How to Grow and Care for Asparagus Fern

It's easy to grow this bushy plant both indoors and out.

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Versatile asparagus fern is an attractive herbaceous perennial that is easy to grow, though not actually a fern. The soft texture of this plant's small needle-like leaves resembles the foliage of asparagus plants. It's a good choice for adding airy texture to mixed garden beds. It will produce dainty white blossoms followed by red berries that attract birds. In the garden, they can spread vigorously through their fleshy roots, as well as by birds eating the berries, then depositing the seeds, so keep an eye on it. In Florida, Sprenger's asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) in particular is considered invasive. You will more often find asparagus fern growing indoors as a dense, bushy houseplant with lace-like foliage that gracefully arches outward.

Asparagus Fern Overview

Genus Name Asparagus
Common Name Asparagus Fern
Plant Type Annual, Houseplant, Perennial
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 18 to 36 inches
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Division, Seed

Asparagus Fern Care Tips

Asparagus ferns perform best in organically rich, well-drained soil. Drought-tolerant once they're established in the garden, the plants should be kept evenly moist in dappled shade. Asparagus ferns prefer warm and humid climates (about 70°F) and cannot withstand temperatures below 55°F for long periods of time.

To promote dense plant growth, pinch back your asparagus fern's stem tips by about a third every few months. If the plant's shape becomes too sprawling, cut back the oldest stems close to the soil to encourage new growth. When the plant is actively growing new stems and foliage, apply a weak liquid fertilizer about once a week.

When an asparagus fern needs to be divided or repotted, you'll see the fleshy roots pushing out of the pot. At this point, you can repot the whole plant into a slightly larger container, or divide the plant. When dividing, be sure to take several of the underground "bulbs." The stems of mature asparagus ferns can become tough and woody, with tiny but sharp spines along the branches. When trimming older plants, protect your hands with a thick pair gardening gloves.

How to Grow Asparagus Fern Indoors

For best results as potted houseplants, asparagus ferns should be placed in indirect or filtered light. During warmer months, you can move them outdoors to a shaded porch. They don't require periods of winter dormancy, but will appreciate a rest and reduced watering during the winter months.

More Varieties of Asparagus Fern

Foxtail Fern

foxtail asparagus fern in white indoor planter

Krystal Slagle / BHG

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' variety has dense, bottle brush-like stems that grow more upright. Because of this, it makes a better filler in containers than a trailing plant for a hanging basket

Plumrose Fern

plumose fern Asparagus setaceus
Marty Baldwin

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.

'Sprengeri' Asparagus Fern

'Sprengeri' asparagus fern
Marty Baldwin

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' is the most widely available variety. It has arching stems with inch-long dark green needles.

Garden Plan for Asparagus Fern

garden plan for partial shade
Mavis Augustine Torke

This garden plan for partial shade combines easy, adaptable plants to add color to spots that don't get full sun. The design calls for two asparagus ferns as filler toward the front of the bed.

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