Asparagus Ferns are one of our favourite houseplants here at Fiddle & Thorn and they are really easy to propagate too. Their delicate leaves make you think that they are tricky to care for but they are actually pretty hardy and can deal with quite a bit!
Anyone who loves Asparagus Ferns as much as we do, will also probably be desperate to know what methods you can use to propagate them, as well as how easy and quick it is… Well, the good news is that propagating Asparagus Ferns really couldn’t be easier but the only downside is that you can only propagate them through division of the mother plant. It’s not possible to propagate Asparagus Ferns through their leaves as they have tuberous roots that are best divided. But more on that later…
In this post we will cover the step by step process of propagating an Asparagus Fern as well as what tools you’ll need, issues you may face and all of our tips for a successful Asparagus Fern propagation.
Why propagate an Asparagus Fern?
There are several reasons why you might choose to propagate your Asparagus Fern. Firstly, lots of people want to simply multiply the number of plants you have without actually having to buy any more. Offshoots of your Asparagus Fern will also make great gifts for friends and family.
Another reason you might want to propagate your Asparagus Fern is if it has become too big for the space or quite leggy. Dividing your plant and pruning it back can help shape your plant better and you can propagate any sections of the plant that you take away (provided the plant is divided by the root system).
You may also choose to propagate your Asparagus Fern if part of it is sunburnt or starting to die. You just want to be sure that the section of the plant you are propagating is healthy and pest-free. Otherwise, the illness or pests will transfer onto your new Asparagus Fern, which really isn’t ideal!!
What tools will I need to propagate my Asparagus Fern?
Let’s start off with the easiest part. It’s important to make sure you have all the right things before taking the first cutting!
Healthy and mature Asparagus Fern
Fresh soil and water
Newspaper or plastic sheet
What methods can I use to propagate my Asparagus Fern?
Unlike many other houseplants, Asparagus Ferns have tuberous roots which means stem cuttings won’t grow any roots. There is only really one way to successfully propagate an Asparagus Fern which is through division of a large mother plant. This means you will need quite a mature Asparagus Fern with various natural offshoots to be able to make two or more plants out of it which can be a bit of a barrier if your plant is still quite young.
How to propagate an Asparagus Fern by division of the mother plant
Take your Asparagus Fern out of its pot
To be able to divide your Asparagus Fern you’ll need to locate the natural offshoots of the plant so start by taking it carefully out of the pot. Asparagus Ferns have very thin leaves so don’t tug too hard at the plant to remove it or you risk causing damage to your plant.
Shake off the potting mix around the roots and run your fingers through the roots if they are quite packed together.
Locate the various offshoots on your Asparagus Fern
When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious where the natural offshoots are. Each section will have its own root system that can be separated to form a new plant.
Separate the sections
You may have to trim off the odd root with your scissors if they aren’t detangling easily, but you should be able to carefully pull the offshoots apart from each other. When doing this, you want to make sure that each part of the plant has a substantial amount of the root system to aid a successful Asparagus Fern propagation. The number of new plants you make at this stage is completely up to you and how bushy or small you want them to be.
Place in water or fresh potting mix
Pot the main mother Asparagus Fern plant back into its original pot (or downsize to a smaller pot if you have taken away a large amount of the Fern).
Now the next step is to decide whether you want to grow your new offshoots in water before potting into soil. You only really need to do this if the sections have very short roots but usually with division we go straight into potting mix.
We recommend using a high-quality potting mix to make sure your cuttings are getting the right mix of nutrients. Our top choice for soil would be this potting mix from Miracle Gro. Carefully place your cuttings a few centimetres into the soil.
Continue normal care
If your cutting is now in fresh potting mix then you can care for it as you would your mother Asparagus Fern. If it’s in water first you want to refresh that water every couple of days and repot into potting mix once the roots have grown.
You can use a light monitor to figure out if you’re Asparagus Fern cuttings are getting the right amount of sunlight. You can also supplement sunlight levels by using an LED grow light which are great at encouraging growth in cuttings. We love this one which is available on Amazon here.
Asparagus Fern Propagation FAQs
Below you’ll find all the answers to your Asparagus Fern propagation questions, from time of year to equipment you can use to aid success.
You want to propagate in spring/summer for the best chance at a successful propagation. Make sure that any wintery cold weather is behind you so that your new plants are growing in warmer brighter months as this will speed up growth and help them recover from any post-propagation stress!
As you will be dividing the plant, rather than growing cuttings it won’t matter so much about doing it at the start of the warm weather as the process is much quicker. Propagating Asparagus Ferns in autumn or winter is still possible but will mean your new, now less mature plants won’t be growing as fast and the risk of root rot is much higher!
As you are propagating through division, rooting hormone is not as needed as each section will already have established roots.
Grow lights are great to use when propagating houseplants as they provide ideal light conditions for young seeds and cuttings. They can avoid problems caused by a lack of sunlight and help to stimulate growth. Grow lights can also be used more generally on your mature houseplants if they don’t get enough light in autumn and winter so are a great investment for any plant parent and useful for Asparagus Fern propagation.
It’s important to clean your tools before and after contact with a plant to stop any cross-contamination between your plants. Scissors and shears can transfer pests and diseases across plants that you might not even realise are there.
Unfortunately, no! The only ways to grow new Asparagus Ferns is by division of the mother plant or by germinating seeds (but this is a very length and often unsuccessful process).
Common problems when propagating an Asparagus Fern
Propagating plants doesn’t always have 100% success and you may encounter some problems along the way. But don’t worry, below you can figure out what is causing these problems to arise and hopefully solve them before it kills your plant cuttings.
Propagating Asparagus Ferns through division means that you will see a lot faster growth than with other houseplants where you might choose to propagating through a stem or leaf cutting. However, this doesn’t mean you can expect to see instant results and it may take a few weeks/ months for your plant to establish itself in its new pot and grow new leaves. Be patient though and with the right care and environment, you shouldn’t run into too many issues.
If you are trying to propagate when the temperatures aren’t super high in your home then this may be the cause of the lack of growth. You can help to speed up root growth by using a heat pad that you place underneath your new Asparagus Ferns. This warms up the area and provides an ideal environment for new growth.
If the leaves on your new Asparagus Fern are turning yellow then it may be due to too much direct sunlight which has burnt or scorched the leaves. Try out using a light monitor to gauge a better spot for your cuttings!
Root rot can also be a problem that Asparagus Ferns are sensitive to so check out the soil moisture and go from there.
We hope you have found this complete guide to Asparagus Fern propagation useful. It’s never an exact science and sometimes it will take a while for your plant to recover and grow more leaves. But with the right methods, care routine, warmth and light level you should find success.
Check out our detailed Asparagus Fern care guide to find all the information on how to continue to care for your new plants!
Written by Billy Dawson