Indoors, the members of this genus are grown for their wonderful, graceful foliage, which consists of finely divided, modified branchlets. They bear a close resemblance to fern fronds, giving rise to the common names, but are generally easier to cultivate than ferns. The flowers are small, often fragrant, and followed by purple, orange, or red berries.
A. densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ is a coarse, fern-like plant, also known as emerald fern, with woody stems that can reach 5 ft. (90 cm) long and be erect or trailing. The feathery, emerald-green foliage is much prized by flower arrangers; it is also useful among a group of other indoor plants to soften the display and add contrast. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, but are sometimes followed by bright red fruits. This species is from South Africa. A. setaceus (syn. A. plumosus) has the common name asparagus fern, but this plant is not a true fern, although its delicate foliage does resemble that of a fern and is often used in bouquets.
The stems are green and wiry and can be up to 4 ½ ft (1.3 m) long. They will naturally climb or scramble as the plant matures. The bright green “leaves” form flattened triangular-shaped sprays. The misty effect of the foliage means this is an ideal plant for softening and filling in an arrangement of indoor plants, particularly where it has room to follow’ its natural growth pattern. The species comes from South and East Africa.
Size: See individual species.
Light: Indirect sunlight.
Temperature: Normal room.
Moisture: Keep thoroughly moist from spring to fall. During the winter, apply only enough water to prevent the soil from drying out.
Feeding: Use standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks from spring until fall.
Propagation: Divide larger plants in spring.
Special needs: Do not place in direct sunlight because this may scorch the foliage