Plumosa Fern is a beginner-friendly house plant that you can grow without any stress. With its delightful feathery foliage, it can be included in any home or garden space.
The plumosa fern scientific name is asparagus setaceus and in this article, we give a rundown of its care and propagation techniques.
Read this detailed care guide where we, share some lesser-known secrets on growing a healthy and thriving fern plant in all seasons,
- What Is Plumosa Fern?
- Plumosa Fern Care
What Is Plumosa Fern?
Plumosa fern is one of the easiest plants to grow. It is low in maintenance and due to its delightful rich and feathery green foliage, it is a favorite among many gardeners. The airy and light leaves spread out making grabbing eyeballs as they almost make all spaces look green.
Plumosa Fern Care
Plumosa Fern, also known as asparagus fern or asparagus plumosus, is an attractive plant with bushy foliage. Let us look at each of these aspects in more detail in the below section. We share tips and tricks to help you get the best out of your plant. So go ahead, read on and grow the healthiest and most robust plumosa fern in your garden.
– Water Requirements
Asparagus fern is a heavy feeder and requires consistently moist soil in comparison to several other easy-to-grow plants. The plant consumes a lot of water and the frequency is almost daily, especially if you are in a hot or dry climate zone.
The plant has a higher transpiration rate and so loses water faster through its feathery textured leaves. This is the reason why you need to ensure the soil is kept moist at all times.
Water the plant until the top two inches of the soil are moist. Remember the soil needs to be slightly moist and not soggy. You could check the top soil by inserting a finger before you water the plant. Alter frequency of watering as per the climate and temperature conditions.
Never let the soil go bone dry as this could lead to a stress condition in the plant. A neglected plant will react by shedding a part of its bushy foliage and turning stems brown. Thus keep the plant well hydrated at all times and avoid letting the soil go dry completely.
– Light Requirements
Plumosa fern light needs to be moderate for about four to six hours every day. The exposure to light needs to be bright yet indirect as the plant detests harsh rays of the sun.
Plumosa may even survive in low light conditions, but they seldom tolerate heavy sunlight. The leaves can scorch and turn yellow under overexposure.
If you are growing your plant outdoors, protect it from direct sunlight by grouping it with other larger plants that can form a natural canopy over it. It is best grown next to tree trunks or in hanging baskets in semi-open patios or balconies. You could also place a garden sheet over it or create a greenhouse effect to provide it with diffused light.
– Soil Requirements
As mentioned in the section above, asparagus plumosa ferns prefer consistently moist soil at all times. The soil cannot be bone dry and at the same time, it must not be soggy with excess retention of water.
Thus, to tackle both the requirements of the plant, the ideal soil needs to be loose, well-draining and aerated. The pH of the soil needs to be slightly acidic at 6.0 to 7.0, with a high composition of organic matter in it.
The right soil mix should include perlite which will provide the soil with good drainage. Throw in some peat moss and humus to boost aeration and make the soil loose. Loose soil will also aid the roots to spread out easily in the soil, helping it absorb nutrients and oxygen better.
– Temperature Requirements
The plant requires moderate temperatures to thrive and sustain its bushy foliage. The optimum range needs to be between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a tropical plant the warmth needs to be constant for the plant, thus any fluctuations or sudden drastic temperature changes are going to put the plant under a stress condition.
Asparagus plumosa are relatively hardy plants and sustain as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, however chilly winds, frost and cold drafts do not favor it.
You will have to move them indoors in winter and grow them under artificial grow lights. The plant also struggles to thrive when temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The growth may be slow or stunted and the feathery foliage withers. Take steps to protect it from overexposure to heat by moving it under the shade or in semi-closed spaces such as patios.
– Humidity Requirements
Asparagus plumosa ferns require high levels of humidity of 70 percent in the environment. If grown in dry air you will notice the edge of the leaves turning brown. Thus, mist the plant frequently to provide the plant with some moisture.
Additionally, you could create a humid greenhouse or group with similar plants to bring in some collective humidity. Nonetheless, if you are growing your plant indoors and the humidity levels are low, using a humidifier around the plant or a pebble tray with water below the pot or container will kick in enough moisture.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Asparagus plumosa are not heavy feeders and require less frequent fertilizer use. Provide the plant with a diluted liquid formula once every three or four weeks. This will boost growth and result in rich and lush green foliage.
Avoid over-fertilizing the plant as this may result in an excess build-up of salts in the soil as well as scorching and browning of leaves. Additionally water the plant just before adding in fertilizers to reduce the chances of a root tip burn.
– Pruning Requirements
The foliage is different from the other variants in the same plant species such as foxtail ferns, asparagus densiflorus or sprengeri fern. This plumosa fern plant has a vigorous growth rate and if not pruned can easily grow wild, invading into spaces of other plants.
Prune regularly to keep it in shape and size and also to boost growth. What you have to do in this case is to snip away all dead and decayed sections with a sterile garden pruner. The reason for this is that if you don’t do so, the new sprouts that will sprout out will have difficulties shooting out because of the dead leaves.
Plumosa fern can be propagated using plant division and seeds. The process is very simple and with just basic gardening skills you will be able to develop new offsets for the plant. In this section, we discuss in detail the tips and techniques of the entire process.
– Right Season To Propagate
Propagate the plant in the warm months of spring and summer. These are the growing months and with the sun shining through the day, the plant can develop healthier and the roots establish themselves faster.
Winter months with chilly winds, cold drafts, and frost conditions seldom favor growth thus propagation can take a long time to occur. So get those tools out just before the warm months and propagate healthy plants and thriving offsets.
– Tools Required
Before you begin your process of propagation, keep the following tools ready. You will need a sharp garden pruner, make sure that you sterilize it with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol to prevent the spread of bacterial or fungal infections.
Additionally make sure that you will also have a well-draining and light potting mix, a pot or container next to you because these are essential.
– Propagation Method
You can propagate the plant easily through plant division and seeds, though the process of division is faster in comparison to using seeds and the success rate is higher as well. Read the below section for a step-by-step round-up of both methods.
– Through Seeds
Start by picking up ripe berries of the plant. What you have to do is empty the seeds and dry them before germinating them. Use a germinating mix to sow the seeds for two weeks and you should see tiny sprouts emerging after that.
Alternatively, you can also directly sow the berries into the potting mix and let them germinate on their own. It may be months before you notice tiny sprouts emerging from the soil.
– Through Plant Division
When it comes to the propagation process of this plant, begin with separating an entire section or clump of the tuber from the roots right up to the stem.
After which, you must plant this separately in fresh potting soil and provide it with its ideal care requirements. Don’t worry, just in a few weeks, this section will begin to grow independently, you can place it in soil, and it will start blooming and growing.
Plumosa ferns are sturdy and robust plants with minimal problems, though a few basic issues may be encountered once in a way. Here are the most common ones and hassle-free solutions to tackle them.
The plant is not easily susceptible to pests but you may find it occasionally attracting houseplant pests such as mealy bugs, spider mites and scales. Regularly examine the foliage, especially where the foliage is thick. Look for cottony white substances left behind by mealy bugs or web-like textures.
Isolate the plant in case of infestation and treat it by spraying a jet of water. Additionally, spray a diluted solution of soapy liquid or an organic neem oil formula. Neem oil repels pets and is also effective in preventing future infestations.
Asparagus ferns are toxic plants and can cause reactions if accidentally consumed. If ingested, the symptoms are vomiting, dermatitis, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Thus keep the plant away from pets and children.
– Root Rot
This is a condition that results in fungal growth in the tuberous sections of the root. It is caused when the soil is made to sit in too much water due to overwatering. Much as the plant loves moisture, it will not survive in soggy soil. This stress condition results in yellowing of leaves, slow or stunted growth, discoloration of stalks, and wilting of foliage.
Thus, water the soil only when the top few inches are partially dry and ensure you retain it slightly moist. If you suspect fungal rot, scale back on the water immediately. Gently remove the plant from the soil and inspect for any blackened sections. Gently snip the infected sections and repot the plant in fresh well-draining potting soil.
– Yellowing Foliage
Is your foliage turning yellow? Common reasons for this are either over-exposure of the plant or even under-exposure to light. The plant needs bright yet partial light and direct exposure to the sun is going to make its foliage turn yellow.
At the same time, dingy and dark corners are not going to help it in any way. Thus place your plant in shade or a partially lit spot and you should soon see its foliage turn green and healthy.
Another common reason for yellow foliage is an improper watering schedule. Too much or too little water, both hamper its health causing a stress condition. Keep the soil consistently moist, well-draining and aerated and the plant will get back to health. The best way to grow houseplants happy and healthy is to provide moderate levels of warmth, light and humidity
– Dropping Leaves
A plant with dull and limp foliage is a clear indication of a stress condition. When the ideal requirements are not met the plant fails to cope and the outcome is a weak plant.
One such outcome is dropping leaves due to inconsistency in the watering schedule. The condition of leaves dropping can be an annoyance as dried needle-like stems litter the ground or floor.
The foliage begins to thin out and the lush green beauty is reduced to a large extent. As mentioned in the earlier sections, water the plant to keep it slightly moist at all times. Never overwater as well as under-water the plant.
Alter the frequency of watering as per the climatic conditions, with hotter days requiring more water and cold winter days requiring scaling back. A badly shedding plant can also recover with a light misting if the plumosa fern soil has been allowed to go bone dry.
– Browning of Leaves Due to Root Bound Plant
Your plant may be turning brown if the roots in the pot are root bound. Asparagus ferns possess dense roots and spread in the soil to absorb water, oxygen, and nutrients.
If the pot is smaller than the roots present they tend to turn the foliage brown as the roots are unable to absorb the required nutrition and oxygen properly. Additionally, you may also notice roots sticking out and blocking the drainage holes of the container or pot.
This may also result in water retention in the soil, putting the plant at risk of developing fungal root rot. As soon as you spot roots sticking out or water draining out slowly, it is time you move the plant out to a larger pot.
Gently tap the base of the pot, loosen the soil around the roots and transplant it to a pot one size bigger. Transplantation is also the time to inspect for any blackened root sections due to fungus.
– Browning of Leaves Due To Dry Air
Your ferns may also develop brown foliage if it is being grown in dry air. Mist the plant frequently or place a pebble tray below the plant to tackle the issue. If you are growing the plant indoors, move it away from the air-conditioner and heater vents which tend to kick in more dryness.
In this detailed guide, you have read how easily the Plumosa Fern can be grown. Here is a quick roundup of our learning from the article:
- Plumosa Fern is one of the easiest plants to grow and with its characteristic bushy look, it is a favorite among many gardeners.
- The plant is robust requiring minimal care. It thrives in a warm environment with well-draining soil and high humidity.
- Fertilize the plant once every four weeks, especially during the growing phase, and prune regularly to keep it in shape.
- Successfully propagate the asparagus fern using plant division or seeds.
- The most common problems are related to incorrect light, conditions, irregular watering schedules, pests, and bacteria. You can easily tackle these problems by following the ideal care regime.
You now know that growing this plant is the easiest thing to do as it will not take much of your time. So what are you waiting for, just get them to your space, and let them spread their charm around with their greenery?
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