Asparagus densiflorus (Asparagus Fern)

My mother, at 81, standing behind my cousin’s Asparagus densiflorus on 8-29-13, #180-2. Even though mom was pretty short, this is STILL the biggest Asparagus Fern I have ever seen. Mom passed away on November 30, 2015, so I am very glad I took her photo standing behind Mike and Lois Miller’s plant at the Miller Seed Company in Clinton, Missouri. Mike and Lois have since retired.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus densiflorus

a-SPARE-uh-gus den-see-FLOR-us

Synonyms of Asparagus densiflorus (7) (Updated on 11-15-22 from Plants of the World Online): Asparagopsis densiflora Kunth (1850), Asparagus myriocladus Baker (1889), Asparagus sarmentosus var. comatus Baker (1875), Asparagus sarmentosus var. densiflorus (Kunth) Baker (1875), Asparagus sprengeri Regel (1890), Asparagus sprengeri variegatus Sander (1902), Protasparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Oberm. (1983)

Asparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Jessop is the accepted name for this species. It was named as such by John Peter Jessop in Bothalia in 1966. It was first named Asparagopsis densiflorus by Karl (Carl) Sigismund Kunth in Enumeratio Plantarum Omnium Hucusque Cognitarum in 1850.

The genus, Asparagus Tourn. ex L., was described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. He used a previous name and description by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort and gave him the credit.

As of 11-15-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 215 in the Asparagus genus. It is a member of the plant family Asparagaceae with 120 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


One of Tarlei’s Asparagus densiflorus in the backyard at the mansion on 8-19-11, #74-19. This one was also different. The stems remind one of a fox’s tail and they stood up instead of trailing.

I had my first experience with the Asparagus densiflorus while living at a mansion in Mississippi. Very good friends of mine needed me to keep their plants for a while. I had plenty of room in the backyard at the mansion and in the sunrooms. Thomas and Tarlei were like family and she was an amazing florist and interior decorator. They decorated for a lot of weddings in the area and I worked for them for several years, even doing one wedding reception at the mansion. They had A LOT of plants, some in HUGE pots along with several Asparagus densiflorus. They weren’t all alike, though, and one of them may have been a different species. I did a lot of research and I could not figure out what the other one was…

This was the weird one. It had shorter, stiffer “needles” and stems. Photo taken on 8-19-11, #74-20.


Family: Asparagaceae
Origin: Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, and Swaziland in South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 9-11.
Size: 24-36” tall x 36-48” wide.
Light: Light to part shade
Soil: Well-drained soil or potting mix.
Water: Regular water requirements. Allow to dry out between watering.
Flowers: Produces small white flowers in late spring to early summer followed by red berries.

Asparagus densiflorus. This one was really fuzzy-like. Reminded me of someone having a bad hair day. This photo was taken on 8-19-2011, #74-21.

Asparagus densiflorus can be grown outside year-round where temperatures don’t drop below 20-25 degrees. One of my neighbors had Asparagus densiflorus growing in a bed and a few times the temps dropped below 20. They can tolerate frost and will die back to the ground but come up again the following spring.

They can tolerate a good amount of sun but too much will cause the leaves to yellow. I kept Thomas and Tarlei’s plants in the backyard where they received morning sun then light shade in the afternoon.

This one was the largest of Tarlei’s Asparagus densiflorus. The leaves hang down almost 4 feet. This photo was taken on 8-19-11, #74-22.

The leaves can get quite long and sometimes need to be cut back. They can even be cut back to about soil level to regrow.

They appreciate a good misting when kept inside over the winter and they WILL lose a lot of “needles”.

There are several cultivars of the Asparagus densiflorus, the most common being Sprenger’s Asparagus Fern and Sprenger’s Compacta.

Asparagus densiflorus on 11-25-12, #133-1.

One day it was time to say goodbye to Thomas and Tarlei’s plants. We loaded them back up in his trailer then I went with him to unload them back at their home. Somehow we missed the smaller Asparagus Ferns so I got to keep the one in the above photo a while longer.

Asparagus Ferns are definitely one of the most beautiful of plants when they are happy. The dry heat inside the house can be a problem, though, so they should be misted on a regular basis.

Maybe someday, when I have an adequate place, I will purchase an Asparagus Fern.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.