We have all seen huge, gorgeous pots of full-flowing asparagus fern. The green fronds with their gentle draping arms and red berries are popular throughout the United States as ornamental plants. They can be found at any store selling house plants. Known as Asparagus sprengeri, they originated in South Africa.
What is the asparagus fern?
Surprisingly, the thick and luscious asparagus fern that we all admire is not even a fern. It is a member of the lily family, along with hosta, tulips and daylilies. Unfortunately, outdoors it is considered invasive. The asparagus fern that cascades over walls and banks is smothering plants that are native to that area, especially in Florida and the South.
In some areas of Florida, the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants is asking consumers to stop buying and propagating this plant. If you still choose to buy it, the center asks that you use it only in a pot, so you can monitor its growth.
Care of the plant
The asparagus fern house plant needs regular watering, and if you don't plan to propagate it, it should be dead-headed. Its watering needs are moderate--once a week or even every two weeks whether it lives outside or inside.
The plants, both indoor and outdoor, prefer to be moist during their summer growing season in the northern hemisphere. In the winter, water sparingly, but you must not let them to get too dry or they will lose a lot of leaves. According to plant experts at HorticulturalHelp.com, the rule of thumb is to water the asparagus fern when the soil surface feels dry. They also suggest that yellowing stems be removed. (see resources.)
The asparagus fern blooms in the middle of summer. Soil should be mildly acidic to neutral ph. Asparagus fern requires full to partial sun.
To propagate, the root ball can be divided. If you choose to repot, it should be done before new growth occurs in spring. The plant is quick-growing and is considered an evergreen perennial in warmer climates such as the south and southwest, according to the University of Arizona. (See resource section.)
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