Asparagus Fern Plant Care Guide

Difficulty Level: Low Key
Low Key

What is the Asparagus Fern?

Asparagus setaceus, better known as the Common Asparagus Fern, and sometimes called Asparagus Grass or Lace Fern, is a member of the Asparagaceae, the Asparagus family. Despite commonly being called a fern it is not related to ferns which are very distantly related and in the class Polypodiopsida. Asparagus ferns have a wide native range in the southern half of the African continent and are widely naturalized in subtropical areas around the world. Asparagus Ferns are widely grown as indoor houseplants and often grown as outdoor plants in subtropical areas where they add a diffusive green touch to landscaping.

Asparagus Ferns make for an excellent indoor plant that are grown to enjoy their vining habit and their luxurious feathery leaves. The leaves of Asparagus Ferns are used for their silky diffusive appearance in landscaping, floral arrangements, and make pleasing rewarding houseplants. When properly cared for Asparagus Ferns can be grown to have a cascading shape that spreads both horizontally and vertically with vines upwards of five feet long. They make an excellent choice for a houseplant that will spread into the living space adding natural beauty to the environment.

Light CareLight Care

Asparagus ferns prefer indirect light but are hardy enough to handle some direct light and some fully shaded locations. In direct light conditions the feathery leaves of the Asparagus Fern will display brown dry burns on the leaf tips, moving the plant to a location with less direct light should help prevent any further burns on the leaves. In conditions with too little light new growth on the Asparagus Fern may appear pale and yellow. This is a good indicator to move the plant to a location with more light and the new growth should begin to turn green in response to better lighting. Asparagus Ferns may slow down growth in the winter due to less overall light each day and will resume their rapid growth during the spring.

Water CareWater Care

Despite their delicate and feathery appearance Asparagus Ferns are fairly tolerant of dry conditions and prefer to be moderately watered and allowed to lightly dry out between watering. With indoor plant care this translates to watering the plant weekly and allowing the soil to dry between watering. Asparagus Ferns are also tolerant to being over watered and do not easily get root rot. Asparagus ferns are very tolerant to a wide range of conditions and make an excellent choice for novice growers worried about how consistently they are watering their plants.

Food GuideFood Guide

The Asparagus Fern is a fast growing plant with a tendency to spread over a large space. Fertilizing Asparagus Ferns is not necessary, but can be useful to speed up their growth. Fertilize the plant lightly while watering and be cautious of over fertilizing, reducing a fertilizer to 1/4th strength is recommended. Asparagus Ferns can easily become root bound in smaller pots, and this will slow down growth, when considering fertilizer evaluate your plant to see if a larger pot will also be beneficial. Root bound Asparagus Ferns can also suffer from burns on the roots from strong fertilizers and from being over fertilized.

Staff Holy Grail Tip:

When growing Asparagus Ferns do not be afraid to trim back the stems when they start to reach out of their designated grow space. Asparagus Ferns have a tendency to take over a space if allowed to so do not fear that you will do hard to the plant by trimming it. Trimming and shaping the plant can also have the benefit of letting you decide the way that your Asparagus Fern will cascade through a space. Be cautious of the size of pot you plant your Asparagus Fern in, the plant can easily become root bound in smaller pots and this will limit its growth and make the plant more sensitive to water and fertilizer.

If your Asparagus Fern is doing well you may be rewarded with tiny indiscreet white flowers followed by pea sized ornamental red berries that linger on the plant. These are uncommon in indoor growing and will only occur when your Asparagus Fern is in ideal conditions.