Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Foxtail Fern
Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii'

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Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Asparagus (a-SPARE-uh-gus) (Info)
Species: densiflorus (den-see-FLOR-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Meyersii
Additional cultivar information: (aka Meyers)

Synonym:Asparagus meyeri

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

34 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Annuals
Groundcovers
Perennials

Height:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Spacing:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
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:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
White/Near White
Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Foliage:
Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 27 photos.
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Profile:

17 positives
12 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive lastonestanding On Oct 27, 2013, lastonestanding from Central Coast
Australia wrote:

Love this plant we bought a small plant and put it into our garden in the Central Coast of NSW Australia. It is is east facing in front of a brick wall and is in full sun most of the day. A few weeks ago cleared out a lot of weeds etc and found that there was all these very small bulbs running through the garden which eventually came back to the Foxtail. The shape is interesting looks gentle in the wind and has character.after clearing out the weeds from around it within the next few weeks it has multiplied it self and has increased in size by half again.we do have beautiful weather up here on the Central Coast about an hour out of Sydney

Neutral etherealsunshin On Oct 23, 2013, etherealsunshin from Wyanet, IL wrote:

My experience with the Foxtail Fern (Meyersii) is very positive, but mine is a houseplant that lives on the patio in our zone 5 summers. The modified "leaves" will brown and shed if underwatered, but it has seemed tolerant of under- and overwatering in a container with drainage, perhaps because of the pseudobulbs that will retain water through drier periods.

I wanted to post that there seem to be some comments here about the Asparagus Fern ('sprengeri'), which I also have in some mixed containers...the Asparagus Fern has a more prostrate habit, thorns, green ripening to red berries, an aggressive spreading root system, and branches its stems. My Foxtail Fern has never flowered or produced berries, but may be too young; perhaps the Foxtail will produce thorns, but I searched mine last night and found none on a 2-year old plant; the Foxtail's roots are well-behaved and not invasive; and the habit is more upright, unbranched, soft fluffy "fronds" tapering to a point (like foxes' tails).

I've been researching hardiness, as I'd like to divide my plant and gift one to a friend who recently bought a home in zone 8b...Foxtail Ferns are root hardy to zone 8 (and will show some winter burn in temps below 20F), but are evergreen in zones 9-10. The plant will slowly grow into a mass up to 2-3 tall and gently cascade to a mound (width will be 2 times the height) surrounding the central base...read some of the comments about gigantic established plants in tropical zones!

I should visit the local nursery that has a large potted Foxtail Fern (almost 3' in diameter) and investigate for thorns, but I'm fairly sure that this is a thornless variety of asparagus-related "ferns".

I bought mine mislabeled in a 3" pot an assorted tropicals tray (probably Exotic Angels) for under $3 and it has been repotted twice in the last two years. It sheds a few "needles" when overwintered in the dry indoors, but quickly recovers in the spring. I find it does like a bit of sun and new growth is fuller on the East side of the pot, so I rotate it about monthly. I just love the texture and dramatic shape (I'm thinking of naming mine "Sideshow Bob"), and it has been easy to care for. It may just win a spot in the mini greenhouse indoors this winter :)

Positive Southernbell421 On May 28, 2013, Southernbell421 from Ocala, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have just planted one of these Foxtail ferns. I liked how different they looked at the nursery and I needed something to put in the shade. I hope it takes off where I planted it, if so I will most likely go and buy a few more.

Neutral BoopsieTN On May 1, 2013, BoopsieTN from McMinnville, TN wrote:

A friend gave me dried seed pods from her fox tail fern, can anyone give me any info. on growing this plant from seeds.

Positive dgford411 On Mar 10, 2013, dgford411 from Sydney
Australia wrote:

My rating is highly positive.

Here in my northern suburb of Sydney, Australia, we rarely get frost but can have temperatures of well over 40C in summer. Our plant is about 25 yrs old, growing in a bed with an easterly aspect that gets eaves' shade from about noon. It is easily contained in its 1 x 1.5m patch.

I never water it (even in prolonged dry periods) or fertilise it . The only attention it gets is to have the occasional dead stems removed. So you could say that it thrives on neglect.

Being close to our front entrance, it frequently is the subject of highly favourable comment. Its bright green colour, beautiful strokeable soft texture and long "furry" spikes don't really need the occasional display of small white flowers and fewer red seeds.

The easiest plant in the garden to grow but the toughest to divide. Even with a mattock I can't manage it --- so it just stays. Non-invasive, aesthetically satisfying, not needing much attention, eye-catching for visitors, taking on all weathers --- what more could a gardener wish for ?

Neutral can2grow On Nov 17, 2012, can2grow from Valparaiso, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It should be noted that some reclassification has taken place with the asparagus genera. Asparagus densiflorus is the foxtail fern. It does not have rhizomes like the more invasive Asparagus aethiopicus. Asparagus aethiopicus is an invasive plant in Florida and other areas, but I can find no substantiation that Asparagus densiflorus (foxtail fern) is invasive.
The two names are frequently confused. Asparagus densiflorus is frequently applied to include both species (misapplied in the case of A. aethiopicus).

Neutral phil49 On Jun 16, 2012, phil49 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I have a Meyersii that is growing very well...in fact, I have to repot it. I have a wide pot, but the roots need to be cut. Rather than cut it vertically in half, I want to make a horizontal cut of the roots to allow it to fit into its new pot. Will this damage the plant? Do I need to add some kind of root additive to protect it? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Phil

Positive Bloomfly22 On Dec 28, 2011, Bloomfly22 from Palmdale, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant. I have had no trouble working with or around it. My plant has grown huge!! So I divided it and got 3 healthy plants. It isn't weedy and a fast spreader like the asparagus fern in which it is commonly mistaken. I like to take some of the stems to add to small arrangements or by themselves for a focal point. Great for filling in around leggy plants and bulbs like summer-blooming bulb lilies and crape myrtles. Overall, a great plant.

Neutral tinkerbelle122 On Apr 23, 2011, tinkerbelle122 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

Planted this in our xeriscaped desert western facing front yard last year, after reading some reports that this might be invasive- We promptly moved it to a large planter. Frankly, I was kind of hoping it would totally take over and fill in the whole planter. I'm not sure exactly what it is, I think it's too much direct full VEGAS devil sun but our plants started turning yellow and then brown. They died back further this last winter but after some pruning (which was hard to do- or rather, it was hard to decide which stems to cut back as some were completely dead on one half, and then totally healthy on the other; Really weird) they seem to be thriving. I'm thinking this is only temporary as our highs have only been in the 80's so far this year. As soon as the scorching summer returns I think the leaves will start to burn and wilt again. I'm thinking of transplanting them to the backyard to see if they do better with some afternoon shade.

Neutral dapperp On Mar 5, 2011, dapperp from Plano
United States wrote:

I was wondering if the fox tail fern turn brittle and brown when over wintering in Texas? Should I chop it back in hopes of new growth?

Neutral eatingganesh On Feb 16, 2011, eatingganesh from Casselberry, FL wrote:

@ alanjones10

that wasn't a foxtail you had, that was an asparagus fern. They look identical, but the asparagus has thorns, rhizomes, and has invasive properties - it's quite a devil here in Florida.

The foxtail will spread some, but it does not set out rhizome runners like the asparagus fern. The asparagus will take over a whole yard in a couple of years, while the foxtail sits meekly in its place establishing a bushier and bigger footprint.

Positive atomicmom On Sep 16, 2010, atomicmom from Augusta, GA wrote:

I purchased my foxtail (Vern) two years ago here in Augusta, GA. My grandmother had one that grew to an expansive five feet in width and two feet in drape when I was a child. Hers lived in a huge homemade hanging basket. Lacking the green thumb my gran had, I expected little success with the beast, yet it thrived for two years in its original pot, getting partial to full sun daily, and water when I remembered (which was unfortunately seldom). Recently my family moved, and a gardening neighbor informed me Vern was 'rootbound,' and that I should repot him or plant him in our new yard. Well, I chose to repot in a wide and somewhat shallow azalea pot about three weeks ago. Already Vern is spreading out a bit, and I am seeing his green berries for the first time ever! I can't wait to see them turn red. I can only imagine his beauty increasing. Next year, I plan to fill our front in-ground planter with Verns! I find the fern a delight, and obviously a good, hearty starter plant for anyone wanting to flex their green thumb muscles.

Neutral northfront On Mar 26, 2010, northfront from Valrico, FL wrote:

I had Foxtail Fern Meyers growing in a pot, then planted in the ground, here in Valrico, Florida (East Tampa Bay area) for many years. I never had to protect it from frost even though it was on the north side of the house. (moist full Summer sun, Dry full shade Winter). They seem to be fairly drought tolerant during the dry winter months, and can take the almost daily summer rain without difficulty. This winter 2009-2010 was the coldest in history, one night getting to 24.4F on my thermometer, still the plants only lost approx. 30 to 40% of the fronds, the rest remained a bright green without any damage. My Foxtails seem to be a clumping type plant, and don't seem to be fast growers. I do have to remove the old fronds from time to time to keep it fresh looking. My fronds don't seem to get as big as the ones I've seen in San Francisco, but I am still happy with the effect.

Negative alanjones10 On Jan 8, 2010, alanjones10 from Mission Viejo, CA wrote:

The "foxtail" Asparagus Myersil Fern (not really a fern) is beautiful and grows easily in southern California. No insects, no diseases, etc. BUT it spreads its roots far and wide, it is like a weed. I started to remove one of them and after the best part of a day of digging I got the main plant out and many roots but there are still more for another day. I have 3 more of these things! I recommend them for in a pot, but not in your ground. It reminds me of when my grandmother put a little bamboo in one of your garden areas, it spread to fil that garden bed, when under the little brick wall, spread into the lawn. Grandfather spent months digging it out and spraying it. Finally, they gave up and cemented that whole area.

Negative GrowsDirt On Apr 7, 2009, GrowsDirt from Murrieta, CA wrote:

I have a whole row of this plant in front of my home. Seems to grow well here in Southern California. The plant's look is a matter of preference, as I tend to think it's shape is fairly ugly but I do like the texture of the plant. I would probably put up with it being in my yard if it were not for the fact that the red berries it produces are toxic to humans and I have kids that like to put things into their mouths.

Positive robcorreia On Mar 4, 2009, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a gorgeous plant!
I have two potted ones, bought at the same time. I purposely left one in part sun and the other in full sun to see where they would be happiest. I must say that after several months, the one in full sun is TRIPLE the size of the other. So....full sun=fast growth!
I will be planting both in the ground this season, of course in full sun.

Positive mramell48 On Jul 4, 2008, mramell48 from Irving, TX wrote:

All these years I thought this was the Asparagus Fern...so sue me.. My mother told me that so what can I say? This one is about 3 years old and has always been in the pot it's in since I bought it. I water mine daily in summer here (Irving, TX) because of the drought, but it's a light watering only because there is no space at the top of the pot for water to sit which is fine by me. The soil I have it in is a sandy, but compact type, real cheap bagged stuff, but as you can see it is doing just fine. I give it a light shot of Miracle grow once in every third or seventeenth blue moon or so. It really is a plant you can stick in a pot and almost forget about unless you're up north where it takes constant care. I am from Ohio and it never grew to well there. Here it has never had a big needle loss that I remember. It goes in the greenhouse in winter and here in TX that means a small heater because it's a 12X8 GH with a 12 ft peak, polycarbonate walls and aluminum framing..(cheap deal from Harbor Freight, but works wonderfully none the less..) Kept just above freezing at night it does quite well in winter as long as it gets plenty of sun in the daylight hours.

Thank You

Neutral mjjones On Mar 22, 2008, mjjones from Ball, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

My foxtail ferns are very slow growers, but are planted close to my brick wall. Theses ferns have lived through 2 winters with NO care. They die down in the winter and sprout again in the spring. I will move them from the full sun to a filtered sun location to see if they will be a bit more vigorous (I've done my research now, oops!). They do not grow as well as the regular asparagus ferns planted nearby. I garden in zone 8b.

Positive imkulaga On Mar 16, 2008, imkulaga from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

This fern grows GREAT here in Jacksonville, FL (8b). Keep it in part shade and out of the blazing summer sun and it thrives. Looks great at the base of trees or to soften up walkways. Check out this plant at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!

Positive CHudnall On Oct 6, 2007, CHudnall from Sebring, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Originally puchased this plant over 10 years ago, when living in Sarasota. Had it in a pedestal planter in center of yard, with other ferns and aroids surrounding it. It was gorgeous! Had to divide it as it had quit growing, then it took off again. I still have original plant here in Central Florida and it is past time to divide it again. I have been very neglectful, but it keeps trying despite me. :-) You definitely get a workout dividing it... my arms are sore for days after.

Positive Cretaceous On Mar 28, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Readily available in nurseries locally. This plant has thrived here in zone 9b.

Neutral fabooj On Feb 20, 2007, fabooj from Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I like the shape of the plant, but it is a very slow grower. I first bought mine in July '06 and put it in a pot with some other plant. 7 months later and it's sent up 4 new spears, with a 4 month spread between the last two spears. I haven't seen any berries on mine and I'm okay with that.

Positive mininissandog On Feb 6, 2007, mininissandog from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I absolutely love this plant, it's in a bed that's semi-sheltered by the eave of the house. The most beautiful texture and structure.

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

I'm neutral about this plant for the time being but may be happier if it picks up speed in growing. I'm used to other asparagus ferns that grow quickly, sending up new spears frequently. This one seems to be very slow. It's growing okay so I'll see how it does in the future. It would be nice if it grew more & I could plant it outside. I'll divide in spring & put one out to see if it makes it through the winter.

Positive CastIronPlant22 On Dec 11, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is simply breah taking in groupings. My friend has a walk way, that has a little side of dirt, like 3 feet wide by 13 feet long and all she has planted there are these! They look soo amazing cascading over onto the walk way. They always look good! Planted alone, they arent as pretty, well to me.

Positive cjm13 On Oct 24, 2005, cjm13 from Horseshoe Bay, TX wrote:

Planted outside in landscape around a raised waterfall early spring '05. It's thriving! It's in full sun most of the day and didn't seem to falter at all during the string of 100 degree days. It grew quickly and all 3 plants had berries. I'm still trying to find info about overwintering. One of the coolest plants in my landscape.

Positive SudieGoodman On May 30, 2005, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Sam Rayburn Lake, Zone 8b

I have great success with growing Foxtail Fern in large pot (12" diameter)
I've had mine about four years yet it has never produced berries. Perhaps it is a male Foxtail?
If you have information regarding sex of Foxtail, please let me know. How old must plant be to produce red berries?
Many thanks

Positive vossner On Feb 11, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I really like this plant and it has performed wonderfully as a patio plant. Don't now if it is as vigorous as asparagus sprengeri, but since it is in a pot, not an issue. I collected seeds this year after red berries dried up, have not sown as of this writing. It is planted in mostly sun and watered when soil feels dry; every other day in July-Aug.

Positive foxtail On Jun 20, 2004, foxtail from Bella Vista, AR wrote:

I started with a small 8" foxtail fern about 6 years ago. I live near the Arkansas/Missouri border, zone 5, so this plant can't survive the winters. The first winter I took it indoors and put it by the large window in our living room. It lost almost all of it's needles and I was sure it was dead, but put it out in the Spring (bringing it in if there was frost warnings) anyway giving it a good drink of Miracle Gro from time to time and it did come back to life quite well.

That September I cut the root cluster in half and repotted both halves in new potting soil. I would water them about twice a week with about every 4rd watering being a Miracle Gro watering. When first frost threatened I began taking them to the covered porch and then putting them back out during the day. That winter I put them in a back room that was cooler. They still lost a lot of needles but did better then the single plant did the winter before.

They again did well after being put back out for the spring, summer and fall. The third winter I decided to try putting them in the unheated garage under a shop light which we left on 24/7 for the dogs. That's exactly what they wanted. Through the winter I watered them occassionally (every two or three weeks) and they appreciated the cool weather, the light and the occasional watering enough to bloom on me. They lost needles, but nothing like before and still looked great to put back out in the spring.

Today, 6 years after purchase, they really add curb appeal to our house, sitting on pedistals on either side of our garage. They measure about 2.5 feet tall and the same in diameter. I have transplanted them into larger pots twice after cutting the initial plant into two sections.

They are in nice size pots now so I only need to water them about once every week or two, depending on the weather. I water till water comes out the bottom and I still continue to make every 4th watering a Miracle Grow watering. I have gotten the most favorable comments on this plant then on any other I've grown. It's a favorite with everyone who comes to visit, and since moving it into the Garage in winter and back out in summer, transplanting into a larger pot every couple years, and watering it from time to time, is all the maintaince it requires, it's a pretty easy plant to take care of.

Positive fleurette On Jun 17, 2004, fleurette from quebec
Canada wrote:

I keep this one in my house since 2 years.

Neutral angelap On May 28, 2004, angelap from Weatherford, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Treated as an annual here 7B/8 zone. I use it in hanging baskets and it is lovely, but never overwinters.

Regional...

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

, (2 reports)
Wetumpka, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Calistoga, California
Canoga Park, California
Cerritos, California
Clayton, California
El Cerrito, California
Fullerton, California
Homeland, California
Irvine, California
Laguna Beach, California
Lakewood, California
Lompoc, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Mission Viejo, California
Murrieta, California
Palm Springs, California
San Jose, California
Vacaville, California
Vincent, California
Apopka, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida (2 reports)
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Casselberry, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Havana, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Lake City, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Pensacola, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida (2 reports)
Saint James City, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Valparaiso, Florida
Valrico, Florida (2 reports)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ball, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Broussard, Louisiana
Gonzales, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Flowood, Mississippi
Las Vegas, Nevada (2 reports)
Southold, New York
Saxapahaw, North Carolina
Newark, Ohio
North Augusta, South Carolina
Swansea, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Mc Minnville, Tennessee
Sparta, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Brazoria, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas (5 reports)
Huffman, Texas
Irving, Texas
Marble Falls, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Plano, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Portland, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Stephenville, Texas
Victoria, Texas (2 reports)
Weatherford, Texas
Woodway, Texas
South Hill, Washington (2 reports)



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