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Publication #FPS-52

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' Myers Asparagus Fern1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

'Myers' Asparagus Fern is a spreading perennial herb that has a fine texture with a stiff, upright habit (Fig. 1). The habitis quite unlike that of the more common 'Sprengerii' Fern. This plant grows fairly rapidly and may attain a height of about 2 feet. The true leaves of this fern are scale-like and inconspicuous. The structures that most consider to be the leaves of this plant are actually narrow, light green, leaf-like branchlets called cladophylls. The stems of the Asparagus Fern emerge directly from the ground and are stiffly erect and have very short branches. These stems are a bit woody and are often armed with sharp spines. The flowers are white or pale pink and occur in axillary racemes that are 1/4 inch long; they are not showy. The bright red berries of this herb, however, are quite showy.

General Information

Figure 1. 

'Myers' Asparagus Fern


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Scientific name: Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'
Pronunciation: ass-SPAR-uh-gus den-sif-FLOR-us
Common name(s): 'Myers' Asparagus Fern
Family: Liliaceae
Plant type: herbaceous; perennial
USDA hardiness zones: 9B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: mass planting; container or above-ground planter; groundcover; border; cascading down a wall; suitable for growing indoors; accent
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


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Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Description

Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: fast
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: linear
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: white
Flower characteristic: flowers periodically throughout the year

Fruit

Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: fleshy
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristic: attracts birds

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun; plantgrows in the shade
Soil tolerances: occasionally wet; slightly alkaline; clay; sand;acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: good
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

The Asparagus Fern may be used as a specimen, border,ground cover, bedding plant, or container plant. It will not cascade over a wall like the 'Sprengeri' cultivar because the habit is upright, but could be used as a small, low-growing unclipped hedge or border. It will make a nice accent plant in a small residential landscape or rock garden. In a sunny location indoors it maintains a fairly nice plant for several years.

Grow this plant in full sun or partial shade, and plant it in well-drained soil. Keep it irrigated regularly, especially in a container.

Asparagus Fern may be propagated by seeds and by division of the tubers.

Pests and Diseases

Other than mites, none of major concern.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS-52, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1999. Revised May 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Universityof Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.