It only takes two steps to learn how to divide asparagus fern, and you should be ready to propagate this perennial herb. Much like a shamrock plant, asparagus fern is one of those plants that even newbie UK gardeners can easily divide. With this in mind, who wouldn’t want an attractive perennial that is also not that common?
Asparagus fern isn’t precisely a fern, but instead, it comes from the family of tulips and daylilies. It will thrive well indoors as a houseplant or in polytunnels and ornamental, but be wary that some UK counties consider it an invasive species outdoors. Nonetheless, it bears attractive and feathery foliage for creating eye-catching mounds with flowers and showy berries.
How To Divide Asparagus Fern For Beginners
Unlike some perennials, you can’t use cuttings for rooting asparagus fern. Instead, the most common and recommended way of propagating asparagus fern is by division. You can also use seeds or their berries, but you can save time, effort, and money by using existing asparagus fern plants and divide them.
Step #1. Preparation and sectioning
Much like dividing other plants, it’s always ideal for preparing the new container for the divisions. You also want to get your parent plant ready by watering the day before division to the point that the medium’s top 2 inches are saturated. This way, it will have a healthier root system that could survive stress easily.
When to divide asparagus fern?
When is the best time to divide asparagus fern? Do it in spring so that it is still actively growing. Slide the asparagus fern from its pot, and if you’re struggling, gently shake the container without damaging the roots and losing much of the soil in the root ball.
How to cut asparagus fern for division?
Cut multiple sections on the root ball using a sharp and sterilised knife using rubbing alcohol, and drying it. With division, it’s crucial to sanitise all your tools to prevent bacterial or fungal infection. Make sure that each division has plenty of roots, stems, and leaves for growth later on.
If a section doesn’t have sufficient foliage, it will struggle to photosynthesise and grow. A helpful tip to have equal foliage on each portion is tying each group as you cut through the root ball. You can also tease the tangled roots by finger.
Step #2. Planting and maintenance
Where to plant asparagus fern divisions?
Once you have your sections, their new and individual pots should be ready beforehand to prevent them from drying. What medium is best for asparagus fern divisions? A simple potting mix composed of loam, perlite, and coir should work well with your sections.
When planting, ensure that their crowns are well-flushed with the medium to help with establishment and support. And if you have divided other plants before, you’re probably aware of the importance of watering them to aid establishment. You can also place them in the polytunnel to protect them from direct sunlight, as their ideal amount is only 50% shade to prevent stress.
How to water asparagus fern divisions?
How to maintain asparagus fern divisions? After the initial deep watering, you must keep the medium moist for the first weeks. Be careful not to saturate the soil, and you can let it dry out for a day between waterings when the asparagus ferns have established themselves.
As mentioned earlier, you can use polytunnels your location for the divisions because the conditions indoors do not fluctuate. Harsh climates outdoors can stress the young plants, so it’s advantageous to start in the greenhouse. Afterwards, you can gently acclimate your divisions (e.g., from 50% shade to 25% shade) before transplanting or repotting.
Caring For Asparagus Fern
Asparagus fern plants are hardy and resistant to drought, and you can appreciate how they don’t require a lot of attention to maintain. However, it’s still better to bring them indoors if the cold season in your UK region gets very harsh. They may also need repotting after two years and trimming every spring to maintain their health and bushy appearance.
The ideal location for asparagus fern is warm, around 70°F, with humid conditions and speckled shade in a loose and well-draining medium. It must never receive direct sunlight, which is why it’s an ideal houseplant or polytunnel ornamental. For other maintenance practices, keep it hydrated by misting daily and feed them weekly during summer.
Lastly, pests and diseases are not common problems with asparagus fern, but this doesn’t mean that you should overlook proper practices like consistent checking and cleaning. In general, treat the asparagus fern with care and love as you would with less hardy plants.
Asparagus fern may not be edible, nor a fern, but it’s a unique plant to get for your house, greenhouse, or UK garden. If you’re curious about how to divide asparagus fern, you’ll be pleased that it’s as simple as sectioning a mature plant and planting it in a pot of loam, perlite, and coir. Put the young plants out of direct sunlight and regularly mist as they establish themselves.
Asparagus fern plants are also hardy and generally resistant to common plant problems, so there’s no need for particular practices to maintain them.