Plumosa Fern Care: How to Grow Lace Fern Plant

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By Bryan Peters

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Plumosa Fern, also known as lace fern, climbing asparagus, asparagus grass, or ferny asparagus, is an ornamental perennial houseplant from the Asparagaceae family and has long, soft leaves that grow live feathery clumps. They are called Plumosa Fern because of their fern-like foliage.

This attractive plant (Asparagus Plumosus) is native to South Africa. The plumose possesses leaves that have thin flat stem branches called Cladophylls, which have the appearance of ferns.

This plant needs proper maintenance and careful handling, especially the leaves, because once it matures, it becomes hard and gets sharp. 

Here’s everything you need to know about plumosa fern care and growing conditions!

Plumosa Fern Care and Growing Tips

Plumosa Fern Care

Natural Habitat

The Plumosa Fern plant thrives best outdoors in hardiness zones nine regions or above, primarily when grown as a perennial. You can also plant it in every other climate or grow them indoors as houseplants.

However, you must ensure you emulate its natural outdoor conditions when you produce it to enable it to give you the best plant you desire.

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It is also famous as an outdoor container plant, where it is often used as a spiller. However, in this regard, when the weather becomes cold or unbearable, you can take it inside to avoid any other disastrous effects on the plant.

Light Requirements

Owing to the light situation it requires, growing Plumosa Fern indoors is an ideal proposition. For the foliage to remain as attractive as ever, only partial shade is essential.

You can also expose the plant to low-intensity direct light; however, you have to be mindful of it to prevent it from exceeding 6 hours. 

In its natural habitat, the Plumosa Fern often grows in a shady rainforest setting. Once you care for it indoors, it can also grow to be the perfect plant you desire, as long as you imitate the conditions of its natural environment.

The plant can be scorched by bright, direct light. 

However, when we put it in shades, it will help filter the excessive light released by the sun. You have the alternative of exposing your Plumosa to sunlight when the foliage starts to turn yellow.

In dappled daylight, the plant will thrive, although it can acclimatize to more light. But, in any case, keep it away from warm, direct sunlight.

Watering Requirements

Even though the Plumosa Fern is not the prominent Fern we all know, it still does best in environments that emulate its natural habitat: the damp, wet jungle or forest floor.

In other words, planting a Plumosa Fern requires you to ensure it’s regularly watered to keep its soil wet and wet.

Note that the dry heating conditions indoors can wreak havoc on this plant’s natural water balance. To prevent its leaves from drooping and changing to yellow colors, mist the arching stems daily.

It’s important to note that this particular plant tends to dry out excessively, even deceiving you into thinking it is dead.

The plant is highly adaptive to most changes; therefore, it is probably not beyond revival with a bit of care. To save a Plumosa Fern, you’ll want to make sure you provide them with the warm, humid air with regular mistings they desire.

If you wish to keep your Plumosa Fern outdoors, you must keep them well-watered to prevent the soil from thoroughly drying out.

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Humidity & Temperature

Temperature-wise, you must always endeavor to keep the air temperature at your Plumosa Fern at its perfect spot: 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dipping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period can either put the plant into a dormant mode or cause permanent damage to its beautiful structure.

The Plumosa fern responds very well to growing in a greenhouse, and you can expect abundant growth in the summer months. 

Humidity-wise, the Asparagus Plumosa Fern thrives on humidity when growing indoors. However, to humidify it, sprinkle a fine mist over the bushy foliage every day. 

Average household humidity is often insufficient for the plant; hence, the additional moisture can help to inspire its speedy, healthy growth and prevents the plant from drying out.

The following are the humidifying care guide to make the Plumosa Fern grow perfectly indoors:

Humidifying water tray: You can keep asparagus ferns humidified using a pebble tray. Put some layer of decorative pebbles in a deep tray. Then pour in sufficient water so it’s halfway up the stones. Place the asparagus fern pot on the rocks, making sure that the pot doesn’t sit in water.

Room humidifier: You can use a humidifier to boost humidity for moisture-loving houseplants like the Plumosa Fern. Keep the humidifier at least 50% humidity for best results.

Grow plants together—Planting your houseplants close by each other can help increase humidity. However, asparagus ferns will probably still require regular misting to ensure adequate air moisture levels.

Plumosa Fern Soil Needs

The Plumosa Fern needs moist soil, and ensure you don’t allow them to dry between watering. You can get the ground ready using organic matter, potting mix with added perlite, and fertilizers. This helps to give your Plumosa the perfect growing environment.

This plant is easy to grow and is stubborn enough to survive most soil types. However, they don’t like soggy soil, and you must ensure you don’t oversaturate the soil with water. The addition of perlite helps remove too much water from the ground. 

You can mix peat moss with helping the soil keep moisture naturally. It would be best to place the potting mix in a pot with enough drainage holes underneath.

It helps to remove too much water from the ground and prevents root rot. Endeavor to maintain the soil pH between 6.5 and 6.8.

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Fertilizer Needs

During the growing season, the Plumosa Fern tend to gain massively from fertilizers. Therefore, you can apply half-strength liquid houseplant fertilizer between the spring and early fall. If you want to promote lush, healthy growth of the plant, endeavor to fertilize them monthly. 

Alternatively, slow-release granular fertilizer is ideal for the plant three times a year during the spring, summer, and fall. Preventing the accumulation of mineral salts in the potting soil is also necessary. Flush the asparagus fern potting mix every two to three months. 

To make this happen, for two minutes, pour water through the soil and allow all the excess moisture to drain out. This method of plant care prevents root burn of fertilizer. As always, you can commence with the fertilizing of the Plumosa Fern plant after flushing the potting soil.

Planting (Potting & Repotting) of Plumosa Fern

The Plumosa Fern often needs to be repotted every spring. Once you discover that its roots have started poking out of the drainage holes, then you know it’s time to repot your Plumosa. You will probably also notice that water doesn’t drain as freely because the plant is getting root-bound. Repotting houseplants equally allows checking roots for damage.

The following are the methods of repotting a Plumosa Fern plant to ensure its perfect growth condition:

  • Carefully remove its root ball from the container.
  • Shake off too much dirt and check the roots of your Plumosa Fern for signs of damage.
  • Trim any roots that appear brown and mushy.
  • Select a pot that is one size larger than the original one.
  • Fill the pot by half with a light potting mix.
  • Put your Plumosa Fern in the container and fill it with more soil.
  • When repotting Plumosa Ferns, you can use the time to divide the roots for propagation.

How to Prune Plumosa Fern

Due to the invasive nature of the Plumosa Fern, it is essential to prune it regularly to keep its growth in check while removing any rotted or unsightly foliage, including infected plants. Regular pruning also helps to encourage shoots and foliage growth. 

Do not fail to get rid of any overgrown stem. Pruning of your plant also helps to give it the proper shape and design you desire. Growing it indoors makes it more important to prune it as often as possible because you wouldn’t want its rough appearance around your premises. 

Pinching off ferns tips encourages dense, bushy growth while you can cut the old and dry stem from the base. It would be best if you also got rid of any dead or yellowish fern stem to preserve the plant’s healthy green appearance. 

How to Propagate Plumosa Fern

Propagation refers to the multiplication of plant collection from cuttings of the parent plant. You can propagate your Plumosa Fern either by dividing its bulb-like roots or by planting its seeds.

When multiplying the plant by root division, ensure that each of the tuber root sections has many shoots. 

After separating the plant into two or more pieces, plant in new pots or partially shaded areas of your garden.

The following steps show you how to propagate the Plumosa Fern with the use of the root division method:

  • First, remove the Plumosa plant from its pot and shake off all the loose soil
  • Pull the tubers apart into 2 or more sections
  • You can also lay the plant on its side and cut through the tuber root using a clean knife
  • Plant the separated tubers of your Plumosa Fern in a suitable pot and water thoroughly

The following steps show you how to propagate the Plumosa Fern with the use of the seeds method:

  • First, collect seeds from the berries of your lace fern plant
  • Soak the Plumosa Fern seeds in some water for some days
  • Get rid of the bad seeds that float to the top
  • Plant the asparagus Plumosa seeds in the soil and cover them with a light layer of soil
  • Ensure you water the plant thoroughly and keep the growing conditions moist and warm
  • Seedlings should grow within 2 or 3 weeks

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Varieties of the Plumosa Fern Houseplant (Asparagus Fern)

  1. ‘Myeri’: features dense foliage on upright stems; it’s also known as foxtail asparagus
  2. ‘Sprengeri’: boasts long stem and a complete, almost fluffy form; it’s also known as an asparagus emerald fern
  3. ‘Sprengeri Compacta’: This plant has the same features as its namesake but is a dwarf variety
  4. ‘Nana’: It has bright green foliage and is another compact variety