How to Grow Asparagus Ferns

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Asparagus ferns belong to the genus Asparagus, these contain more than 300 types of species, which are native to both Asia, Europe and Africa. The sowing of asparagus ferns is used as cutting foliage and also as a decorative plant. This type of plant is not exactly a common indoor plant, but thanks to its light and feathery foliage, they are usually very attractive and can be planted very successfully indoors as well. Sometimes it grows like a vine and can even become invasive. One of the keys to indoor asparagus fern is to keep the plant dense and bushy, so that its foliage forms an attractive mound.

These are dioecious, semi-busy, climbing, perennial and thorny plants. The underground part, called the crown, is formed by a rhizome and the root system. In the part of the rhizome vegetative buds are produced, which is where the asparagus (the tender shoots of the plant) are formed. The root system has roots.

Asparagus Fern

The part of the stems and leaves, are found in the following way, in the stems are formed the bracts, which become the true leaves, and are the axillary buds where you leave the primary branches, secondary, and so on.

These plants as they are dioecious, there are both female and male flowers. These are flowers formed by 6 individual petals or together at the base of white color.

Asparagus ferns flower

They also produce fruits called berries, these have a spherical shape and its color is red, have a diameter of approximately between 5 and 10 millimeter.

Fruit of asparagus ferns

In order to be able to sow these ferns, it is necessary to comply with a series of conditions.

In the case of temperature care, the most suitable is 15C, although they can form and grow in a temperature range between 5C and 30C. These are more tolerant at low temperatures, as this slows the growth rate of the seedlings. Sowing under plastic has a better yield, but leads to lower vegetation quality.

This type of plants, needs to be cultivated in soils or sites that are well humid for best development, the relative humidity should be in the range of 85 to 90%, as it is the best for planting. In case of a violent decrease in humidity, it will cause colorimetric alterations in the cladodes.

Asparagus ferns can partially tolerate shade, but their ideal formation and development is when the intensity of light is between 35000 and 45000 lux. Do not apply direct sunlight. If lighting is exceeded the intensity of the green color of its foliage will be affected decreasing. In zones, sites, where the climate is soft, it is sowed perfectly under an umbraculum, remembering that it is a site that is used to protect the plants from the sun.These plants need a sandy substrate, which is not compact and if it is rich in organic matter, there must also be good drainage. With regard to pH, for it to be the most optimal, it must be close to being neutral, around 7 pH. If there is an excess of limestone, it will cause chlorosis in the foliage.

Irrigation is very important, since for these plants must be very moderate, are better abundant watering at root level, instead of making short watering and also very continuous, so as to prevent flooding occurs. With respect to the electrical conductivity of the substrate should not be greater than 0.75 dS/m, in another order, the electrical conductivity of irrigation water should not be high, as it is quite harmful to the plant.

The propagation of asparagus ferns should in principle be done by seeds. These seeds present a coriaceous cover, to be able to help in the germination and to facilitate it, the seeds must undergo a process of scarification, that is a process that is based on inserting the seeds in hot water, that are to a temperature around 30C this during 24 hours just before the culture.

The sowing must be carried out commonly in multilobe trays, in which 1 to 3 seeds per lobe must be placed. After this, the trays should be placed at an approximate temperature ranging from 21C to 30C and also at a relatively high humidity. If these conditions are met, and depending on the type of species, germination can happen between 20 and 42 days from the date on which the sowing was made. In the event of an unforeseen event, the intensity of the light should be gradually increased.

After 4 to 7 months after the sowing, the transplant must be carried out. For this 3 plants are put by flowerpot, these flowerpots must have as minimum 12 centimeters of diameter. To be able to protect and favor the budding, the most suitable thing is to cover of earth the neck of the roots.

Asparagus fern transplant

One of the things that must be taken into account is the low viability of the seeds, which is why the storage of these seeds must be reduced. Sometimes, as in the case of A. densiflorus, propagation must take place through cuttings and make them in the spring, leaving a part of the rhizome and some leaves in the cuttings.

In order to shorten the period of entry into production, as is the case with A. myriocladus, a new plantation can be started, thanks to the division of the rhizome of the plant.

Among the most common techniques for cultivation techniques with asparagus ferns we have the following:

-Pruning: only one pruning is needed to carry out a cleaning and thus be able to avoid the possible generations of diseases.

-Pinching: in the sowing of large developments, it is advisable to carry out cuttings, which serve to favour the lateral development of the plants. Another way to do this is to collect the 1 metre high feather duster to obtain two new guides.

-Perched: it is recommended to carry out at least once a year the aporcado of earth on the rhizomes, since in this case the fern of asparagus develops new shoots from the top of these. The aporcado (which consists of the accumulation of soil on the base of the stem of the plant) serves to prevent and avoid the desiccation of the rhizomes and with it an inadequate sprouting emerges.

-Fertilization: asparagus ferns are a very strict plant as far as fertilizing elements are concerned.

It can carry a correct fertilization can be between 150 to 200 ppm (parts per million) in balance 1:0, 2:1. What should be avoided is an excess of nitrogen particularly in the form of ammonia. At the beginning of the vegetative cycle, the extractions of potassium and phosphorus are increased, particularly in the cold seasons those of potassium.

As far as the contribution of micronutrients is concerned, it will not affect the average weight of the stems, however, when iron is applied to them, the number of stems is affected in a positive way.

We remember that any sowing can bring with it plagues and diseases, among which we have.

– Tetranychus urticae: it is a mite, this is also known as a red spider, these appear particularly in dry environments. The signs of this mite is that the leaves will appear yellow dots. Then these dots turn brown and the leaves curl, taking a dusty image. These leaves then dry out and fall off.

When this pest appears, the humidity must be increased so that the pest does not spread.

Tetranychus urticae

– Heliothis sp: in this case the damages are caused by larvae of this type of species, the indications that they are in the plant, are bites in the superior part of the plant. For a good control of this pest when they are at a low level, we recommend the use of traps with sex pheromones.

Heliothis sp

– Myzus sp: this is an aphid that feeds on or feeds on various foods, in particular it feeds on tender tissues, especially the stem, thus forming short internodes. These also produce some indirect damage by secreting a sweetened molasses where the black fungus is established.

In order to control this pest, the best measure to apply is, for example, when the pest is low, you can use Adalia bipunctata and Aphidius colemani who are good predators of this pest.

Myzus sp

– The Trips: when they are present, whitish spots appear on the leaves, and surrounded by black specks that become their excrements. Blue adhesive traps can be placed, which are very good in the sowing in greenhouse. It is not recommended to use chemicals, because the size of the insect is very small.


– Agrotis sp: in this case the plant is affected by the pest in the lower part. These cause damage to the root system as they feed on this system. The best way to fight this pest is with chemical control.

Agrotis sp

– Crioceris sp: this is a pest that feeds on the bark of feather dusters and cladods, you can fight this pest using authorized chemicals.

Crioceris sp

– Ophiomya simplex: this is a pest that feeds on the cortical area of the stems, causing great damage.

Ophiomya simplex

– Parahypopta caestrum: the damage caused by this pest is to the root system when digging galleries. It is recommended to manually eliminate the larvae together with the use of insecticides.

Parahypopta caestrum

The diseases that can occur are the following:

– Botrytis sp: the signs of this are easy to identify in the field by their sporulation characteristics hairy and gray. In asparagus ferns, this fungus mainly damages the base of the stems, which causes the foliage to dry out, and also affects the flowers. This fungus must be controlled due to its ability to survive as a saprophyte. Therefore, excess moisture should be avoided by spacing the plants and ventilating. The tissues that are sick, should be cut flush with the stem and using properly disinfected tools.

-Fusarium sp: in this case the underground part will present signs of rotting, while in the upper part partial or total chlorosis will be observed in the foliage, the shoots will be reduced, the vigour will be reduced and then wither away. To prevent it, it is advisable to disinfect the seed, have an excellent drainage and also avoid mechanical damage to the plant.

-Temphylium vesicarum: this is a fungus, its presence is due to the warm and dry conditions, this generates damages, in principle in the basal part of the duster, creating some black dots, then generates a yellowish colour and at the end it produces desiccation. For the control of this, it is recommended to combine fungicides with preventive measures, such as increasing relative humidity, disinsectization of the substrate, the use of pruning tools, the appearance of disease-free plant material, etc.

– Xanthomonas campestris: when this bacterium appears, necrotic spots will be generated in the foliage. It is very important with this bacterium to carry out the preventive measures in a correct way, this because the chemical control will not be able to fight it. Among these measures are, maintain a state of health of the mother plant, disinfect all materials such as pots, pruning tools, the same irrigation system, etc.. Also to eliminate the plants that present foliar spots and to elude the handling of the humid foliage.

– Puccinia asparagi: this affects the primary and secondary branches of the feather duster.

– Rhizoctonia viol├ícea: in this case the rhizomes and roots will be affected, generating a violet color in them.

– Corynebacterium sp: when this bacterium appears it will generate a bacterial tumour that will affect the base of the stems. The most efficient way of being able to control this disease is to apply effective preventive measures, such as periodic treatments, disinfect the substrates, etc.

We remember again that when the yellow leaves are placed it is because of the excess of active lime when the water is irrigated. The fact that the leaves dry is due to humidity and low temperature. And the production of wilt in the plant, is produced by having used water of low quality, with high electrical conductivity. Due to the inconveniences that can occur with the sowing of asparagus ferns, the production of them has decreased. That is why we have taken the best steps to carry out an excellent cultivation of this beautiful plant.



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