Asparagus Ferns

Asparagus Ferns


There are lots of varieties of what are known as Asparagus Ferns, however, they reproduce by seeds and are therefore not true ferns. Asparagus Ferns are a description of a group of indoor, evergreen houseplant with feathery, fern like leaves.


The secret to success with an Asparagus Fern is a fast-draining soil like a loose potting compost with Perlite in it.

Asparagus Ferns medium indirect light, particularly thriving in a room that has direct sun in the morning and is more shaded in the afternoon. Sunlight easily scorches the leaves, making them turn yellow. These old leaves can be removed by cutting them if with sharp scissors as close to the main stem as possible.

All Asparagus ferns like the humidity of a bathroom and to be watered when the soil dries out. If you cannot place it in the bathroom, mist with water daily and place near other houseplants, which will increase the general humidity. If you go away on holiday or cannot attend your plants as often as they’d like because of your busy lifestyle, place on a tray of pebbles in water for the plant to dry out slower.

They tend to drink the water in the pot quickly, so you will need to check on the plant more than once a week. What an Asparagus prefers is to sit in deep water, drained thoroughly and then allowed to dry out to get the oxygen to the roots, before being soaked and drained again a few days later.

Asparagus Ferns grow quite quickly and will need re potting once a year. A good tell tale sign is if the roots are popping out of the bottom of the pot. Or the roots are pushing the plant above the rim of the pot or the water drains through the pot very quickly as there is no longer any soil. When your plant gets too big, it is easy to divide its tuber like roots into two containers. You may decide to keep one of them or to give it away.

Asparagus Ferns are not prone to pests or diseases, making them an easy plant to care for. They are ideal for new plant parents and the experienced collector alike. The two most likely are scale or mealy bugs that are easy to control by spraying with an insecticidal soap solution.

If your plant drops it’s leaves, it is likely to be because your fern is in a draught and subject to intense temperature fluctuations. If the leaves go yellow, and they are not old foliage, it is likely to be from too little light or over watering.

Although there are over 300 varieties of Asparagus Fern, at Make Their Day Florist, we stock the most common four, Foxtail, Plumosa, Ming and Sprengeri that are all native to South Africa.

You can’t help but stroke the leaves gently as you go past. But beware! They all have sharp spikes on their stems.

All Asparagus Ferns are toxic to pets. Most pets totally ignore them; however, cats like to play with their light, tempting frond like leaves and may lead to itchiness or being sick if ingested. Hanging them high up solves this problem.


Plumosa (Asparagus setaceous)


This is probably the most well known of all of the Asparagus Ferns. Their dark green, feathery, soft and delicate leaves look the most like a true fern. The new growth protrudes vertically until the leaves unfurl and the fronds lie horizontally, like awnings layered over the old growth. They have tiny white flowers that turn into blackberries.

Foxtail (Asparagus Meyers)


The leaves are light green and needle like. They grow on stems that have the overall appearance of a foxtail. They have tiny white flowers that turn into red berries. This variety can get quite big as there are a cluster of 36 – 48cm (18 – 24”) leaves.

Sprengeri (Asparagus densiflorus)


The emerald green, needle like leaves have an overall dense appearance looking like a fern on a bad hair day. They have tiny white flowers that turn into red berries. They can grow to about 90cm or 3’ tall.

Ming (Asparagus  retrofractus)


These are rarer and similar to a cross between the Sprengeri and Foxtail ferns, but with slightly finer needle like leaves that are clumped in pom poms. They have tiny white flowers that turn into green berries.

Outdoors, int the ground in South Africa, It can grow to 6-8’ tall, but it may be controlled to a much smaller plant, simply be putting into a smaller container as a house plant.


Asparagus Ferns make a great addition to any home with their soft leaves and airy appearance that may be placed in an attractive pot or hung in a hanging basket. Which variety are you going to choose?