How to Compost Asparagus Ferns


Gardeners and landscapers often grow asparagus ferns (Asparagus densiflorus) for their delicate foliage and crimson, ornamental berries. It's also sometimes considered a weed, according to the University of Florida. If you've removed several asparagus fern plants, whether they were weeds or ornamental specimens, compost them instead of discarding them to recycle the plant into a rich soil amendment.

Step 1

Dig out the asparagus fern with a spade, if you haven't removed the plants already. Collect any berries that may have fallen off the fern during the removal process, as these may sprout into new asparagus fern plants.

Step 2

Place the removed fern in a bucket or on a plastic tarp, or any other surface where the plant isn't in contact with soil so it won't take root again. Allow the plant to dry out for three to four weeks or until the plant is dead.

Step 3

Chop up the asparagus fern into small, two- to three-inch pieces. Use pruning shears or run over the dead plant with your lawn mower.

Step 4

Throw the shredded asparagus fern into your compost pile or compost bin. Incorporate it into the coarse, dry layer of your pile. Layer six inches of dried organic matter with four to five inches of green organic matter, followed by an inch of soil. Repeat as needed to build your compost pile.

Step 5

Harvest the compost when it's done decomposing. Compost can take anywhere from two to eight months to fully decompose, depending on your climate and method of decomposition. Compost is ready when it's dark and crumbly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never compost a green, living asparagus fern. The hardy plant may take root in your compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Bucket or tarp
  • Pruning shears or lawn mower
  • Compost pile or compost bin
  • Composting matter


  • "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide"; Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin; 2008
  • University of Florida: Asparagus Ferns
Keywords: compost asparagus ferns, kill asparagus ferns, mulch asparagus ferns

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.