The origin of this delicate plant
The ornamental asparagus (Asparagus densiflorus) originates in Asia and Southeast Africa. Ornamental asparagus first came to Europe through the botanist Karl Sprenger (1846-1917). This is why it used to be called Asparagus sprengeri.
From a botanical point of view, ornamental asparagus belongs to the asparagus family. As a result, it bears a certain resemblance to the classic asparagus, Asparagus offincinalis. For commercial gardeners, however, there is a clear difference between these two plants.
The different types
Several hundred species are known in its homeland in Asia and Southeast Africa. However, the number in our flower shops is limited. Most of the three species Asparagus densiflorus, Asparagus falcatus and Asparagus setaceus can be bought. They differ mainly in their leaf growth and care.
The appearance of ornamental asparagus
Ornamental asparagus is characterized by its unmistakably delicate, thin leaves. Botanically, however, the leaves are not true leaves in the traditional sense, but have transformed into thorns. The leaves we recognize as such are metamorphoses, i.e. they resemble small stolons that emanate from the parent plant.
The growth type and height varies depending on the variety. The ornamental asparagus can reach a height of up to 100 cm. There are varieties that grow upright, as well as varieties whose long shoots hang down.
Flower and fruit
If your ornamental asparagus has optimal site conditions and can enjoy good care, especially in summer, then it may develop flowers. These are tiny and white in color. Unfortunately, the asparagus bloom is not very reliable.
When the flowering period of the plant is over in late summer, the fruits develop. These are tiny red berries attached to the plant.
Important: The fruits of the ornamental asparagus are not suitable for consumption as they are highly poisonous.
Caring for ornamental asparagus: the right care at home
As with all indoor plants, proper care is essential for ornamental asparagus. If you want to have a healthy plant in your home, then there are a few things to keep in mind. Your ornamental asparagus will thank you with magnificent growth.
The right location
Here it depends on what kind of ornamental asparagus you have. The variety Asparagus densiflorus can also grow in the shade, in contrast to the other species . They prefer a slightly brighter location to get enough light.
However, they must not stand in the blazing direct sun either. A partially shaded place is often the right location.
Asparagus setaceus prefers a cool spot in winter with around 10 degrees. The other species, on the other hand, can easily overwinter in rooms with higher temperatures.
Tip: Make sure that the plant is never completely without light at its location. This leads to leaf loss.
Watering and fertilizing
The earth should never be completely dry. On the contrary: the houseplant should always be kept evenly moist throughout the year. Nevertheless, you can water the plant a little less in the winter months than in the summer, since it does not evaporate as much water here.
In the summer months it is important that you supply the plant with sufficient nutrients once a week. In winter it is enough if you fertilize once a month.
Tip: If the air in the apartment is very dry, you can also spray your ornamental asparagus with water from time to time
Regular repotting for healthy growth
The pot of your plant should be very spacious, as ornamental asparagus likes to have space. However, you should repot it every 2-3 years to ensure healthy growth. Because after this time, the plant needs new fresh soil to be able to absorb the nutrients it contains with its roots. In our article Repotting indoor plants correctly you will find helpful tips.
The right cutting
Basically, the easy-care ornamental asparagus does not require any special pruning. If leaves are wilted, you can of course cut them off.
Tip: If you forget to water your ornamental asparagus for a long time and the leaves start to wilt, no need to worry! A radical pruning helps here: cut back the leaves to just above the ground and then place the plant in a warm place. Additional humidity can also help.
Propagating ornamental asparagus: Propagation by division
If you want to repot your ornamental asparagus, you can easily divide it beforehand (provided it is a bushy plant). If the roots stick together too much, you can use a sharp knife to help. Once separated, each plant can be planted in its own pot. It's that easy to have a new small ornamental asparagus.
Note: Your ornamental asparagus cuttings should always have the same site conditions as the mother plant.
Alternatively, you can also sow the seeds contained in the fruit, ideally in spring. Here the sowing temperature should be at best 20 degrees. Then the seeds begin to sprout quickly.
Is ornamental asparagus poisonous to cats?
Yes, at least the decorative asparagus yellow is conditionally poisonous for cats. Officially, the ornamental asparagus is one of the poisonous indoor plants, but not all parts of the plant are poisonous.
The berries that develop during or after the flowering period are highly poisonous. The leaves and petioles, on the other hand, are not poisonous.
Therefore, care should be taken that the berries are not eaten by your pets. These are also inedible for humans.
The diseases of ornamental asparagus
If you notice your plant's leaves starting to turn yellow and fall to the ground, this is often a sign of dry air. If you take good care of your ornamental asparagus, you can prevent an infestation by plant pests prematurely.
Tip: Make sure that there is always enough humidity in the room. If that's the case and the leaves keep falling, then it's also possible that the plant doesn't have enough nutrients.