Asparagus densiflorus 

(ass-pair' a-guss den-si-floor' us, se-taa' cee-us)

Common name: Asparagus Fern

Family: Liliaceae (Asparagaceae), Lily

Height x width: 24" x 12"

Foliage: true leaves are small and scale-like, with feathery leaf-like stems (cladophylls) or modified side shoots (phylloclades) appearing to be leaves, often with spines

Flowers: white or pink, single or in groups, generally followed by red berries

Light: bright

Temperature: cool to average

Watering: moderate, avoid dryness to prevent needle fall

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: average

Soil: average

Pests and Problems: crown rot, leaf spots, rust, anthracnose, canker, slugs, spider mites (often common), aphids, scales (often common)

Growth habit, uses: hanging, pot or cut depending on species or cultivar

Other interest: native to sandy and coastal areas of South Africa; grouped with ferns, but as a member of the lily family not actually a fern; related to the edible garden asparagus (officinalis)

Other culture: may need dividing frequently as the spindle-like tuberous roots become quite potbound and can crack pots; survives drought, but dryness causes needles to fall; prune bare stems as new shoots will develop after needle fall; often plants shed old needles as new shoots form and so are messy indoors

Propagation: seeds, division

Species and Cultivars:

densiflorus 'Myersii' (A. meyeri)-- Myers Asparagus, Foxtail Asparagus/Fern; dense, upright to slightly arching foxtail-like fronds 12-18" long, often used in pots, like Sprenger only much denser leaves along stems

densiflorus 'Sprengeri' (A. sprengeri)--Sprenger Asparagus, Emerald Fern; arching, then pendant stems 18-30" long, with widely spaced "leaves" (more so in low light), giving an open or loose appearance, best trailing or hanging, may also be cut

setaceus (A. plumosus)--Asparagus Fern, very feathery foliage deep green and clustered on stalks, often used as a florist cut green


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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