Growing Foxtail Fern (Emerald Fern): Asparagus Densiflorus Care Guide

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

Their unique foxtail-like appearances have made them very popular indoor and outdoor plants, and their presence can be a fascinating addition to the garden.

Related post: 23 Types Of Ferns To Grow Indoors or Outdoors

Asparagus densiflorus Fern Plant

Almost all the Asparagus ferns have a similar appearance, which has made them quite confusing to distinguish. A. Densiflorus ferns are generally of two types – 

Asparagus Densiflorus Sprengeri

 foxtail fern care guide

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 guide

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.

Foxtail Fern Plants – An Asparagus Fern

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.

Note that foxtail aspargus ferns are poisonous for humans and pets.

General Information of Foxtail ferns

  • Scientific name: Asparagus densiflorus
  • Common name: Foxtail fern
  • Sun exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil moisture: Moist soil
  • Soil types: Well draining soil
  • pH: Slightly acidic soil

Foxtail Fern Care

Light Requirements

This attractive, fast-growing plant grows 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.

Soil Type

 foxtail fern being hung together

Well-draining soil is required to ensure even growth of Foxtail ferns because this condition can prevent root rot.

Also, a slightly acidic pH is better for facilitating growth.

If you are looking for potting material that is pre-mixed and contains organic amendments, you should consider this organic potting soil. We have had many of our friends use this in your gardens and say it’s one of the best soils they have used.

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Water Requirements

Moisture content plays an important role in maintaining the growth of Foxtail ferns.

During the growing season, let the top layer of the soil dry before you water deeply.

The plant is drought tolerant due to the presence of tuberous roots, but it cannot tolerate standing water.

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

High humidity and hot temperatures are a must to grow this plant.

If you grow them indoors use a spray bottle to mist them or use wet pebbles to maintain a high humidity level.

Growing them can be more challenging in cold temperatures as they cannot handle colder climates.

Fertilizer Requirements

 foxtail fern sitting in a pot

Unlike other plants, this Foxtail plant is not a heavy feeder. Therefore, you do not have to worry about fertilization.

You can fertilize the mature plants while watering by using local water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. The best time for fertilization is during the spring.


The potted specimen must be repotted once every few years, especially when the roots become too dense.

You will understand it when you notice that the tuberous taproots are visible. Repotting will ensure the new growth of the species.


This plant propagates via producing spores. You can also propagate it manually by dividing the same species.

Use a sharp knife to cut its attached root ball carefully.

The divided section should contain healthy leaves and roots. Plant it in an ideal place, and new plants will gradually grow.


Is Foxtail fern toxic?

Every part of this plant, including flowers, berries, and leaves, is poisonous to humans and pets. It can also cause skin irritation.

Is asparagus Fern (Foxtail Fern) edible?

It is better to avoid eating them because edible asparagus ferns (foxtail ferns) are rare and most contain toxins.

Do Foxtail ferns grow under the full sun?

No. Foxtail ferns cannot tolerate direct sunlight and grow best in shady areas.
Foxtail fern does not require too much maintenance.

You need to plant them in containers and water the soil regularly to ensure proper growth.

Also, the humidity level is essential as low humidity is responsible for browning leaves.

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