Repotting my Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’

Repotting my meyer or foxtail asparagus fern, known in Latin as Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’, is a task I do every 5 years or so. I know it is time when there is no longer any room from the top of the soil to the top of the pot to hold water.

The extensive root system of the asparagus ferns, which are not ferns by the way, include large tubers which are used to sustain the plant in harsh natural conditions where it can become an invasive pest in zones 8 & 9. Here in New York, I grow this as a houseplant but it takes a vacation by traveling to my deck each summer.

Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyeri' in December 2003
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’ in December 2003

When it is time to repot I pull the plant out of the pot and shake loose the soil from the engorged root mass. I use quite some effort to tease apart the congested mass and straighten out the circular pattern the roots have developed.

Asparagus fern compacted root mass March 2009
Asparagus fern compacted root mass March 2009

Then I do one of two things.

If I want to keep the same size pot I divide the plant. This often entails a very large knife to hack apart the multiple crowns. These plants I then pot up and share with friends which is always a welcome gift.

If I want to use a larger pot and keep the plant intact I just put new soil in the base of the new larger pot, and distribute the root mass evenly.

Asparagus fern root mass teased out for repotting
Asparagus fern root mass teased out for repotting

In either case when potting I use the tips of my fingers, to push the soil down around the sides of the pot until the plant is firmly in place. I sprinkle long lasting fertilizer like Osmocote into the soil which I use to surround the root system. I keep the crown of the plant about 1 inch below the top rim of the pot and water with a water-soluble fertilizer.

When the crown gets pushed up to the top rim again in years to come it is time to do this all over again. What fun!

Asparagus fern repotted and returned to its perch among friends.
Asparagus fern repotted and returned to its perch among friends.

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Comments

Repotting my Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’ — 3 Comments

  1. We have some very beautiful fers we call horse tail ferns but they also look very much like the asperagus ferns pictured here. They have an incredible number of these bulbs inthe root system. What are the bulbs on the roots of ferns? Are they part of the reproductive system, water or moisture storage, or what? Thanks.

    Marty