A Full Care & Rising Information 2023 Information

a woman in a bright colored poncho kneels next to a large foxtail fern or myers fern next to a wooden fence

I’ve liked these powerful but enticing vegetation ever since I noticed a small one in a dangling pot in a greenhouse on the Brooklyn Botanic Backyard many, many moons in the past. That is all I’ve discovered about rising Foxtail Fern vegetation in two completely different local weather zones.

Because it ages, the stems get a bizarrely pleasant, twisting kind and it jogs my memory of Medusa’s serpent-filled head. This sculptural, feathery plant has an edgy really feel and undoubtedly isn’t delicate so no have to tiptoe round one.

This evergreen perennial (which isn’t a real fern by the way in which) is simple on the eyes and straightforward in relation to upkeep.

Botanical Title: Asparagus densiflorus “Meyersii” Widespread Title: Foxtail Fern, Myers Fern (generally seen as Asparagus Foxtail Fern or Foxtail Asparagus Fern)

The best way to Look after a Foxtail Fern (Myers Fern)

Oh, the form – these pleasant fern-like vegetation like to unfold & twist! This was certainly one of my Foxtails rising within the again backyard at my Santa Barbara house.

USDA Hardiness Zone

Foxtail Fern vegetation develop finest in hardiness zones 11th of September. They’ll present harm if the temps go under 20 – 25 levels F.

I’ve grown them alongside the California coast in Santa Barbara (zones 10a & 10b) and within the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, AZ (zones 9a & 9b).


The biggest I’ve seen one develop to be is 3′ tall x 3.5′ large. Within the panorama commerce, they’re mostly offered in 6″, 1-gallon, and 5-gallon pots.

Foxtail Fern Mild Necessities

I’ve gotten the query, Foxtail Fern solar or shade? Vibrant shade, partial shade, and full solar are the solutions as a result of it relies on the place you’re rising one.

On the coast of southern California the place I used to stay, these ferns can take direct daylight. As you go inland, a fan of vivid shade is finest. Remember to hold them out of the robust afternoon solar.

Right here in Tucson, they do finest shielded from the recent afternoon solar so afternoon shade is finest. I develop mine in an east publicity close to a pink grapefruit tree that gives dappled shade.

Foxtail Fern Water Necessities

This plant isn’t thought-about to be drought tolerant however neither do they require big quantities of water. They’ve a tuberous root system that shops water so make certain to not hold them too moist as it will result in root rot.

Foxtail Fern vegetation desire common watering whether or not rising within the floor or in a container. The highest few inches of soil can really dry out between waterings. Yours could require slightly further water through the lively rising season to maintain it wanting lush and full relying on what’s happening summer season rain and warmth smart.

In Tucson, I drip irrigate my Foxtails thrice every week within the scorching months. In Santa Barbara, it was as soon as each ten days. I lived seven blocks from the seaside so the fog helped with that.

Foxtail Fern Soil

They’re tolerant with regard to this and develop in a wide range of soil varieties. They’re stated to develop finest in barely acidic soil. 

Nonetheless, the soil in my yards in Santa Barbara and Tucson was not and isn’t on the acidic aspect and my Foxtail Ferns are doing simply high-quality. Crops will be that manner, generally they stretch the bounds.

You need the soil combine to have good drainage, and blend in some natural matter to up the ante on the richness.

Shrubs are the spine of any backyard, right here’s How To Efficiently Plant Shrubs.

nell foster is using a hand saw to loosen up a root bound foxtail fern
Right here I’m dividing a 5-gallon Foxtail Fern in my Tucson backyard. You may see all of the tubers & how tight the basis system is. Sure, that is 1 powerful plant. I used my pruning noticed to divide it!

Foxtail Fern Repotting/Transplanting

A mature plant has fairly a troublesome and in depth root ball so this generally is a problem. I inform you this from expertise and you may see by wanting on the above photograph!

It’s possible you’ll by no means must transplant one rising within the floor. As a container plant, yours might have a brand new pot bigger in dimension to accommodate the basis ball because it grows and spreads.

I did a put up on Dividing and Planting a Foxtail Fern which supplies you an concept of what I did.


I by no means fertilizer mine. I plant them with good, wealthy natural compost and prime costume them with the identical each couple of years or as want be.

In the event you really feel the necessity to feed your Foxtail one thing aside from or along with compost, think about using one thing like liquid kelp or an all-purpose fertilizer.


My Felcos aren’t effectively acquainted with this plant as a result of it hardly ever wants pruning, perhaps yearly. Because it’s grown I’ve needed to trim a number of stems off the walkway however that’s about it. Once you prune yours, you’ll want to reduce the stems off all the way in which to the bottom.

This plant grows so densely that the older development will generally crowd out and smother the undergrowth, which finally turns brown. I prune that out too.

I do like to often reduce off a number of stems to make use of in flower preparations as I just like the look and so they make for long-lasting greenery.

A phrase of warning: they’ve needle-like leaves, together with small thorns on the stems, that may trigger pores and skin irritation. Watch out when working with this plant.

foxtail ferns growing on the sidewalk, there is a burgundy beach cruiser in the background and flowering plants
Foxtail Ferns in a sidewalk strip throughout from the Pacific Ocean in entrance of the Biltmore Santa Barbara. They appear nice planted en mass, & so does my seaside cruiser subsequent to them!

Foxtail Fern Propagation

You may propagate a Foxtail Fern plant from seed which comes from the purple berries it produces. This takes manner too lengthy for impatient me and so it’s a way I’ve by no means tried earlier than.

Dividing this plant is by far the quickest option to do it. I had one rising in a blended container planting for a shopper, again in my skilled gardening days. I observed after a few years that the few impatiens vegetation I had planted that season weren’t doing effectively in any respect. 

It seems that the Foxtail Fern’s in depth root system, with all of its tubers connected, had utterly taken over the pot and was really wrapping round itself. The plant seemed high-quality however the impatiens with their finer, a lot much less aggressive roots had been shedding the battle.

What I did gives you an concept of how powerful this plant is. I wished to save lots of my shopper’s pot so it was a little bit of a battle to get the fern out. Even after I utterly pried it away from the edges, the underside wasn’t budging in any respect. I lastly received it out and ended up sawing it into three new vegetation. 

My shopper now has three Foxtail Fern Ferns in her backyard which had been all doing high-quality and rising like loopy the final time I noticed them. These tuberous roots are cussed however boy are they resilient!

I divided my Foxtail Fern into 2 vegetation right here in Tucson. That is how I did the Dividing & Planting.

Foxtail Fern Flowers

Mine begins blooming in late winter into early spring. The small white flowers are adopted by inexperienced berries which finally flip into purple berries in direction of fall.


Mine has by no means gotten any. They’re pretty pest free however have been identified to be infested by spider mites and scale bugs so be looking out for these.

It’s finest to take motion and get them below management ASAP as a result of they multiply and unfold like loopy.

Foxtail Fern Leaves Turning Yellow

Mine sometimes received yellow leaves and stems in Santa Barbara because the plant grew. The outer leaves crowded out leaves on the base so I simply pruned them off. In Tucson, I noticed occasional yellow leaves in prolonged durations of low humidity and if the vegetation went too dry for too lengthy.

Yellow leaves on vegetation are on account of some form of stress. The most typical causes are associated to watering and lightweight publicity. Both an excessive amount of water, too little water, an excessive amount of solar, or not sufficient mild. Pests and the necessity for fertilization are potentialities additionally.

How To Care For A Foxtail Fern In Winter

I now stay in zone 9b. Within the winter months, I depart mine alone. If we’re going via a dry spell, I give it supplemental water as wanted.

Foxtail Fern Makes use of

You should utilize a Foxtail Fern in backyard beds, rock gardens, containers, sidewalk strips, hanging baskets (its shut relative the Sprengeri or Asparagus Fern is used extra for this), and indoors as houseplants. 

In Santa Barbara, they’re typically occasions seen planted in sidewalk beds rising alongside Birds Of Paradise. This decorative plant is basically fairly hanging when planted en masse.

Perennials can present fairly the present and add coloration to the backyard. Right here is How To Plant Perennials Efficiently.

foxtail fern growing in a clay-colored container, tree in pot in the background
How nice a Foxtail Fern appears to be like in a terra cotta pot!

Foxtail Ferns In Containers

Foxtail Ferns are a superb selection for containers. They make an amazing patio plant, and due to their kind, are attractive accent vegetation.

You need to use effectively draining potting soil formulated for container vegetation that has been amended with wealthy natural supplies. I desire to make use of a combo of worm compost and compost. It’s finest if the container has at the least one drainage gap on the underside of the pot so the surplus water can readily circulation out.

All of the care factors on this put up apply to rising them in containers however thoughts the watering. Crops in containers are inclined to dry out quicker than vegetation within the floor.

Foxtail Fern Companion Crops

Their roots and tubers get fairly in depth as these vegetation age. They will simply crowd out different vegetation so that you need to give them room within the panorama to unfold.

In pots, they make an amazing solo planting or underplanted with annuals the primary couple of years earlier than the plant and root ball overtake.

Crops I’ve seen them planted with are Lantana, Hen Of Paradise, Mediterranean Fan Palm, Trailing Rosemary, and Jade Crops.

Planting companion vegetation? Listed below are the posts now we have achieved on Hen Of Paradise, Lantana, and Rosemary.

Foxtail Fern Indoors

I’ve by no means grown one indoors, at all times as an out of doors plant, so I’ve no expertise to share. There are true ferns in the marketplace generally offered within the houseplant commerce that I think about would make higher indoor vegetation just like the Boston Ferns.

If you wish to give one a attempt indoors, be certain it’s in very vivid mild. It could respect being open air within the hotter months. 

nell foster smiling and holding a foxtail fern flower arrangement in front of her front door
I like to make use of them in flower preparations. Do you want their look too?

Foxtail Ferns In Flower Preparations

Their plumy spear-like stems are glorious to make use of in flower preparations and may last as long as three weeks with out yellowing or dropping a leaflet. I at all times have a reduce flower association or two in the home and this my buddy, is the principle purpose I prune my Foxtail Fern!

Foxtail Fern FAQs

Do Foxtail Ferns come again yearly?

If in an acceptable rising zone, sure. They’re an evergreen perennial that stays inexperienced year-round.

Do Foxtail Ferns unfold?

Sure, the clumping behavior of this plant does trigger it to unfold because it ages. Mature vegetation can attain 3′ large.

Are Foxtail Ferns poisonous to canine?

Sure, Foxtail Ferns are thought-about to be poisonous to each canine and cats. I get my data on this topic from the ASPCA web site.

The place do Foxtail Ferns develop finest?

They develop finest in USDA zones 11th of September. Temps under 20-25F will trigger harm.

Will Foxtail Ferns develop in full solar? How a lot shade can a Foxtail Fern take?

Outside Foxtail Ferns do finest in oblique mild. When rising in a coastal local weather, they will take full solar.

Mild shade is ok with filtered daylight, aka vivid shade. They received’t develop or look their finest in deep shade.

Are Foxtail Ferns drought-tolerant?

I wouldn’t name them drought-tolerant however they do have a really thick root system with tubers than can retailer water. They don’t want a lot however look finest with common watering. How a lot water and the way typically relies on your local weather.

Can a Foxtail Fern survive winter?

It relies on your rising zone. They aren’t chilly hardy under 20-25F.

I’ve solely grown them in hotter climates and so they’ve at all times survived winter. In case you don’t know, yow will discover your USDA plant hardiness zone right here.

You may attempt bringing yours indoors for the colder months and see if it overwinters.

Foxtail Fern Care Video Information

It is a very outdated video! I’m in my yard in Santa Barbara speaking care:

In the event you like arty vegetation with a bohemian twist that you may virtually ignore, then the Foxtail Fern or Myer Fern is for you. I now want that I’d planted a row of them alongside that portion of the fence in my yard as a result of that one did so effectively and I like the look. 

I believe it’s time to get one other one for my new house right here in Tucson. I’ve simply the spot in thoughts!

Observe: This was initially revealed on 1/27/2016. It was up to date on 3/15/2023 with extra data & new photos.

Comfortable gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

This put up could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. You may learn our insurance policies right here. Your price for the merchandise will likely be no greater however Pleasure Us backyard receives a small fee. Thanks for serving to us unfold the phrase & make the world a extra lovely place!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *