Ferns and Mosses, Home

Foxtail Fern

I always thought Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’) is a pretentious plant, beautiful but not that friendly. This is also given descriptive names such as Ponytail, Bottle Brush, and Emerald fern. This evergreen shrub has stems that look very much like tails of foxes. I’ve witnessed some dog-people touching it, trying to pat the plant only to find out that the “tails” are cactus-like. Yet, despite the plant’s low friendliness rating, many gardeners would agree that the Foxtail’s dense foliage, round feather shape and deep emerald color make this shrub very attractive.

I’ve had several potted Foxtails this during the 1980’s. Oftentimes, I’ve included some of its stems in bouquets and floral arrangements. Well I guessed that practice stressed out my Foxtail because it eventually died. After a long period without it, my friend Boging (a plant dealer) brought me a new shrub of Foxtail to add to my fern group last August 3.

This plant requires attention when in a new environment or when repotted. Like people, it also needs time to adjust to its new home. In addition, I’ve noticed that Foxtail Ferns would express their approval or disapproval on the TLC (tender, loving, care) I’m giving them. The color of their leaves would “communicate” how they feel — green informs that it is happy;  yellow warns that it needs more water; and brown cries out for help because it’s drowning.

This plant could grow up to 2 feet when grown outdoors. However, I refrained from planting it as ground cover because it’s quite invasive with an attitude like that of a ribbon grass. Instead, I placed its pot on  my winding plant stand at a shady area; the more sunlight it gets, the faster it grows. With regards to soil medium, I’ve mixed equal parts of loam, sand, and rice hulls. I haven’t put fertilizer on it yet because it’s still adjusting here in my garden.

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2 thoughts on “Foxtail Fern”

  1. My name is Anita and I wanted to thank you very much for the information on Foxtails, I just bought a couple and hope they take off. I also collect and make art with tillandsias, of which the ionantha guatamala are one of my favorites. I like to use them because they stay pretty small.

    If you are so inclined, I would like to begin a dialog with you regarding these little beauties as there is very limited information I could find and trust online. I am curious to know more about your experiences.

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