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Is Asparagus Fern 

Is Asparagus Fern 

Is Asparagus Fern 

The asparagus fern is noted for its woody stems and light airy needle-like foliage. Grown as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, it is an evergreen with bright leaves that remain on the plant year-round. According to the University of California Marin Master Gardeners, all asparagus ferns have sharp thorns, which is one reason the plants are unattractive to deer. The thorns, which are actually the plant's true leaves, are much smaller and barely noticeable on the Myers variety (Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers") also known as the Foxtail fern. Asparagus fern tolerates a wide range of soils, but grows best in a compost-rich medium rated as pH neutral. The roots are composed of multiple tubers used by the plant to store food and moisture and also used to start new plants.

Fern

In USDA zones 9 to 11, asparagus ferns are grown outdoors year-round as background plantings for other types of plants, as ground covers, in perennial gardens and in hanging pots. While they typically grow in hot sunny areas, they are also suited to areas that receive partial to full shade and suffer less drought damage in such areas. In colder climates, the ferns are grown primarily in pots that can be moved indoors once the weather cools, as they do not tolerate frost. Growing asparagus ferns in containers is one way to guarantee that they aren't damaged by deer, as they can be kept in safe areas and moved if necessary. Deer seek out plants with succulent leaves and stems that provide them with protein and moisture. They tend to avoid plants like asparagus ferns, with woody stems and tiny leaves. Asparagus densiflorus "Sprengeri" is the most common fern in this group as well as the hardiest. It tolerates cold temperatures and if left outdoors during the winter months, may produce poisonous bright red berries. Its long showy branches hang over the edges of planters and hanging baskets and it works well as the green foliage component in planters that also contain colorful flowering plants.

The Plumosa fern (Asparagus setaceus) is more delicate, but can quickly become root-bound if container grown. The plants send out shoots that wrap themselves around anything they come into contact with, and develop an airy appearance as they grow. Asparagus ferns can be left in the garden over the winter months in USDA zones 7 and 8 if their roots are well mulched.Ferns are easy to grow and many are native (Lady, Log, Hay Scented). Most prefer a shady, moist area, but not all. Autumn Ferns, for example, can handle dry shade. They grow right up against your trees. Some ferns reproduce quickly, providing groundcover for large areas in short order (Ostrich). Some can handle a bit of sun (Cinnamon) and some dense shade (Leatherwood). Their best attribute is adding texture, softness and even color to the garden–not all ferns are green (Ghost fern is silver, Lady fern has red stems). Their sizes can be large (Cinnamon, Ostrich, Autumn) or small (Japanese Painted, Korean). For Western North Carolina where shade wins the garden turf wars, ferns fit nicely in woodlands gardens. Another huge plus? Deer resistant, few pests (an occasional slug) and many are drought tolerant. Their maintenance level is zero, dividing and transplanting is the only chore necessary. Ferns prefer bright shade to shade and moisture with rich, organic soil. Below are complied lists of both deer resistant and evergreen ferns. . (Source: bbbarns.com)

 

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