The Foxtail Fern — Ultimate Care Guide for Asparagus Fern

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Everything you need to know and more about the Asparagus Fern - Foxtail Fern.

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If an appealing and photogenic plant is what you envision for your tropical indoor garden, then the foxtail fern plant is an awesome indoor plant! Add just the right amount of brightness and fun to your space without overwhelming it. I’m sharing everything you need to know and more about the Asparagus Fern commonly known as the: Foxtail fern.

Foxtails are great indoor plants because they do well with low light and don’t like dry air or drafts so they’re perfect for people who want to grow them inside their home without having to worry about watering too often or worrying about it drying out completely. The leaves of this plant have scalloped edges which resemble fox tails hence the name “foxtail.”

Foxtail ferns (Asparagus densiflorus) are perennial evergreens with green fluffy pine needle-like leaves, giving them a soft and plush appearance! Foxtail ferns are not really ferns, because they multiply from seeds and produce no spores.

Ironically, the asparagus fern plant is not a true fern and is closely related to the asparagus vegetable!  rather, it belongs to the Liliaceae family and is related to lilies. Really? Yep, that’s right, Lilies — which also includes:

  • Tulips
  • Hostas
  • Daylilies
  • Amaryllis
foxtail fern
Foxtail Fern | Etsy Seller

About The Leaves on a Foxtail Fern

The Foxtail Fern is pretty easy to take care of, and unlike its cousin, the asparagus fern, the foxtail fern is a pleasure upon the eyes. The foxtail fern will remain green for the entire year; this is what makes the plant stand out in the winter. However, in the spring months, you will be amazed to see small white flowers that will turn into little red berries that only enhance the plant’s beauty. However, these berries are toxic to people and pets if ingested. You should also fertilize your foxtail once monthly, but if you notice that your leaves are turning a pale yellow color, you should water more frequently.

foxtail fern
Foxtail Fern | Etsy

Fun Facts About the Foxtail Fern Plant

Some key main points of the Foxtail fern plant include:

  • Once matured, they are drought resistant.
  • The foxtail fern can endure up to 50 degrees.
  • It adorns tiny emerald-colored leaves in formation.
  • This plant originates from the South African forests.
  • The foxtail fern is known to grow as tall as three feet.
  • Foxtail fern plants flourish when supplied with proper sunlight.
  • In the spring, foxtail ferns produce red berries and white blooms.
  • The asparagus densiflorus myers plant has strong tuberous roots.
  • Because it grows aggressively, it can survive in plants or a wild garden.
  • Asparagus densiflorus “Myers” is the botanical name of the foxtail fern.
  • The foxtail fern stem possesses one-inch-long needle-shaped leaves.
  • Although related to the Lily family, it’s related to the edible asparagus as well.
  • To keep the leaves and plants vivacious, you need to spray mist on the plant occasionally.
  • You should rotate the pot by a quarter degree once weekly to maintain proper sunlight.

Caring for Foxtail Ferns

Temperature: Growing the foxtail fern is fairly simple, and they can grow in temperatures ranging between 65-75º degrees.

Soil:  You will want to plant your foxtail fern in a top-quality potting mix soil formulated for tropical houseplants.

Fertilizer: The foxtail fern grows quickly and should be provided with a once-monthly, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer during the growing season. It would help if you also resisted overwatering and over-fertilizing your foxtail fern in the winter months because the plants’ growth cycle becomes dormant in cold months. You will know it is time to fertilize becayse the fluffly needle-like leaves turn pale green or yellow. I like to feed my Foxtail Fern in spring with a time-released food or monthly during the growing season with a balanced 10-10-10 plant food at half strength. Keep the soil lightly moist.

Pruning: Because the Asparagus densiflorus is known to be an aggressive and fast-growing houseplant, pruning should be performed regularly to discourage its upward growth pattern while ensuring that its beautiful bushy appearance remains intact. It would help if you also transferred to a larger pot once yearly in the spring.

Lighting:  However, you should still place it in a shaded area. In the winter months, the plant should be fine with direct sunlight; in the warmer summer months, the plant should be given dappled lighting to stave off burning and continue to water your foxtail fern regularly.

Watering: Foxtail Ferns love humidity and moisture, so I like to keep the top two inches of the soil lightly moist. When your plant has reached maturity, it will become more drought resistant and therefore more forgiving if you let it go without water for a few weeks.

Pruning and Propagating is Important for Foxtail Ferns

If you prune your plant regularly, you should keep its growth in check and propagate. Propagating the asparagus densiflorus myers is simple enough; it’s a fast and aggressively growing plant, which is why it needs regular pruning, and you can use the cuttings to create new plants as well. Also, for new cuttings, you want to make sure that there is a minimum of one inch of space between the cutting or rootball and the pot’s rim.

It would help if you also did all of your repotting and pruning in the springtime, as this is the best time to propagate new asparagus foxtail fern plants. When you’re expanding the pot, take a little root ball from the healthy part of your plant to use in your fresh soil, pot sizes need only be two inches larger than the size you’re upgrading from.

How to Water Foxtail Ferns Properly

Keeping your foxtail fern properly watered is crucial to its growth. This particular plant loves humid environments, so allowing it to get dry will most likely cause the plant to wither and stunt growth. The soil needs to be moist. However, it wouldn’t hurt to let the soil slightly dry out between watering.

Do not overwater your plant, as too much watering can result in your plant roots becoming rotten, also called root rot, which can kill your plant. During the winter months, you should be sure that the soil does not completely dry out, as you will not need to water your foxtail fern as much in the winter. Keep in mind that if your soil gets too dry, your plant leaves will start to shed, and you should always water your plant with room temperature water to avoid root shock.

Humidity is Preferred for Foxtail Ferns

All you really need for the foxtail fern to grow is plant it in an environment with a 40% to 50% humidity level. If you live in a dry environment, your plant should be on top of wet pebbles; this helps to promote proper moisture balance.

If your home uses circulated air, it’s key to mist the fronds and water the plant regularly. In parched winters, put a cool-mist humidifier in the room with your foxtail fern plant to protect your plant from drying out and should not be in the path of your air/heat vents.

Conclusion

If an appealing tropical-style plant is something you need to add to your indoor garden, the foxtail fern is a great option. It’s easy to propagate and care for, so it’s perfect for home gardeners. To learn more about plant and pet care and stay up to date on our tips, advice, houseplants, and more, join my email list here.

Although Asparagus fern has many great qualities, it is thought of as an invasive plant species in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida. Therefore, it does come with a few important precautions as well. When planted outside, asparagus ferns can spread very quickly when it’s humid and warm out. This plant is toxic for children and pets, so keep that in mind.

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