How to Care for an Asparagus Fern

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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How to Care for an Asparagus Fern
(Sean Justice/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Asparagus ferns are popular houseplants because they are inexpensive, readily available at most garden centres, and easy to care for. With long tendrils of green, fernlike foliage, they look great in hanging baskets or standard pots. The fernlike appearance is why they are called ferns; however, despite the name, asparagus ferns are actually a member of the lily family. In very warm climates, where the ground does not freeze, these plants can also be used as a ground cover.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Watering can or hose
  • Fertiliser
  • Pruning shears

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place indoor asparagus ferns in indirect sunlight. This means either on a partially shaded patio or enclosed porch, or near a windowsill (away from direct rays of the sun). This plant enjoys a bright area but direct sunlight will dry it out and potentially burn the foliage (indicated by discoloured fronds). Outdoors, in hot regions, you can plant asparagus ferns in well-drained soil in partial sun.

  2. 2

    Water sufficiently during warm weather to keep soil moist but not soggy. It is OK to let the soil dry out in between watering for these plants. How often you will need to water depends on how hot your area is and how humid. For potted ferns, add water until water seeps out the pot’s drainage holes. Reduce watering frequency during the winter months, unless the plant shows too much drying (brittle and discoloured foliage).

  3. 3

    Feed your asparagus fern with a balanced plant fertiliser. According to plantcare.com, you should do this weekly in the summer months (and every two weeks in the winter) and use a water-soluble or granular fertiliser. You can find these fertilisers just about anywhere that sells garden supplies. You can also try plant fertiliser stakes for potted asparagus ferns--these stakes are slow-release fertilisers that you stick on one area of the plant pot. They usually last at least a month.

  4. 4

    Check your plant regularly for insect activity. Look for anything crawling or flying around the plant. If you discover insects, treat the plant properly with a pesticide for houseplants. Aphids are usually small and pale, and mites are often small and dark-coloured (just little specks). Call a local greenhouse and describe the insect to them and they will be able to tell you what it is and what will work to kill it.

  5. 5

    Maintain a bushier appearance of the plant by pinching back (with pruning shears) the tips of the stems. According to mobot.org, you can even prune the plant back down to the level of the potting soil, if the fern has become too sprawling and ungainly and you want to restore a more attractive shape.

Tips and warnings

  • According to floridata.com, asparagus fern is considered an invasive plant in Florida. Take care when planting this fern outdoors, as it will crowd out other plants.

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