Foxtail Fern: An Expert Guide Of Growing And Caring

BY Shaafay Zia
Last Update:

Are those foxtail ferns seeming a little MYSTERIOUS? No worries at all! Trust me. You’re not the only one feeling OVERWHELMED. It’s annoying when you CAN’T find reliable info on these little green wonders. 

But DON’T STRESS! We’ve got your back, and we’ll unravel the secrets of the foxtail fern for ya’. Just sit tight. You’ve stumbled upon just the RIGHT place, my friend!

We’re your resident GARDENING GURUS here, specializing in Cacti & Succulents. You count on us to dish out accurate and valuable insights when it comes to those funky foxtail ferns. 

Our comprehensive guide has been METICULOUSLY put together. And we did so just FOR YOU, covering important deets about these green beauties. 

Life is about to get a whole lot GREENER and EASIER after you finish reading our guide on foxtails ferns. You feel CONFIDENT in caring for these plants. No more confusion or frustration! 

We’ll unravel the characteristics of foxtail fern and how to grow it from seed.

Foxtail Fern

Understanding the Foxtail Fern Plant

Understanding the Foxtail Fern Plant

The foxtail fern is a cool plant with some WILD NAMES. Have you heard of plume asparagus, emerald plumes, or emerald fern? They are all this beauty! Plus, its fancy scientific name is Asparagus densiflorus!

It may be part of the asparagus family and look like true ferns with its FEATHERY APPEARANCE. Its arching plumes are made up of needle-like leaves.

But guess what? This little guy ISN’T considered a TRUE FERN! That’s because it reproduces using SEEDS instead of spores – sneaky! 

In spring and summer, it sprouts small white flowers. These later turn into bright red berries for an extra pop of color. 

If you treat it right, this bad boy can get pretty BIG at 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Talk about impressive!

So go ahead and bring home this popular ORNAMENTAL gem for your garden or even indoor containers. But remember to contain their spread!

Grow Foxtail Fern From Seed

Where to Grow Foxtail Fern?

Where to Grow Foxtail Fern

So, foxtail ferns are these awesome TROPICAL PLANTS straight outta the African jungles. That makes them perfect for indoor living – replicating that lush climate is a piece of cake.

Let’s talk conditions for growing these babies:

1. Hardiness Zones: 

If you’re in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, lucky you! Foxtail ferns can flourish OUTDOORS there. It’s best to keep colder areas as HOUSEPLANTS or bring them inside during the WINTER months.

2. Light Requirements: 

Foxtail ferns crave bright INDIRECT light when they’re all cozy indoors. Too much direct sun might scorch their leaves. And too little light could STRIP AWAY their color and mojo.

3. Temperature and Humidity Needs:

Keep in mind these beauties hail from southern AFRICA. So warmth and humidity work wonders for them! Aim for 65-75°F (18-24°C) – just right! They can handle COOLER temps but not below 50°F (10°C)

I mist regularly or use trays with water-soaked PEBBLES to up the moisture game. Or even grab yourself a handy-dandy HUMIDIFIER!

4. Soil/Growing Medium:

Drainage is key here. Make sure your soil is WELL-DRAINING and packed with organic goodness. I grab a potting soil mix specially made for INDOOR plants or add compost

Then add PERLITE or VERMICULITE to amp up the drainage game. This will help PREVENT excess water from causing trouble in paradise.


How to Grow Foxtail Fern?

How to Grow Foxtail Fern

Here’s the lowdown on growing foxtail ferns from seeds:

1. Get and Prep the Seeds:

Harvest RED BERRIES from a foxtail fern. Or snag them from your LOCAL NURSERY – these will be your ticket to new growth! 

I soak them in water for 24 hours to soften them up, making SEED REMOVAL a breeze. 

Remember: toss away any floating berries.

2. Potting Time:

Get rid of all that fruit surrounding the seeds and pop them into SMALL POTS like real pros! A TOOTHPICK or KNIFE can help you peel off that fruity coating. 

I do so till I see our tiny BLACK gems shining through, ready to sprout their magic ways! 

Plant each one about ¼ inch deep in moist potting soil – don’t forget to keep track with LABELS!

3. Find Their Sweet Spot: 

Indoor plants love bright INDIRECT sunlight or PARTIAL shade – it keeps them healthy without getting too crispy fried (ouch!). Place those pots where they’ll soak up just enough light but not direct beams of SUNSHINEY doom. 

Also, remember regular MISTING sessions so their soil stays nice n’ moist.


4. Watch & Wait:

Patience is key here as germination takes its sweet ol time. Depending on the TEMPERATURE and HUMIDITY, you’ll see some action in around 3 to 4 weeks. 

Keep an eye out for those tiny green SHOOTS making their grand entrance from the soil. That’s when you know your little foxtail ferns are sprouting up!

5. Time for a New Home:

Once your seedlings start TAKING OVER their pots with rooty goodness. I know it’s time to give them more SPACE to spread out! 

Gently lift them from their current homes using a small TROWEL or SPOON. Then transplant them into slightly larger pots filled with FRESH potting soil.

Best Tips to Care Foxtail Fern

Best Tips to Care Foxtail Fern

Here are foxtail fern care tips: 

1. Light: 

Foxtail ferns are indoor plants that love bright INDIRECT light, you know? They can also handle some PARTIAL shade but will grow LESS strong and fluffy. I give mine at least 5 hours of sunlight daily for best results.

2. Water: 

A key to foxtail fern care is NOT drowning them with water! These bad boys are tough and DROUGHT TOLERANT, but ain’t a fan of soggy soil which leads straight to root rot city. 

I just let the top inch of soil dry out between watering sessions. And then shower my plant until the EXCESS DRAINS outta there. Oh yeah, they go snooze mode during winter, so you can ease off on watering frequency.

3. Temperature: 

Foxtail ferns like it warm because they’re TROPICAL plants like me! Keep temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C) for good happy plants.

Anything below 55°F makes them suffer, so bring them inside during WINTER or cover them up from frosty nights!

4. Humidity:

Best Tips to Care Foxtail Fern3

Another foxtail fern care tip is to give them enough HUMIDITY. Just like us, humans need moisture sometimes, right?

Foxtail ferns thrive in HUMID environments. So mist or place them in a PEBBLE TRAY filled with wet pebbles and water

Or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can use a HUMIDIFIER to keep the air nice and moist for your foxtail fern. Trust me. They’ll thank you for it!

5. Fertilizer: 

So, foxtail ferns AREN’T PICKY eaters. But they do enjoy some fertilizer during the growing season. Treat them with a DILUTED liquid fertilizer every other week from spring to fall. 

This will give their growth and health a little BOOST, you know? But remember to take a break in winter when they’re hibernating – no need for extra nutrients then!

6. Soil: 

Foxtail ferns grow well in soil rich in ORGANIC matter that DRAINS WELL too! I use a potting mix with peat moss, perlite, compost, or vermiculite for my green pals. 

It gives them just the right amount of MOISTURE and AIR BALANCE so they can thrive happily! Add sand or gravel into the mix if you want to be extra cautious about drainage issues (avoiding soggy bottoms!).

7. Pruning: 

Trimming isn’t necessary for your foxy friends’ growth, but it does have its perks! By snipping off dead stems at their base using sharp scissors or pruning shears (carefully now!). 

You’ll encourage new growth while keeping pesky DISEASES and PESTS away.

Plus, it adds an instant makeover – who doesn’t love that?

8. Pest Control:

You might get UNWANTED visitors that might bug your foxtail ferns – spider mites! Ugh, they’re such a pain.

These tiny creatures love to suck the life out of your fern’s STEMS and LEAVES, turning them YELLOW and dry. But don’t worry. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve!

To kick those mites out of there, spray your foxtail fern with NEEM OIL or INSECTICIDAL SOAP. I make sure I cover every nook and cranny of the plant. And if you spot any dusty webs or dirt on their stems and leaves (gross!), just wipe them off with a DAMP cloth.

Your feisty little foxtails will thank you for it!

Garden Uses of Foxtail Fern

Garden Uses of Foxtail Fern

This versatile and ATTRACTIVE PLANT is a total game-changer in your garden. Check out some fun ways you can enjoy this FEATHERY wonder:

1. Flower arrangements: 

Foxtail ferns are FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS, champs! They add that extra oomph to indoor and outdoor bouquets with EMERALD PLUMES. These babies last long in the water, giving you endless floral joy. And guess what? You can even dry them up for wreaths or crafty projects!

2. Coastal gardens: 

If you’re lucky enough to have a COASTAL GARDEN, foxtail ferns are your go-to buddies. They handle salt spray like pros, along with gusty winds and sandy soil. Talk about versatility! 

Did I mention they keep things interesting all YEAR ROUND with evergreen foliage

Plant them in containers, HANGING BASKETS, or as GROUND COVER – choices aplenty!

3. Perennial borders:

This bad boy brings serious style when it comes to EVERGREEN PERENNIAL BORDERS. It forms a lush backdrop of green goodness that other plants envy. 

I’m talking about WEED SUPPRESSION skills while keeping moisture locked down. Mix it up with lavender, salvia, or agapanthus for interesting results.

How to Propagate Foxtail Ferns?

Propagate Foxtail Ferns

So you wanna multiply your foxtail fern crew, huh? No problemo! Here are some easy-breezy tips to get it done:

1. Choose a healthy foxtail fern plant. 

Step one is to pick a STRONG and VIBRANT foxtail fern plant with LOTS of stems and leaves. Gotta make sure the parent plant is in tip-top shape!

2. Cut or divide the stems. 

Time for some snip-snip action! Depending on your preference, grab SHARP SCISSORS or a KNIFE and cut those stems like a champ. 

For stem cuttings, I usually go for 4-6 inch long ones with at least TWO NODES (those points where leaves pop out). 

If division’s more your style, use that trusty tool to slice through the ROOT BALL into many sections. Each section should have ROOTS and STEMS.

3. Use rooting hormone on the cuttings.

Propagate Foxtail Ferns

Let’s give those babies an extra BOOST! Dip their freshly-cut ends in rooting hormone powder or gel. This stuff helps them develop awesome roots FASTER.

4. Plant the cuttings or divisions. 

Grab some pots filled with well-draining POTTING MIX in your indoor garden. Then just dig holes in the center, and pop these newbies right in. And then gently FIRM UP the soil around them. Let nature do its magic from here.

FAQs about Foxtail Fern

1. Is foxtail fern toxic to humans?

The foxtail fern plant is pretty cool and won’t mess with us humans. But hey, some folks might have sensitive skin or allergies that could get irritated by it. 
So if you’ll handle this plant, be smart and rock those gloves for protection! And keep it out of reach from the kiddos and fur babies – safety first, people!

2. When is the best time to cut back foxtail fern, late fall or early spring?

Pruning is key if you’re lookin’ to keep your foxtail fern in tip-top shape. Early spring’s the sweet spot – you can snip away any dead or damaged fronds before new growth kicks in. 

These ferns are speedy growers and can get pretty dang big. So regular pruning will help them stay small and tidy.

3. What will kill foxtail fern?

Foxtail asparagus ferns are tough cookies and can handle a lot. They’re not invincible, either. If you want to say “goodbye” to them, there’s a trick. Cut those stems and hit them with some potent herbicide like triclopyr. That’ll stop any new shoots from popping up and eventually kill that root ball.

But here’s the thing: 

These ferns have a sneaky tuberous root system that stores water and nutrients. So if you wanna be thorough in your plant-killing quest, make sure no roots are left behind! Trust me, even just one tiny sprout of the foxtail asparagus fern – can bring it all back!

4. Why do foxtail fern leaves turn yellow?

Sometimes our foxtail fern buddies can have some yellow leaves – and one reason for that is root rot. Those roots get all messed up, and the poor plant can’t absorb nutrients or water properly anymore. 

Pesky pests like spider mites or scale insects can also cause yellow leaves. These little buggers munch on the sap of our beloved foxtail ferns. That causes damage to their foliage.

Too much sun can burn the leaves on your foxtail fern, causing them to turn yellow. So don’t go putting your buddy in direct blazing sun. 

5. How long does it take for a foxtail fern to grow new shoots?

The foxtail fern’s first leaf can grow up to 1 inch long. And it only takes about 40 days for these plants to reach maturity and develop seeds. Pretty cool, right?

What’s Next

Wanna know what we chatted about? The foxtail fern! It’s basically this cool-looking ferny plant that looks like a fluffy tail. We covered the good stuff from where to grow it, to how to plant and take care of it.

Oh, and don’t forget the fun part – using it in your garden and multiplying more plants with cuttings or divisions

Have you been bitten by the foxtail fern bug? Well, lucky for you, AsterGardening has the inside scoop on this baby. 

But that’s not all.

Do you have any gardening challenges or need expert advice on anything plant-related? Swing by and discover a world of solutions to make your garden THRIVE!

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Shaafay Zia

Hi, I'm a fellow green thumb who moonlight's as a writer. Gardening is something that brings me peace and I have been in the sport for many years now. With all of our expertise, we will always bring you the best content which will make you love your garden, even more.