Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Foxtail Fern aka Asparagus Fern ( P. densiflorus cv. Myersii )




This is a plant that did not mind the cold last winter at all. Although it is called a fern it is actually part of the lily family. It produces small white flowers followed by red berries in the summer. The white flowers are often hidden, the birds will steal the berries and disperse the seeds. Ferns reproduce with spores not seeds as this plant does. The stems grow to up to two feet tall, mine has remained under a foot tall.

As they age the clumps get thicker and the individual stalks thicken up so the leaves are more densely packed. That said this is an extremely slow growing plant.

It will grow in sun to part shade, this one is in part shade. This part of the yard is pretty wet but Foxtail Fern will handle with drier conditions.

Watch for thorns. Many of the asparagus family plants have hidden thorns.

They thrive on neglect, except for droughts, this was lost in the summer drought of 2009.

These are native to South Africa.

Propagate by division, but only when the plant gets to be a good size, smaller divisions will not survive.

Things to watch for on foxtail ferns:

Leaf scotch: appears during dry, windy weather. Water frequently and deeply and provide what shade and shelter you can.

Scale: looks like small brown bumps on stems and underside of leaves.  I use orange oil.

Mealy bugs:  Looks like white fuzz on plants. I just wash them off with a garden hose.

Lost in the 3 month drought with 100’F plus temperatures.

Asparagus densiflorus, Plants of Africa