Last week was an exceptionally busy week on and around my Two Acre Paradise/Three Dog Circus. Not only had to keep up with the day to day chores but also get entries ready for the fair. Then, as every year, several master gardeners—myself included--assisted with taking and arranging horticulture entries, assisting judges, placing winning ribbons, gathering plant material for a youth, plant identification contest; other master gardeners manned our booth.
For the first time the Multi-County Master Gardener Association constructed and exhibited a scarecrow—and won second place!
There were lots of fabulous exhibits in all categories.
Sunday, as exhibits were being collected by owners, master gardener Tom Terry allowed me to bring one of his plant exhibits home to divide and re-pot. I have coveted this plant for years. The occurrence prompted me to learn more about the plant so that I don’t kill his lovely gift.
Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus "Myers") is not a true fern but is actually in the lily family. They are denser than the closely related and more common Asparagus Fern - Sprengeri.
Foxtail Fern is sometimes called the Ponytail, Bottle Brush, and Emerald fern. The foxtail's branches create a circular pattern around its center, growing upward like spikes.
They are evergreen perennials that grow outside in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11; here in Oklahoma they are grown as a houseplant.
Each branch can grow from 1 to 2 feet up; the plant can widen eventually to about 3 feet, with the branches hanging over the edge of the pot. Foxtail Ferns can be put outdoors in summer, but that makes them more susceptible to bugs, which are difficult to detect due to the density of the plant's foliage. Foxtail Fern’s blooms are white and produce red berries. The plant appears delicate but don’t let their appearance fool you; they are tough and do well with limited care and are drought resistant once established.
If you are attentive they will tell you what they need: yellow leaves say, “give me more water!” whereas brown leaves say, “you’re killing me, I’m drowning here!” Brown or yellow leaves need to be removed; they will not turn green again.
The more sun, the faster it grows but it can take low light; frequent misting is beneficial.
It is recommended to fertilize weekly in summer at 50% strength--water soluble; every other week in winter.
As busy as Tom Terry is I know that he would not have time for a fussy plant; therefore I am confident that his Foxtail Fern will live and flourish for me.
As always happy gardening.