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ASPARAGUS virgatus

Image of Asparagus virgatus

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ASPARAGUS virgatus

Plant Common Name

Asparagus Tree Fern, Broom Fern, South African Broom Fern, Tiki

General Description

The delicate foliage of broom fern adds a soft, airy look to flower arrangements. This African and Asian native is a tender, evergreen perennial that’s not a true fern at all but a member of the lily family. In temperate zones it can be grown as a houseplant or summer patio specimen.

Broom fern produces spreading mounds of fine foliage. Its long, wiry stems are lined with thread-like cladodes, which are small, flattened branches that look like leave but are not. No true leaves are produced. Unlike other asparagus ferns, the stems of this species are thornless. In summer, the stems become lined with small, single, white nodding flowers. After pollination by insects, these mature into orange-red, berry-like fruits.

Grow broom fern in full or partial sun and fertile, well-drained garden soil. It is considerably drought tolerated once established but looks best if given regular water. Its fine stems are popular florist’s greens that remain attractive for longer than true ferns. Plant broom fern in containers, hanging baskets or cutting gardens. In subtropical and tropical regions it may be used as an evergreen groundcover or accent plant for floral borders. Broom fern produces many fruits with fertile seeds that readily germinate. It also produces underground stems which enable it to spread quickly. Caution should be taken when planting it in subtropical and tropical regions where it is not hardy. The Global Compendium of Weeds characterizes broom fern as an “environmental weed, garden thug, and sleeper weed.” http://www.hear.org/gcw/species/asparagus_virgatus/

Characteristics

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Height

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

Growing Conditions

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

Ornamental Features

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes