Ming & Foxtail Ferns

birdsnbloomsNovember 3, 2012

Although Ming and Foxtail are not true ferns, fronds appear to be.

My question. Does anyone know how cold/lowest temps these two plants will live w/o freezing?

Both are in square, plastic pots, fronds vivid green and starting to berry.

If they were over-wintered outdoors, 'temps can/might get as low as 0F,' will stems die back but return next spring?

I can bring both inside, but they've grown a lot..Thanks.

Ming Fern


Both are still outdoors. Thanks, Toni

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The minimum temperature is 50 degrees. I have a foxtail I keep bringing inside due to the cold weather.

I don't know about if they die back to the ground if they'll come back... hopefully someone that knows the answer to that will respond.

If you want to leave them outside, I'd suggest covering them during freezing weather (my Mother-in-law has a few and she has been covering them with a tarp or blankets when it got down to freezing temperatures... although, it normally doesn't get below 30 where we are, I don't know if this would apply to you in zone 5). I'm just more of playing it on the safe side lol.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:23PM
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They are beautiful Toni:-)


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 6:52PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Toni, asparagus ferns are quite cold tolerent, putting up with a light frost with ease. But you will certainly have to bring your plant inside before it gets much colder than that, especially in a container.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:04AM
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Morning All,

Planto. Thanks. Do you know if they can be divided? I think Ming can, but not sure about Foxtail.
Foxtails looks like it's started from one, main trunk/stem, but I can be wrong.

Does your MIL cover the entire plant or just the roots?

Both have been outside..temps have dropped to 30F several times already this year. To come in a warm house..so many fronds drop, you know?

Mike, thank you...

Mike, thank you... lol

Rhizo, thanks. Do you know if either/or can be divided? I don't want to lose either.
If they can be divided, part can come indoors, the remainder will be kept outside, with plastic covering soil. What do you think?


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:23AM
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I believe the foxtail fern can be divided just like the other asparagus ferns, they all have those "onion bulb" looking roots (that's my term for them hehe). Just how easy that task will be, I couldn't tell you though.

My MIL covers the entire plant. I understand, I think that might be why my MIL keeps hers outdoors covered up. I haven't experienced any frond dropping with bringing mine indoors, but it's only been indoors for a day or two at the most so far... I might have to cover mine if it stays near freezing as I'm sure mine will turn into a stick too.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Thanks..Tomorrow I'll try repotting both. OR, make more space in the back room and bring both inside.

When they're outdoors for prolonged cold periods, then brought in a warm, dry house, fronds yellow, brown then drop. The good news is they return by spring.
Back room is fairly cool, and if given enough water, 'which means a lot of water,' less fronds fall, flowers and berries grow.

I'm assuming your MIT's plants die back?? No light if covered..or does she use clear plastic?

I thought they'd be okay in z8...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Her plants actually don't die back, surprisingly. I'm not sure why, but she does certain things with plants that if I or anyone else I know would try, they'd die. She's brought back plants from a brown stick, overwaters, gives too little light, and her plants look better than mine. I don't get it! We don't really have to cover our ferns that often, it's just when it gets down to freezing (which was only maybe a handful of weeks these last couple of winters). It does snow here, just not very often.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:43PM
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One of my neighbors gave me an asparagus fern, and it was dropping fronds EVERYWHERE, it was annoying. When last spring finally arrived with warmer weather, I took it outside and cut off ALOT of those huge thick roots and gave it fresh soil and just waited. It grew back in bigger and more healthy looking and even got flowers and berries (the last owner had it for many years and said it never flowered for her)...but now it's getting way too cold and I too am scared to bring it in...I really dont want to clean up fronds 10 times a day, but yet I dont want it to die....and it's kinda too big to fit anywhere with good light, I was thinking of cutting off all the long stems.

So I'm having the same problem as you...


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:06AM
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Planto.. I don't know your MIL's age, but it's ironic how, well, let's say, 'grandma's, etc,' grow plants without fussing, yet they're greens do wonderful.

Have you noticed?

My grandmother grew an AV in a ceramic pot, w/o drainage, several feet from an obstructed, curtained window, yet AV lived for years, and bloomed, too..
She watered whenever, and never fertilized.

My friend's mother grew various plants, including CC/TC in butter containers w/o drainage. They did fantastic, flowered during the holidays.
Some of her plants, especially CC/TC were kept in a cold, unheated porch, that faced north.

Your MIL has a gift..maybe one day she'll pass her secret to you... :)

When you say ferns, do you mean Ming/Foxtail or true ferns?
Hardy ferns here in IL die back, but pop up in spring..They prefer cooler temps but once temps dip in the 30's, stems and fronds die back.

Planto, I'm not sure where you're located, only that you live in z8. Sorry, bad memory.. :)

FPT..do you have a cool room? When Ming/Foxtail are brought inside, they're placed in a back room which happens to be cool/cold, especially nightime.
If enough water is given, very few fronds fall.
Windows face south and east but light is low. They're set under/near a 6' flourescent light. No full sun, heck, hardly any.

Problem is, now that they've been out in the cold so long, frond drop is inevitable. I should KNOW better, but they were and are still healthy and green.
Once they come in though.................

My friend, the same friend who's mother grew CC/TC in butter containers, had a huge, 6' plus, Asparagus Fern hanging before a south window..Her AF was amazing..
Alongside the window was a huge radiator...steam radiators are so much better than vents or space heaters. The air doesn't dry as much.
Wish our house was heated with radiators instead of vents. What type of heating source do you have?

You can cut back fronds, or place a piece of paper beneath, until your Af adapts???

Do you plan on placing your AF in a hanging basket?

Wonder if your neighbor is sorry he/she gave your his/her AF..lol. Especially since you got it to flower and berry..

Are berries green or red?

So, what will you do? Bring inside? Cut stems?

BTW...don't know if you can see the saucers, but they're much larger than containers. When fronds drop, most, 'not all,' land in the saucers which is preferable to the carpet.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:41AM
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I could only hope she passes on her odd green thumb to me (yes she is in her 60s btw). Sorry, when I said fern, I was indeed referring to asparagus ferns (foxtail/ming). Regular boston ferns die completely once it freezes here. Not sure why if they come back for you seeing how cold it gets where you are hehe.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:54PM
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