Common Name: Foxtail Fern
Botanical Name: Asparagus densiflorus
This indoor plant is technically not a fern! It's possible that it was given this common name because of its habit and fragile-looking leaves. In fact, this so-called fern can tolerate drought once it is established, but indoors, it needs regular watering. The Fern Asparagus will thrive in indirect light, but this adaptable houseplant can handle shadier areas. Increased humidity will help this houseplant look full and continue to push out new growth.
Light is necessary for all plants, and Foxtail Fern enjoys a spot where it receives bright indirect light for at least 5 hours daily. Since the leaves grow the light source, rotate this plant regularly so that each side gets consistent sunlight. This will prevent the plant from growing on only one side. Soft, morning direct sun is fine, but keep it away from intense afternoon sun exposure!
Foxtail Ferns are sensitive to overwatering and dislike being kept too wet. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, but if the plant is actively growing, try to keep the soil consistently moist. If you over-water your plant to the point that it rests in water, it will shed leaves, and the roots will rot. During the winter months, take caution not to water the plants frequently. Wait for the top few inches of the soil to dry out completely first. The leaves can be used to identify whether or not the plant requires water. If you notice the needles turning yellow, it indicates too much or too little water. Check the soil for further identification of any issue
Potting soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter but still can drain well is the perfect growing medium for all Foxtail Ferns. Most coco coir or peat-based potting soil mixes will be adequate but make sure that they do not contain water-retentive crystals as they can cause the soil to stay moist, causing root rot. If you are feeling adventurous, try creating your own potting soil!
Foxtail Ferns prefer to be warm and enjoy temperatures over 60°F. You can take your plant outside during the warmer months, but ensure to bring it back before the temperature falls. Any temperature fluctuations can be regulated with a thermostat. Make sure the temperature does not fall below 55°F as Asparagus densiflorus will not tolerate cold temperatures.
As a tropical plant, Asparagus densiflorus grows well under humid conditions. If you live in a dry area, it doesn't mean you can't appreciate the magnificent beauty of a Foxtail Fern, but you'll need to invest in a humidifier. Another suitable method is to set it on a pebble tray filled with water. Learn how to increase the humidity for your indoor plants!
Fertilize using a diluted complete liquid fertilizer every other week during the growing season. Alternatively, top dress the soil with a 1" layer of organic compost or sprinkle in slow-release fertilizer. Scratch the compost/slow-release fertilizer into the uppermost layer of the soil, and then water thoroughly!
Foxtail Ferns are medium-slow growers and will reach a mature height of 3-4'.
Pet Friend or Foe
Foxtail Fern is toxic to pets! Foe
- Most potting soils come with nutrients sufficient for plant growth. Your plant will have grown large enough to require a larger container by the time it has used the nutrients in its soil. Re-pot your Foxtail Fern once it doubles in size or once a year to replenish its nutrients.
- Asparagus densiflorus will need pruning from time to time either because the shape is very irregular or dead parts need to be removed. Trimming live growth is best done in the winter or early spring, but you can cut off any dead sections at any time of year.
- Although Foxtail Ferns rarely are bothered by pests, we recommend spraying your indoor plants with neem oil to help prevent any possible pest problems!