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Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips

Learn how to keep your foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus) thriving with this comprehensive care guide. Get tips on ideal light, water, humidity, temperature, soil, fertilizing and troubleshooting common issues like crispy fronds and pests. Discover proper maintenance and propagation methods too!

The foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is a beautiful, feathery plant that makes an excellent addition to any home or garden. With its light green, fluffy foliage and elegant arching stems, it’s no wonder this fern is a popular choice for decorating. The best part? Foxtail ferns are surprisingly easy to care for, even for those without a green thumb.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for your foxtail fern, from ideal growing conditions to common problems and how to troubleshoot them. By the end, you’ll have all the tips and tricks you need to keep your plant looking lush and healthy for years to come.

Here’s a short information chart about the Foxtail Fern:

Name:Foxtail Fern
Scientific Name:Asparagus densiflorus
Common Names:Asparagus Fern, Myers Fern
Origin:South Africa
Type:Evergreen perennial
Growth Habit:Clumping, upright stems
Foliage:Feathery, needle-like leaves
Size:Up to 2-3 feet tall
Light Requirements:Bright indirect light, partial shade
Watering:Keep soil consistently moist, not soggy
Temperature:Thrives in moderate temperatures, avoid extreme heat or cold
Humidity:Prefers moderate to high humidity
Soil:Well-draining, rich in organic matter
Fertilizer:Monthly during growing season with balanced fertilizer
Propagation:Division of clumps, planting tubers or seeds
Common Uses:Indoor plant, hanging baskets, borders in gardens
Pests:Susceptible to spider mites, scale insects
Toxicity:Non-toxic to pets

Understanding the Foxtail Fern

Foxtail-Fern-2 Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips

Before we dive into care instructions, let’s go over some key facts about the foxtail fern:

  • It’s not actually a true fern – foxtail ferns are a type of asparagus in the Asparagaceae family.
  • They’re native to South Africa but have been cultivated as houseplants and landscaping plants worldwide.
  • Foxtail ferns are considered semi-evergreen, meaning they may go semi-dormant and drop some foliage in winter.
  • With proper care, these plants can grow up to 3-4 feet tall and wide indoors.
  • They’re non-toxic to pets and humans, making them a safe option for homes with furry friends or kids.

Now that you know a bit more about this unique plant, let’s get into how to provide it with the ideal care it needs.

Optimal Growing Conditions

Optimal-Growing-Conditions-1 Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips

Like most ferns, foxtail ferns thrive in conditions that mimic their natural habitat – humid, shaded understory environments. Here are the ideal conditions to aim for:

Light Needs

Foxtail ferns do best in bright, indirect light. Too much direct sun can scorch their delicate fronds. An east or north-facing window is perfect. If you only have a south or west exposure, use sheer curtains to filter the intense rays.

Water Requirements

These plants like their soil to stay evenly moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Stick your finger in the potting mix to check moisture levels. Yellow fronds are often a sign of overwatering.

Humidity Needs

As tropical understory plants, foxtail ferns crave humidity. Aim to keep relative humidity around 50-60% if possible. Use a pebble tray or room humidifier to boost moisture in the air. Misting the leaves can also help increase humidity around the plant.


Foxtail ferns thrive in typical household temperatures of 65-75°F during the day and a few degrees cooler at night. Avoid exposing them to drafts, heat vents, or cold windowsills in winter.


A well-draining potting mix made for houseplants or ferns is ideal. Amend standard potting soil with perlite or orchid bark to improve drainage and aeration. Foxtail ferns are prone to root rot in heavy, soggy soils.


Feed your plant every 4-6 weeks during spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Avoid fertilizing in winter when growth is minimal.

By replicating these preferred conditions, your foxtail fern should reward you with lush, vibrant growth year-round.

Common Foxtail Fern Problems

Common-Foxtail-Fern-Problems Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips

Even with proper care, issues can sometimes crop up with these delicate plants. Here are some common problems to watch out for and how to address them:

Brown or Crispy Fronds

If fronds are turning brown and crispy, it likely means one of two things:

  1. Low humidity – Boost humidity around the plant.
  2. Tap water buildup – Use distilled or filtered water and allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Yellow Fronds

Yellow fronds are usually a sign of overwatering or poor drainage. Let the soil dry out more between waterings and ensure the pot has a drainage hole. Remove any yellow or dead growth.

Stunted Growth

If your foxtail fern seems stunted and isn’t producing new fronds, it may need:

  • More light – Move to a brighter spot out of direct sun.
  • Fertilizer – Start a gentle fertilizing routine.
  • Larger pot – Refresh soil and move to a bigger container.


The most common pests are spider mites, mealybugs and scale. Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat infestations, quarantine the plant and improve air flow.

With some troubleshooting, you can get your foxtail fern back to its vibrant, fluffy self.

Maintenance & Propagation

Maintenance-Propagation Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips

Lastly, let’s cover some basic foxtail fern maintenance and how to propagate foxtail ferns from yours.

Pruning & Cleaning

Remove any dead, damaged, or yellow fronds by cutting them off at the base. This keeps the plant looking tidy. Also, periodically wipe dust off the fronds with a damp cloth.


Repot root-bound plants in spring into a container 2-3 inches wider using fresh potting mix. Foxtail ferns are relatively slow growers but will need repotting every 2-3 years.


You can easily propagate foxtail ferns from division or spores:

  • Division – Carefully split a mature plant’s root ball into 2-3 sections and pot them up separately.
  • Spores – Mature plants occasionally release spores inside the branches which you can collect and sow in moist soil.

With simple division, you can multiply your fern collection for free! Just make sure to use sterile soil and containers

There you have it – everything you need to keep your foxtail fern thriving! These graceful, delicate plants add wonderful texture and life to any space. With the proper care, they’ll reward you with their lush, cascading fronds for years.

Do you have any other questions about growing this unique asparagus fern variety? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to address them!

2 thoughts on “Easy Foxtail Fern Care Tips”

  1. Pingback: Foxtail Fern: A Complete Guide to Growing and Caring

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