Asparagus Fern help

SarahofLaytonNovember 16, 2012

I've had this asparagus fern for about 6 months now and it's started to grow a new stem, and the new stem just keeps growing. It's about a foot taller than the rest of the plant now. Is this normal? Should I pinch it back? Why on earth is it so tall? It's just starting to shoot off little leaflet type things in lots of different spots on the foot long stem.

Just wondering if maybe it means it's not getting enough light, (stretching?) or something else might be happening.

Thanks in advance for any input.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are a number of plants commonly referred to as 'asparagus fern'. Do you know the genus/species of your plant?

Al

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:52AM
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SarahofLayton

Sadly, no. I'm not that great at identifying plants and this one wasn't tagged when I bought it. It was sold to me as 'small fern' I've got some pictures I'll post here, once I get out of bed. ;)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:05AM
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birdsnblooms

Sarah, a picture would be nice..

Whether you have Asparagus, Ming, or Foxtail, it's normal for one stem to grow longer than the others.

My un-true ferns are summered outdoors during summer, sit in high light, yet one or two stems grow a couple feet,,,,sometimes longer.

A pic would be nice though...Toni

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Sounds like it's making a flower.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:40AM
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plantomaniac08(8)

If I have the same asparagus fern as Sarah is referring to, the flowers form up and down the "fronds" (for a lack of better words). Not my photo by the way, taken from someone's blog, but just wanted to show a picture of how the flowers form.

Planto

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, that's the one I was thinking, Planto, Asparagus densiflorus sprengeri.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:04PM
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SarahofLayton

Woah, my fern does not look like that.

not the best picture

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Well, you know what they say about ASSumptions...

I don't know what your plant is. Definitely looks like a flower stalk though.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:28PM
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SarahofLayton

If I google asparagus fern it looks like the second one, Emerald feather? Plumosos?

Here is a link that might be useful: Google asparagus fern

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:38PM
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birdsnblooms

Sarah, you have S. Plumosa Fern...BTW, it's not a true fern.. Fern is common name because fronds resemble some ferns..

Plumosa and Asparagus need the same care, even though Plumosa looks fragile.

Plumosa is used in bouquets...roses, etc. Toni

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:40PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's indeed A. plumosa. They often shoot out long branches/stems very quickly, which later start to sprout foliage, which is what is shown in the picture. I use this plant regularly in many mixed plantings outdoors, and have grown it indoors in a dish planting along with China Doll. It's a pretty durable plant, as long as you don't over-water/fertilize or let the salt level get too high in the soil.

If you want to shorten the stem, do it now, before the plant spends energy on producing foliage you'll later cut off. Shorten stems by pruning immediately above a new leaf node. It likes a fast draining soil you can water copiously w/o having to worry that you've over-watered, and they respond very well to soluble fertilizers in the 3:1:2 RATIO at low, frequent doses.

The picture shows a planting ready for a hard pruning. Ask, if you want the 'after' picture.

Al

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:58PM
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birdsnblooms

Al, your Plumosis and Radermachere/China Doll look great together.
How often do roots need trimming?

I would like to see the 'after' picture.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:55PM
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SarahofLayton

I trimmed it. I took about 4 inches off the top. I sort of feel bad now.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 4:55PM
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tropicbreezent

The so called "Asparagus Ferns" are vining plants so you'll always get long stems coming up and looking for somewhere to climb. Yours is very healthy and that's why it's putting out a strong stem. They're popular as house plants here, mostly kept in hanging pots for the cascading effect.

The current name is Asparagus setaceus, the name Asparagus plumosus is a synonym.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 4:57PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

I never had much luck with the 'plumosa' asparagus fern for some reason. I wouldn't feel bad though as it will produce more "fronds" (for a lack of better words).

Planto

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:08PM
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eahamel(9a)

Plant, I've had a plumosa growing outside in a pot for several years. Are you taking too much care of it? Mine doesn't get any special care.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:07PM
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birdsnblooms

Planto, sorry, just noticed your Asparagus Fern picture.

It's doing fantastic..so many blooms. Flowers are rich, thick. Looks a lot like double-flowers..

Sarah. Just noticed your LR? pic, too. Surrounded by photos.
Your Plumosis is doing fine. Do you think it has a problem? No brown fronds, so whatever you're doing, continue doing it. :)

Don't worry about trimming..Before you know it, you'll have to repot. AF's are semi-fast growers and produces a good number of roots and new fronds.

Tropic..altering names. It's hard enough for me to remember original names...then to go and change to another 30-syllable word! :)

Eahamel. There's a huge difference growing AF's and PF's outdoors year round opposed to a stuffy, dry, hot house.
Although they'll adapt to cold, prolonged icy temps will freeze roots.

You're lucky you live in a temperate climate. Count your blessings. :)

BTW, how is your Bird of Paradise doing? Toni

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:37PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Eahamel,
My mistake with growing the plumosa was trying to grow it inside. I don't think I was giving it the right conditions. I have a foxtail asparagus fern growing outside and it's doing great. It's one of my favorite plants.

Planto

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The plant in the picture I posted above is in a dish garden with no drain holes in it. I grew it for 4 years in the same container, watering it with distilled water or snowmelt, before I split up the planting and sent the ferns to GW members because I was bored with it. Occasionally an entire branch/stem would die due to natural senescence, and I would remove it, but basically the plant was perfectly healthy sitting on the kitchen table (which we never use). They are quite tolerant of chill and dry air, but don't particularly like wet feet. I fertilized this plant only with fish emulsion because I was unable to flush the soil due to the lack of drain holes, but others I've grown responded perfectly to FP 9-3-6.

You'll note that, after pruning, some of the leaves on the China Doll have dead tips, but keep in mind that these leaves are the oldest leaves on the tree and were extremely shaded by the mass of foliage you can see in the picture upthread. The tree was already harvesting what it could from the leaves in preparation for their being shed. Anyway - the post is more about the A plumosa than the China Doll.

Al

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:26PM
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birdsnblooms

So, no root pruning?
What month will both plants leaf out?

It's understandable about oldest leaves.

If you don't mind me asking, what are the two pots to the right of the dish garden? Upper pot has tape..

Is there one plant/tree in both pots?

Sarah...here's a pic of my Plumosis. I'm thinking of adding Plumosia in a large planter with divided Ming and Rabbit Foot Ferns, but don't know if they'll be chameleon-like or contrast.

Plumosa looks larger in picture..it's not that tall.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 4:51PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

This is a planting that I made during a bonsai workshop. We had a guest artist, and the plants she brought were really limited in variety and unsuited to either bonsai or saikei (planted landscapes). I'm pretty sure she just picked up a bunch of 3-4" pots at a big box store & separated the plants in them. I couldn't 'sit out' the workshop, so I had to plant 'something'. This is what I ended up with, and it never really interested me beyond confirming to myself that I could keep these plants healthy indoors, and that I had already posted one reduction and figured it would be interesting for you guys to see how the plant responded. This is the second major reduction the planting underwent.

No root pruning on these because roots still had room in the tray. The picture was taken in early May, before the hornbeam I was layering the top off of leafed out, so oven though the plant had been putting on growth (overgrowth) the plant was about ready to start growing in earnest. I think the main reason I kept the plant around was because I had previously posted a picture of a reduction very similar to this one. All that foliage you see upthread occurred in the year subsequent to that first reduction. I really had no hopes that the planting would ever really look attractive, but I kept it because I thought I might find it useful here on the forum. I finally got rid of it after I had a few shots fired over my bow on the home front. I cant remember who I sent the ferns to - someone on this forum. I think I just tossed the China Dolls.

This is what the planting above looked like 3 months later:

Al

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:44PM
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plantastic(zone 3 prairies)

I have one hanging in my north-facing window. Occasionally it will produce a huge long shoot like yours that has thorns and climbs up to the ceiling and tangles round the curtain rail. I have no idea what function it serves! Maybe once a year I will tidy up the plant, cut off dead bits and also this long thing. It resurrects itself in time.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:48AM
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