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How to Care for a Foxtail Fern Plant

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated July 21, 2017

The foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers') is a type of asparagus fern. With its dog-tail-shaped fronds and needle-like foliage, foxtails aren't really ferns, but they are related to the asparagus vegetable. Foxtail ferns are drought tolerant and not bothered by pests or diseases. Gardeners in warm regions, such as U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10 and 11, can grow their foxtails in the garden, where they can be planted and forgotten. The rest of the country can grow foxtail fern as an easy-care houseplant.

Grow the foxtail fern in a soil that contains equal parts of peat moss and potting soil. Make sure the container has good drainage.

Place the foxtail in an area of the home that receives bright, filtered sunlight. During the winter you can provide it with direct morning sun and afternoon shade. When the weather is warm, place it outdoors in a lightly shaded area, if you like.

Pinch 1 inch off the tips of stems periodically to encourage the foxtail fern to produce new growth.

Rejuvenate an old foxtail fern with sparse growth by cutting the stems back to the soil.

Fertilize the foxtail fern in the spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer, applied to the soil, at the rate suggested on the fertilizer label. Water after fertilizing.

Repot the foxtail fern when the roots begin pushing up the surface of the soil. Transplant it into the next size larger pot, using a combination of equal parts of potting soil and peat moss.


About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.