Overwintering Asparagus Fern

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Daniel Mosquin, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    9,981
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    The following was received via email:

    I live in Vancouver, in an apartment with electric heat. I have a small, protected balcony where my asparagus fern has happily hung all summer. I had intended to treat it as an annual and pitch it when the foul weather arrived, as I know bringing it in will simply result in all the tiny leaves turning brown and dropping all over the floor (and they are as resistant to a vacuum cleaner as christmas tree needles!). The plant has surprised me with its lush growth and if there is a way to overwinter it, I would like to do so.

    Can you advise me how to treat this plant to bring it through the winter?
     
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    974
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Asparagus "ferns" are tender plants that are happiest under cool greenhouse conditions over winter (you're right to be concerned about leaf-drop in your dry apartment).

    You could construct a coldframe on a balcony, but if it gets cold for any extended period, it won't provide enough protection. An old trick is to place an incandescent light bulb in a box under your coldframe. This will provide considerable heat on the coldest nights. Cut back foliage to a manageable size and keep plants on the dry side under these conditions

    Another possibility is to cut back the foliage, unpot the plant, choose a few of the best looking tubers, cut them out and repot them separately into small pots. Enclose the pots in partially closed plastic bags (such as zip-lock bags), and place them in a bright place inside. If you can keep the pests off, they should be ready to go back outside in late spring.
     

Share This Page