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PlantFiles: Asparagus Fern, Plumosa Fern
Asparagus setaceus

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Asparagus (a-SPARE-uh-gus) (Info)
Species: setaceus (se-TAY-see-us) (Info)

Synonym:Asparagus plumosus
Synonym:Asparagopsis setacea

One vendor has this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 27 photos.
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14 positives
5 neutrals
6 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive oldplantlover On Aug 25, 2013, oldplantlover from Victoria, TX wrote:

I have had this plant in my flowerbed for the 41 years I have lived in my house. It is a beautiful plant and in times when I have not been able to tend to it, still grows and does well. It is in a bed that is on the south side of my house and gets full sun most of the day. I do agree that it has some thorns on the stems, but gloves help with the pruning. Have never tried to expand on the plant as it is huge now. You do have to watch that it does not choke out other plants that are too close. It almost did in my rose bush. I love this plant. It appears to love the Texas weather. Has been through freezes of 19 degrees in some years with little damage.

Positive Bellsp On Jan 23, 2013, Bellsp from Warrington, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

My grandmother gave me this in Alabama and I've grown it for all these years, here in North Florida it hasn't been invasive for me. I wish it would spread:). I love the light airy foliage, gorgeous. It does have thorns which is the only naughty thing about it. It gives the garden a woodland look, thumbs up for me!

Positive jmc1987 On Aug 27, 2011, jmc1987 from Cascade, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

It may be a horrible idea for growing outdoors, but this plant makes for an awesome house plant if you don't have any pets. I have yet to see any thorns on my plant like others have mentioned however, or at least not any that i can feel. I do enjoy its feathery appearance every time i walk into the room.

Negative johnthelandlord On Oct 19, 2010, johnthelandlord from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I have to echo the negative sentiment from the other posters. Invasive is an understatement.

I am in Los Angeles and I have to tell you that once this plant gets established outdoors you are in big trouble. It is simply not possible to kill, period. It spreads from one area to another. You cant pull it out, because the stem breaks before the root can be pulled. It totally entangles in my fruit trees, and constantly searches for a way up. Once up in the tree its a huge amount of work to remove. Thorny and nasty, but you will have to use your bare hands since its too thin to pull with gloves. Since I cant get it out of the ground I constantly have to cut the searching shoots.

Then, to make matters worse some areas will die and become a dusty brown mess (but dont worry, the thorns will be there waiting) which looks very ugly.


Positive smurfwv On Jul 17, 2010, smurfwv from Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

Very nice fern, though its not related to asparagus ferns. Fills out a fence or lattuce nicely. Nice dark green foliage will enhance any home or garden area quickly, and its great for flower arrangements. You will love this one to add to your fern collection. I have not found it to be invasive, though the thorns are annoying, but its still a very loveable plant.

I highly recommend this plant to all gardeners/collectors.

Positive 35811 On Sep 3, 2009, 35811 from Huntsville, AL wrote:

This is another of my 'tag alongs' that moved with me from Jupiter, Florida to Huntsville, Alabama.

I did not expect this plant to survive but placed it in the ground on the NW side of my house, protected from the harsh wind. Mulched heavily and let it be. Autumn saw it die back to the ground. This past Winter we had a low of 9 degrees and several light snowfalls .

It emerged this Spring and is doing seemingly as well as it did in FL...perhaps better because now it has the advantage of a prepped planting bed instead of silty soil.
Has not taken over, but where I have it situated, it could be allowed to travel between others and not be offensive...we'll see what it does next year.

Neutral DanKistner On Jul 15, 2009, DanKistner from Winter Haven, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This stuff was growing Along a chain link fence and some oak trees in my back yard when I moved in. Looks Pretty so it doesn't bother me.

Negative garuda418 On Jul 2, 2009, garuda418 from Torrance, CA wrote:

I hate this plant. It is so invasive. As soon as I cut it off at ground level, new shoots are coming up somewhere else. It has taken over and has grown into the trees. I cut off the growths, and all the vines that were wrapped in the trees died. But I cannot even begin to try to get them out of the tree because all the tiny dead ferns fall all over me and they are itchy and abrasive. If anyone knows how to kill it, I would appreciate the info.

Negative rogue_psyche On Apr 23, 2009, rogue_psyche from Lomita, CA wrote:

I live in Southern California and have found this plant to be extremely invasive. I've been trying to rid myself of it for several years and it still pops up without fail.

Not only is this plant very ugly, poisonous to cats and dogs, and has stinging thorns, but it WILL strangle and kill anything you put near it if left to its own devices. It is very hard to remove due to the way it wraps itself around shrubs, fencing, anything within the entire radius of your yard.

Please do not put this plant in the ground, or even outside. It spreads through both roots and seeds. I've seen it around and it has obviously been unwanted but unbeatable elsewhere.

Positive jostoich On Jul 4, 2007, jostoich from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is growing in a mostly shady location on the north side of a wooden fence in my backyard. It survives year round and is a lovely background to a birdbath. If it gets too unruly, I chop it back and it rebounds. It has sharp thorns, so you have to wear good gloves when working with it. It is pretty in boquets. I've read it is toxic to cats, but I believe it is ok for birds. My cousin used to let her cockatiel forage on it in S. Calif. where it also grew well outdoors.

Positive Sivelu On Mar 8, 2007, Sivelu from Kent, WA wrote:

I love ferns. They are so delicate and soft looking, however, I would have to agree with the downside of the thorns. I just bought one today and absolutely love it. It fits great in my room.

Positive azannleigh On Oct 5, 2006, azannleigh from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

My Plumosa Fern, which I have had for 10 years, did not survive this summer in Arizona, Zone 10.

This unique plant is one of my favorites. It's very interesting and mystical looking. I have always gown them outside in containers. My most recent was at least 10' tall wrapped around a invisible trelis, (fishing line) which was attached to an upstairs balcony.

Until today, I never new the name of my plant. Thank you to Onalee for all her help in obtaining the name.

Neutral vossner On Jun 17, 2006, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

mine is planted inground, full shade. Has been a moderate grower. I love to snip pieces of it and stick it in my flower arrangements. Hope I don't have to come back in the future and change its rating to negative due to invasiveness.

5/21/08 This fern was becoming kind of a tangled mess, but last year's excessive rains killed it so it never became a problem. Being that it is thorny, it could be a painful task to keep under ck. If I see another one, I will get it but grow it in a pot. However, I won't go out of my way looking for this fern.

Positive Pashta On Jun 16, 2006, Pashta from Moncks Corner, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have been thinking for years that this is a maidenhair fern, and I am so glad to be corrected! The other asparagus ferns I have do not look like this one. This one has come back from some serious trauma, with some loving care, and a self watering pot. It really started to come back after I put it outside. It seems to like fresh air, bright but indirect light, and lots of water!

Positive isom On Mar 22, 2006, isom from Mission BC
Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love the light ferny look to this asparagus but the thorns ARE nasty. I've stabbed myself frequently. But then most plants have a few drawbacks & it doesn't stop me from using them in the appropriate places. Since I'm borderline zone 7b & 8a, I'm going to try planting one of these outside this summer & see how it does by next spring. I'd like it growing up an old shed to provide a background for other plants in front. If it works, good. If it doesn't, I'll still have one indoors.

Positive joshz8a On Feb 18, 2006, joshz8a from z8a, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Hardy here in Zone 8a (right on the edge of Zone 7), although top dies to ground and new stems late to emerge in spring. Climbs 10-12 feet on porch railing on north side of house. Might do better with some sun. No flowers (nor berries of course) even though probably 8-10 years old. Even after frost turns fronds creamy-tan they hold shape well since they are located under eaves of house.

A favorite plant inside or out and useful foliage for cut flower arrangements. josh z8a

Positive sheltiefan On Nov 15, 2005, sheltiefan from Ambridge, PA wrote:

Ok, I had one of these when I was in high school and loved it. I recently found one 20 years later. Yes it took that long for me to find another! I didn't know what it was called back then. The one I have now is again producing these long tentacles with thorns. I do not know what they are called or what I should do with them!
The one I had 20 years ago did the same thing and wrapped it around my grandmothers passion flower. She cut it and trimmed it, but killed it by doing so. I really like this plant as an indoor green. So any advise on the long things would be helpful :)

Positive JuJu55 On Apr 26, 2005, JuJu55 from Jasper Co., MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

It grew in 43 yrs that same spot to keep cool and shade. Also it help all the leaves around edge to fern which it compost to grow healthy....

Neutral Jamespayne On May 16, 2004, Jamespayne from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Fern grows wild in central Florida. It has always sprouted up around our central Florida home for over 50 years. I have never heard it called an Asparagus Fern before. I have an Asparagus Fern and it does not look like this invasive fern, I have had to contend with every year in my yard. A neighbor grows this fern and sells it to local florists for their floral arrangements. She has a large area in her yard where she grows the fern under a shaded arbor. This fern is also attractive when planted in a hanging basket, believe it, or not! The fern is hard to remove, it has very deep roots, and I believe it grows from a tuber bulb that is deep in the ground. One year this fern came up through the wooden floor in my bedroom! This plant is very hardy and can be very attractive in floral arrangements.

Negative MotherNature4 On May 16, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

It IS INVASIVE in frost free areas. If you must grow it, keep it in a container and remove fruit when it appears.

Negative patischell On May 16, 2004, patischell from Fort Pierce, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

In Miami, FL. this plant came up from my neighbors seeds. It was so beautiful I encouraged it to grow up across my front screened in porch. Little did I know it was going under the roof of my house until I had to have a new roof! By this time it had spread into my hedges where it grew and grew for years. The only positive result of all this is that people giving parties, wedding receptions, club meetings, etc., always knew where to come for massive amounts of fern for decoration. Learn to live with it, it's never going away.

Neutral angelam On May 15, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

I used to grow this in England as a much loved house plant. Here in zone 10 I'm much more ambivalent. It self seeds readily and makes a fine background plant, but I find the downward hooks on the stems more vicious for their size than most plants and I've got the scars to prove it.

Positive Magnolia3308 On Nov 11, 2002, Magnolia3308 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Great House Plant. Needs to be repotted within 6-8 months. Likes shade and doesn't mind artificial light. Poisonous to Cats.

Negative Ulrich On Oct 25, 2002, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Invasive and difficult to eradicate in frost-free regions.

Neutral Dinu On Feb 14, 2002, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Suitable for growing on trellises. The flattish looking leaves are very attractive. The background must be of light colour so as to enhance the beauty of the leaves. The little dark berry-like fruits form on the underside of the leaves after almost inconspicuous flowering. The stem has thorns.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Cottondale, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Fontana, California
Fresno, California
Los Angeles, California (3 reports)
Pico Rivera, California
Sacramento, California
Stockton, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Lake Mary, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Columbus, Georgia
Powder Springs, Georgia
Sylvania, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Barbourville, Kentucky
Saint Louis, Missouri
Henderson, Nevada
Brevard, North Carolina
Edenton, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Mooresville, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Mark Center, Ohio
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Abilene, Texas
Houston, Texas (4 reports)
Mcallen, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Victoria, Texas
Cascade, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Kent, Washington
Cabin Creek, West Virginia
Kenova, West Virginia

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