Asparagus setaceus or Asparagus Fern, a native of South Africa, is not really a fern at all. Even though they are fern-like in appearance, the needle-like leaves are actually short branches called cladodes. The true leaves are inconspicuous dry scales.
Blooming Time: Summer: The flowers are whitish and very inconspicuous and are followed by clusters of black berries.
Culture: Asparagus setaceus need full sun to partial shade. The color of the plant seems to be best under 25% shade. The plant tends to yellow if grown in dense shade. A suitable soil mix consists of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. Even though they have very fleshy roots and can withstand a fair amount of drought, they grow better if kept on the moist side during the growing season. Fertilize in the spring with a balanced fertilizer and trim out old growth to make way for new lush growth. Repotting should be done in spring before new growth begins.
Propagation: Asparagus setaceus are propagated by division and by seed. Seeds usually germinate in 21-30 days at 60-70° F (16-21°C).
Asparagus setaceus was featured as Plant of the Week November 30-December 6, 2001.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.