Foxtail FernAsparagus densiflorus
|Size||4' x 3'|
|Exposure||Full Sun to Partial Shade|
The berries can be toxic if eaten.
This low-growing evergreen has feathery, upright, bright green, needle-like stems and trailing branches. It is not a true fern but has fern-like foliage and a dense growth habit, growing two to three feet tall and three to four feet wide. It has a tall, fluffy frond-like appearance. In the summer, it produces small, white blossoms followed by bright red berries. The flowers and berries do not appear every year and the berries can be toxic if eaten. Use the foxtail fern as a groundcover, container plant, sculptural foundation, and border or courtyard plant in tropical settings or around pools and borders. Mix into beds with perennials and other lush plants. It is a native to South Africa, where it grows naturally along coastal areas of the southeastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, most commonly in open areas, in rocky soils, and along coastal dunes.
The foxtail fern takes full sun to partial shade, but grows more densely in full sun. This plant likes well-draining, amended soil for optimum growth. The foxtail fern has an extensive root system with large tubers that can store water and food during periods of drought. It is easily divided by its root system to propagate and grow in other parts of the landscape. The plant is hardy to twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit and if frozen back, it resumes growth in the spring. Prune off all of its frozen parts to the ground to hasten new growth. It is somewhat drought-resistant, but does better with regular irrigation.