Asparagus Densiflorus: Foxtail Fern (Emerald Fern) Plant Care

Asparagus foxtail ferns are evergreen perennial ferns that are attractive because of their arching plumes, bright light, and beautiful emerald needle-like leaves.

Because of how much they look like foxtails, they are very popular indoor and outdoor plants, and their presence can make a garden more interesting.

What is a Foxtail Fern (Asparagus Fern) Plant?

  • Scientific name: Asparagus densiflorus
  • Common name: Foxtail fern or Asparagus Fern
  • Sun exposure: Partial shade and indirect light
  • Soil moisture: Moist soil
  • Soil types: Well-draining soil
  • pH: Slightly acidic soil

The Foxtail fern plant is not like other ferns that produce spores for reproduction. This patio plant reproduces through tiny white flowers and produces seeds.

The little whitish flowers of these plants produce attractive red berries.

Foxtail plants are drought-resistant and hardy indoor plants, and they are quite easy to maintain.

Almost all Asparagus ferns look the same, which makes them hard to tell apart. 

There are two distinct types of Asparagus Densiflorus ferns:

Asparagus Densiflorus Sprengeri

 foxtail fern care guidePin

Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri type fern has needle-like, soft, and downward curved leaves.

These ferns can grow up to 3 feet tall (1 meter), and due to the leaves’ downward movement; you can plant them in hanging baskets.

This Sprengeri fern is also known as the Emerald fern and botanically as Asparagus aethiopicus.

Asparagus Densiflorus Myers

 foxtail fern care guidePin

Fern Asparagus densiflorus Myers is called Foxtail fern because the shape of this indoor plant is similar to a foxtail.

While the common asparagus ferns belong to the asparagus family, in contrast, the Foxtail is not a true fern and belongs to the lily family.

It has needle-like soft and beautiful leaves that stand upright. Also, they have a tuberous root system. Therefore, it is better not to plant them in a hanging basket.

It is quite frustrating to differentiate these two species as they have a similar appearance and reproductive system.

Both of these tropical plants have impressive floral arrangements and produce beautiful white flowers with catchy red berries.

You have to closely look at the leaves’ arrangement and movement to differentiate these hardy specimens.

The leaves of Meyers usually stand upright, while the leaves of Sprengeri tend to move downward.

Note that foxtail asparagus ferns are poisonous to humans and pets.

Foxtail Fern Plant Care

Foxtail ferns are gorgeous, distinctive plants that are great for any landscaping.

They are pretty low-maintenance plants. For watering, they like damp but not soggy, soil. Also, plant them in an area that gets bright, indirect sunshine; they’ll turn yellow without enough light and too much sun will burn their foliage.

Read on to learn how to care for a foxtail fern from watering, light, and propagation.


Foxtail ferns grow best in indirect light.

However, if your place receives light, then make sure that it receives dappled sunlight (morning sun and afternoon sun).

This plant grows well in soft light, and it is better to keep it away from the full sun.


 foxtail fern being hung togetherPin

Plant your foxtail ferns in soil that drains well so they grow evenly and don’t get root rot.

Also, try to pick potting soil that has a slightly acidic pH as it’s better for its growth.


During the growing season, deeply water your Foxtail ferns when the top layer of the soil is dry. Then let the soil dry before watering again.

Note that asparagus ferns are drought tolerant because they have tuberous roots that can hold a bit of water, but remember that they cannot tolerate oversaturated soil.

Temperature and Humidity

Foxtail ferns love high humidity and hot temperatures and can also thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 9a to 11b.

If you decide to grow them indoors, use a spray bottle to mist them once a week or use a pebble tray to increase the humidity around the plant.

Foxtail ferns are pretty hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but obviously, they go dormant and will not grow at these low temperatures.

Depending on how you winterize your outdoor ferns, they may recover after the cold months as their root balls continue to live on. However, we do recommend bringing them indoors during winter as they cannot withstand frost for too long.


 foxtail fern sitting in a potPin

Foxtail ferns do not depend on fertilizer to thrive. Therefore, you do not have to worry about giving them fertilizer.

However, if you do decide to give them plant food, you can fertilize the mature plants by adding just a half portion of water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.

Further, the best time to fertilize is Spring when it is their growing season.


If you grow foxtail ferns in a pot, they will need to be repotted once every few years—especially when the roots become too dense and start coming out of the container.

Trust us, as you will definitely notice when tuberous roots start coming out.


Foxtail fern plants propagate themselves by producing spores.

However, if you want to, you can also propagate it manually by dividing the plant.

Simply, gently pull the plant out of the soil and use a sharp knife to cut its root ball.

The divided section should contain healthy leaves and roots.

Then, plant it in an area that gets plenty of indirect sunlight and the newly divided plant will gradually grow.


Do asparagus ferns come back every year?

Asparagus Ferns, or Foxtail Ferns, are considered perennial plants and thus do regrow back year after year without having to be replanted.

Is Foxtail fern toxic?

Yes, the foxtail fern plant is toxic to humans and pets. Almost every part of this plant, including flowers, berries, and leaves, are poisonous. Usually, the toxins will cause mild to severe skin irritation.

How big does a foxtail fern get?

Foxtail ferns can grow up to three feet tall and about four feet wide. It is considered an evergreen that has trailing branches and fluffy, upright, bright green needle-like stems that resemble asapargus vegetables or a tail of a fox.

Do Foxtail ferns grow under the full sun?

No, foxtail ferns cannot tolerate direct sunlight and grow best in shady areas. It is best to grow them in an area that has indirect light or even in a shady region of the yard.

Is asparagus Fern (Foxtail Fern) edible?

No, asparagus ferns are not edible. Although they do resemble asparagus vegetables, they are not a vegetable and are not to be eaten. They are in fact toxic to pets and young children.


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