asparagus fern - need to be repotted?

lauren.gDecember 4, 2006

I have had an asparagus fern since the summer and repotted once from a 4 inch plastic pot to a 6 inch CLAY pot. Lately I have noticed that quite a few of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I am wondering if this is a sign that it may need to be repotted again since I have read that these plants fill up their pots with roots quickly. I have it in a bright and sometimes sunny window....I have also noticed that it dries out super fast, which I am guessing is because of the clay pot....I have been watering it more often than some of my other plants....could this be contributing to the yellow leaf problem?


Is this simply a question of the plant shedding leaves because winter weather is almost/sort of upon us?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Could be both/either! Yes, they do indeed have an aggressive root system. You should have a look at the situation and re-pot, if necessary. Don't forget that water is lost from leaf surfaces, the top of the soil, and from all sides of a clay container. Monitor your plant accordingly.

But these plants can also become real messy in the winter, shedding leaves like crazy. These plants love as much sun as possible in the home.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:44AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

They are not a plant that needs to be kept constantly moist.

Leaf shed is usually more from lack of light than lack of water, their thick fleshy roots help them conserve water.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 3:51PM
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Asparagus a fern...and as such these types do require water....but only as the plant needs it.
Winter is fast approaching, the winter solstace is 3 weeks away...the shortest day of the year and as such houseplants, until the sun begins its long trek back north, will require much less watering....and no fertilizing until about mid to late February/March.

I think your fern is reacting to the low light situation...but that is very common.
I wont say not to re-pot.....but be advised, when you give a plant fresh potting soil, it is encouraged to grow...and since the sun is so low, any new growth will not be of any strength. If the plant can get along through winter, such re-potting could then be done when you wish to encourage the plant to put on new growth.

Asparagus Fern will indeed start to push on the sides of a clay pot...the roots will soon envelop the whole pot.
I had to break my pot last spring in order to remove it.

Water to drainage, then let it dry down a bit between waterings. Use over-nighted water to gain room temperature and dump any excess.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:06PM
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Thanks for all the advice. :o)

I will wait a little longer to see if the yellow leaves stabilize and then consider repotting. Hopefully I can hold off until later on....

Not to nit pick...I am a newbie, but I thought asparagus fern was NOT a fern?!?!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 7:38PM
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Your right, it's not a fern. It's actually a member of the lily family, the name "fern" in the name can be misleading.

Because of their aggressive root system, I re-potted mine every year to every other year, or at least cutting with a hand saw the root-ball in half horizontally (no harm to plant at all) but one year when it was a larger plant, I took a gamble and didn't repot it, or cut the roots back and they actually broke through the front of clay pot, literally cutting it in half, geez, how rude was that?

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:57PM
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LOL. Too funny. Talk about a plant taking on a life of it's on, eh?

Mine is pretty small still, so I don;t think there is any chance of that happening just yet!

= 0 )

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:02AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I haven't grown these in years, but seem to recall leaving it underpotted (in a seemingly too small pot). If I remember correctly, it preferred that.

Also, when I was of college age, I had a friend whose family home had one of these which always flowered & then had berries. They too kept it potted small & it was one very happy & vigorous plant!

If it were mine, I'd skip repotting it, at least until next Spring.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 4:06PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Sounds like the plant from "Little Shop of Horrors". Feed Me!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Yeah, "Little Shop of Horrors" is right! I just wonder how high up in the air I would have jumped when the pot broke when I was standing next to it. Yikes!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:01PM
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Mine cut its pot in half too. I came down one morning to find the hanging ceramic pot completely split with the plant still inside. Then it cracked the larger plastic pot a while later. Nows its in a 10" hanging plastic pot and I root prune and trim it every year or so when I put it out for summer.

I can't give it the light it would like during winter so it does yellow and drop here and there, but not enough to do any damage and always perks up once outside. I've learned to shake it out and snip off the yellow BEFORE vacuuming that vicinity. Sandy

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 9:35PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

Mine do fine in plastic pots, with good drainage, and appreciate rainwater, especially after a dry spell.

They were started from a GW Seed Swap, using 3 year old, seed, with 100% germination by WinterSowing. I'm guessing they would not like a rich soil, or wet feet, but I'm not they are still a new plant for me.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 3:01AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Asparagus fern is absolutely NOT a fern. There are several varieties of ornamental asparagus sold as asparagus fern as houseplants and none of them require evenly moist soil or high humidity and all of them are prone to needle drop with too low of light.

Asparagus sprengeri, which is the most common one grows outdoors in full sun in Arizona, Palm Springs and Las Vegas something no fern would ever do.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 1:34PM
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I've grown mine outside for the past 2 summers. Come fall I cut it to the soil line, chop it up (carefully) and plant a couple of pieces that have the (tuberous looking) roots attached to a top piece that has evidence of an 'eye', and grow that inside over winter. By early spring, it is on it's way to getting too big for the space I can give it, so that piece goes back outside in a much too big pot, and with careful watering in the beginning, I end up with huge plant. I can't imagine keeping the whole plant of which grew outside in the summer, over indoors in the winter - too big!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:15PM
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My Asparagus fern is over thirty years old. Over the years, under the right conditions it develops tiny white flowers that turn to green berries then red berries. I know it is in the Lily family. It is enormous but I am always afraid to repot it. I have only done this 4 times in it's life. I also wonder if I can split it or create more plants from it?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 3:06PM
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jenmae21(z6 PA)

I've been growing mine in one of those wire hanging planters with the moss bottom. I take it down and soak it in the tub/shower once a week. Its been in this same pot for over 6 years and is just now starting to maybe outgrow the container, and only because it dries up so fast, the root ball takes up all of the dirt, to the point where there isn't really much dirt. Still, it has been so happy being pot bound, I hate to disturb it...

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:20PM
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I have some relatively young Asparagus virgatus, but Wikipedia lists five different species (all in the genus Asparagus) that can have the common name "asparagus fern". I don't see anything on google about any actual ferns that go by that name.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 9:13AM
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I have a huge asparagus "fern" on my shaded patio in Southern Arizona. "He" get filtered sun in the early morning for about 3 hours, a spray of water every day, and a drink every few days. He is gorgeous and always lets me know when he's thirsty. Been in the same plastic pot for 3 years and now I need to repot him. As much as I love clay and terra cotta pots, I've learned not to use them for most plants here in this low desert. They dry out too fast. Geraniums for some reason do well in them. One hint I recently learned from my gardening guru, Jerry Baker, is to soak clay pots in water with some dishwashing soap for a couple of days. Put soil and plant in while wet.....soil won't dry out so quickly for the new baby.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2014 at 12:03PM
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