Asparagus Fern:  Not a True Fern

The Asparagus Fern (A. densiflorus "Sprengeri") is the most popular of its species for houseplants. Although it's not a real fern, but has all of the appearance of a fern with its long graceful branches and needlelike foliage.  

As the branches grow in length they form arches, making this plant an excellent specimen for hanging baskets.  When grown in good light, the plants grow fast and produces white star-shaped flowers that yield attractive red berries.

asparagus fern

The perennial plant is native to South Africe. It is a member of the lily family and a relative of the edible asparagus.

It should be handled with care because it has extremely sharp spines that can prick your fingers.  Play it safe and wear gloves.

Also called the Emerald Fern, this attractive and easy-to-grow plant will add appealing color and texture to any decor--especially a sunroom.

Care for your plant properly and it can become an "heirloom" that can easily be passed from generation to generation.

Asparagus Fern Care Tips

Light:  Give bright indoor light all year long.  Leaves drop and turn yellow with insufficient light.

Water:  keep the soil uniformly moist from spring to fall. Allow the soil to dry to touch between waterings during winter months.

Humidity:  Plant likes high humidity. Mist daily with tepid water.  A room humidifier is ideal for this plant as areas are often dry because of winter heat. This will keep the tiny leaves from turning brown and dropping.

Temperature:  68-72 degrees F for days and 50-55 degrees F for nights.

Fertilizer:  Feed only during the growing season (spring and summer) with a liquid plant food every other week.

Propagation:  Seeds germinate slowly.  Save time by using divisions from older plants.

Repotting:  Repot in standard potting soil when roots push through top of soil and the drainage hole.  Always use a pot one size larger or you can just prune the roots.

Pests:  Plant may be attacked by spider mites if kept in hot dry conditions. 

Groom:  Trim leggy stems off at soil level to produce new growth.

Warnings for Pets

The asparagus fern contains steroid compounds called sapogenins, toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingestion can cause gastric upset resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Exposure to the plant’s sap can cause allergic dermatitis in animals.

If your pet ingested this plant, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.