Scientific name: Asparagus Plumoses
Synonyms: Common Asparagus Fern, Asparagus Grass, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus, Ferny Asparagus
This delicate looking houseplant is often referred to as a fern, however, is not a true fern at all, rather it is a climbing plant and a distant relative to the Asparagus, however, this is not a good plant to go chomp down on and gets its name from its delicate fronds that resemble a fern.
Endemic to our sunny part of the world, South Africa and is often found growing near the coast in dappled shade, especially in woodlands, owing to its tolerant hardy nature.
Toxicity: These plants are known to cause stomach discomfort if consumed.
- Crisp foliage or leaf drop: This is an indication of underwatering, especially if the leaves are looking pale and lackluster or are shedding. Check the soil, and if it is extremely dry, adjust your watering needs to a more frequent rotation. Lace ferns in general can tolerate short bouts of dryness but should be kept consistently evenly moist. If your soil is moist but crisp foliage still appears, up the humidity as your air may be a little too dry. This can be achieved by placing your plant on a pebble tray.
- Pale leaves: If you have ruled out underwatering and your soil is moist but your plant’s foliage is still pale, then consider the lighting conditions. A healthy happy Lace fern should have grass green foliage. A pale appearance can be an indication that your plant is receiving too much light, even though some sun is beneficial to this plant, it needs to be soft early morning or late afternoon, and midday direct sun should be avoided. Asparagus ferns thrive in bright filtered light best.
- Yellowing leaves: There are a few factors that can cause yellowing foliage on your houseplant, often overwatering is cited as being the main culprit. However, if you find that leaves turn yellow infrequently, this is not a cause for concern as this is the natural lifecycle of most plants, though if yellowing happens on mass consider your watering regime. Lace Ferns do not like their soil staying soggy and prefer their soil to dry out 25% of the way before being watered again. If you discover your watering regime is fine, it may be that your plants may be under fertilised, feed with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer regularly, and you should see an improvement.
- Sparse leggy growth: This is an indication that the lighting is too low for your Lace Fern causing Etiolation (stretching for light), causing stretched stems with large spacing between each leaf node and possibly small yellowing foliage. If your plant is looking leggy, we advise relocation to a brighter light position.
- Pests: The Lace Fern is not often susceptible to pests but if care is not taken to keep your plant in its optimal conditions stress can occur. This will lead to pest infestations causing excessive yellowing fronds and leaf drop. Mealybug, scale and spider mites are common indoor plant pests and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.
- Origin: South and East Africa
- Height: Averaging 2m in height
- Light: Thrives in medium to bright filtered light.
- Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, avoid prolonged periods of drying out.
- Humidity: Average to high humidity.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
- Soil: A well-draining, slightly moisture retentive organic potting mix is sufficient.
- Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once a month during Spring through Summer.
- Repotting: These are fast-growing specimens and whilst young may need regular yearly maintenance. Repot once growth has slowed or your plant has become rootbound. Choose a planter no larger than 5cm wider than the previous, and plant into a well-draining, aerated mix, consisting of milled bark or perlite for extra drainage.
- Propagation: This is usually done by dividing up large clumps of plants by separating out a few stems and re-potting into smaller pots during the growing season of Spring. Use a sufficient well-draining mix, and place in a warm bright light position, keep the soil moist and once new growth has formed your plant has established.
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