Botanical Name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'
Origin: South Africa
Height: The trailing stems of the Asparagus Fern can grow to a length of around 90 cm (3 ft).
Soil: A potting mix based on peat moss will keep the Asparagus Fern thriving.
Light: This house plant likes plenty of bright light, although too much sunlight may cause the leaves to drop. Keeping the plant in a position where it receives filtered light is therefore advisable.
Humidity: The Asparagus Fern prefers moist air, making it necessary to mist the leaves daily with water (room temperature) and keep the pot located on a tray with wet pebbles.
Temperatures: For this plant, average temperatures ranging between 16 and 24 degrees C (60 to 75 degrees F) will be ideal.
Water: The soil should be allowed to dry out just a little between thorough waterings. It is essential to avoid over-watering, as water is stored by the thick tuberous roots and too much water may cause the soil to become soggy. This may ultimately result in root rot. In winter, watering needs to be done more sparingly, but the soil should never be allowed to completely dry out, as this will cause the leaves to drop off.
Fertiliser: A diluted (1:1) balanced fertiliser for house plants should be given to this plant on a monthly basis from spring right into autumn.
Propagation: Propagation can be done from seed or by dividing a parent plant.
Description and Care Tips
The dense, needle-like short leaflets on the Asparagus Fern's long arching stems provide this house plant with a delicate appearance. Thanks to its cascading habit, it is perfect for use in hanging baskets.
In summer, mature plants will bloom, producing tiny flowers ranging in colour from white into a pale pink. These flowers may be followed by green berry clusters, which will turn red with the approach of winter. It should be noted that these berries are poisonous and should therefore not be eaten.
The emerald green, feathery foliage of the Asparagus Fern has long been a florists' favourite as an addition to bouquets. In temperate climates, it also makes a lovely outdoor plant. It should, however, be kept in containers, as it will be rather invasive if planted straight into the ground.
In its native habitat, this vigorous plant will spread with ease over and across other plants, often scrambling up larger plants as well.
Pruning off older stems during the spring months will keep the plant looking neat and allow more room for fresh growth. Spring is also the best time to repot this house plant. Asparagus Ferns should be repotted into pots one size larger than the previous year, and approximately 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) should be left between the top of the potting mix and the pot's rim. This will allow for a little growing space, as the tuberous, fleshy roots tend to push up the soil as they grow.