While the asparagus fern makes for a beautiful textural addition to your plant collection thanks to its elegant arching stems and feathery leaves, newbie gardeners often go wrong with these classic mistakes. Avoid them and this relatively fuss-free plant will do wonders to lighten up your living spaces.
Top 7 asparagus fern mistakes:
Too much or too little light
While the ferns appear light and summery, they cannot withstand intense scorching heat and light. The fine, needle-like leaves will fall off in a process known as shedding.
On the other hand, placing it in low-light areas could cause the leaves to turn an unattractive whitish-yellow (as opposed to its lush green) so make sure to get the balance right. Your best bet is to set it someplace it can catch the soft morning light.
Enthusiastic beginners also tend to overwater the asparagus fern not realizing that its bulbous roots retain water. Too much water can make the soil soggy leading to root rot.
Conversely, too little of it will cause the leaves to brown and dry out. Spray daily with a mist gun and water once in a few days for best results.
Using chlorinated water
Since chlorine is added to municipal water to kill bacteria and microbes, using it to water an asparagus fern is not a good idea. This is because chlorine can kill good bacteria in plant soil and do more harm than good to your plant. An easy solution is to fill a bucket the day before watering.
Using overly potent fertilizers
Another classic beginner mistake is over fertilizing the soil. This not only increases the salt concentration in the soil but also hurts its delicate micro organisms. The NPK balanced fertilizer (nitrogen-potassium-phosphorus) diluted at half strength works well for asparagus ferns.
Assuming pests don’t hide in the fern’s foliage
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking pesky spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs that are often sighted in asparagus fern plants. Insecticidal soap and neem oil used weekly will help to get rid of pests. If this doesn’t work, simply trim the infested foliage until the main stem. The ferns will grow right back.
Keeping the fern in a dry spot
In general, the asparagus fern is content with average indoor humidity. However if kept in dry areas, it will lose more water by evaporation causing it to pull more water from its roots.
A super easy solution is to buy pebbles from an aquarium and set them in a bowl with water. Then place the asparagus fern pot inside this bowl. It will optimize humidity levels as evaporation ensures that the surrounding air stays sufficiently moist.
Furious, non-stop repotting
Gardeners starting out are often taken by surprise at how the asparagus fern takes off. The result: repotting it every few months assuming this is what the plant needs, however unnecessary repotting can stress out plants.
The asparagus fern can be repotted once in 2-3 years. Moreover, they are okay with being pot-bound. In general, they do not require large pots with vast amounts of soil, however it helps to keep in mind that the roots are strong and have been known to break out of plastic pots. Opt for a sturdy pot. If you choose plastic, place it inside a pot made of stone.
Avoid these quintessential newbie mistakes, and if you need help on how to care for an asparagus fern, here’s a super useful link to get you started.