The Plumosa Fern: Everything You Need To Know About It

hanging plumosa fern

The Plumosa Fern, also known as the asparagus fern, is a beautiful fern to have in your home. Whether you already have other ferns adorning the halls, corners, or sills of your home, this lush houseplant will add extra flair and beauty.

This soft and feathery fern is sure to delight anyone that sees it given its light and airy appearance. We will go over everything from its basic details to how to care for one of these beautiful ferns. By the time you are done reading this, you will want to get one and put it somewhere in your home.

All About the Plumosa Fern

The Plumosa Fern is one of the most low-maintenance ferns you can get as a houseplant. It is far more tolerant to changes in its watering schedule than other ferns. You essentially need to remember one simple rule, which is to keep it out of direct afternoon sun. Other than that, it will be able to withstand most environmental conditions your home may have.

People like this fern for its soft and feather-like leaves. However, be prepared to get pricked by hidden spurs if you are not careful. Despite the spurs, there is no reason to avoid getting the Plumosa Fern because even a rose has thorns, yet is beautiful nonetheless.

Not Exactly a Fern

Although it does have "fern" in its name, the Plumosa Fern is not actually an official member of the fern family. It is a card-carrying member of the Liliaceae family. You get to enjoy the good looks of a fern, while taking care of a plant that is easier to grow and take care of. Whether you want to grow it indoors or outside, it will look great no matter what.

What the Plumosa Fern Likes

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Image source: Flickr

This fern can grow in most domiciles, but it thrives in shaded areas and places which only receive indirect sunlight. It also prefers a temperature of around 70 F, which just so happens to be what we find most comfortable as well. If it ever dips below 55 F for an extended period, you may start seeing it not doing so well.

This fern is like many other ferns and will stay relatively small throughout its entire life. It will remain between one and five feet in height. With regards to how much height it needs, prepare for it to grow to two to three feet in total.

This fern is a hardy one, meaning it can even survive if the temperature dips below freezing.

Anything lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit will cause it damage, although this will not be an issue if you are growing it indoors.

The Plumosa Fern would look and thrive best in three areas:

  • A shaded porch
  • A greenhouse
  • Anywhere in the house during the summer

This fern produces flowers and even berries when it likes where is it living. Seeing these is a sign that you are taking care of your Plumosa Fern well. If you want more of these ferns, take the berries and plant them in new pots. 

Given how easily they propagate (they are considered weeds in Hawaii), you can have an entire family of them living in your house, greenhouse, or garden. With these ferns flowering and producing berries towards autumn, you can have more ferns than you will know what to do with.

About the Berries

When you hear talk about berries, you may instantly think about all the delicious kinds of berries you know and love. While the Plumosa fern's red berries may look nice, they are toxic. If for some reason, you decide to eat some of these berries, you would have to deal with an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. They will also give you a rash if you touch them. 

The troubles with these berries go on. If you have a pet, like a dog or a cat, they will have painful side effects even worse than you. If you want to see your fern bloom with beautiful white flowers, expect poisonous red berries to come soon after that. When that happens, you can do one of two things. Either keep your pets away from the plant or pick the berries with safety gloves once they appear.

If you do not have any pets, then harvesting the berries once they have matured will be much easier. You will be able to plant them and have as many ferns as you desire. These ferns can grow a little out of hand, so know what you are getting into before you embark on this journey.

Before you start sticking berries into the dirt, you need to know when they will be mature and ready for you to do so. They should look extremely ripe before you pick them. Once they are ripe enough, clean them if necessary and dry the seeds. If you are not ready to plant them at this point, you can store the seeds in a cool and dark place until you want to start planting.

Best Places For a Plumosa Fern

When you are deciding on where you want to display your Plumosa fern, you have many great options. This fern is the type that looks great in various kinds of containers. Some of the best places to grow this fern are the following:

  • Window boxes
  • Hanging baskets
  • Planters with other houseplants

If you have a greenhouse, these ferns also look great as a ground cover. Wherever you decide on planting your Plumosa Fern, you will need to be mindful of what to do to make it feel best. It has simple needs and is not as demanding as other true ferns, so if you have had trouble in the past with growing fern houseplants, or do not have a green thumb, you will grow this fern just fine.

Caring For a Plumosa Fern

A Plumosa Fern thrives best when it is kept bushy. This means you should keep trimming its leaf stems so that it puts out multiple new ones. When you do this, you will get an appealing full look. You will also want to make sure no other plants are crowding your ferns. This will ensure they are as full and bushy as possible. There are several other things to note when it comes to caring for this fern.

As far as planting one of these ferns, you should place them in soil that drains well. The dirt you plant it in should be fertile and well-draining. If the soil is not draining well after you water it, you may have root rot on your hands. When summer rolls around, you can water it more liberally since the soil will be drying out faster. Keep the fern loose, so it has room to grow out its roots.

Icon via Flaticon


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If you want to see your Plumosa Fern thrive, you should occasionally feed it some fertilizer. There are several different types of fertilizer you can get. We recommend any of the following:

  • Granulated
  • Timed release
  • Liquid
  • Organic
  • Synthetic

When it comes to fertilizing this fern, you should get a mixture which helps the flowers bloom. This is usually a 5-10-5 mixture. Avoid using too much fertilizer, because you can cause harm to your ferns. To make sure you do not cause any fertilizer burns on your fern, read the fertilizer packaging instructions carefully.

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When it comes to watering your Plumosa Fern, it will look best when it’s sprayed with water rather than watered directly. This mimics its natural humid habitat. You may have to mist it daily, especially if the humidity levels in your house are low. Misting will not be enough since its roots need life-giving water as well. Make sure you keep the soil moist.

You will know it will need more hydration when its leaves start turning brown. It is resilient, so even if it looks like it is drying, hydrate it, and it will come back to life. However, do your best to avoid the situation getting to this point. You will most likely have to water it every two or three days besides misting it. 

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When you prune a Plumosa Fern, you ensure it will become a dense and appealing houseplant. To prune this fern, you will clip off some of its tiny branchlets, which from far away look like leaves. If you wait to prune them until they are older, the branchlets will become thicker and carry sharp spines that could cut you. If this is the case, wear gloves, so you save yourself a trip to the First Aid kit.

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Wrapping Up

Now you know everything essential to know about the unique Plumosa Fern. You should consider getting one of these fern houseplants the next time you are looking to bring in more lush greenery into your life. It is a resilient fern that is a beautiful and bushy addition to any home.

Featured Image: Flickr


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