees F for very long periods of time. Asparagus ferns do not require periods of winter dormancy but will appreciate a resting period and reduced watering during the winter months.
To promote dense plant growth, pinch back the stem tips. If plant shape becomes too sprawling, the stems can be cut back close to the soil to regenerate and encourage new growth. During their active growing period, apply a weak liquid fertilizer about once a week.
You'll know when asparagus fern needs to be divided or repotted. Watch for fleshy bulbs to push the plants out of the pot. At this point, you can repot in a slightly larger container or divide the plant. When dividing, be sure to take several of the underground bulbs. Mature asparagus fern plants can become quite woody with sharp spines on the branches. This is something to keep in mind when trimming older plants.
More Varieties of Asparagus Fern
Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' has dense, bottle-brush-like stems that grow more upright. It makes a better tabletop plant than hanging basket.
Asparagus setaceus looks the most like a true fern. The spreading layered stems are covered with tiny soft needles. Older stems can grow several feet long. Cut them back to promote denser growth.