Thursday, February 20, 2014

Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii' is my favorite plant (kind of in the garden) this week…

Commonly known as the Foxtail Fern (in fact I’m hoping I’ve got the right botanical name above in the title, since my plant came unlabeled), I finally broke down and purchased one last May, at the Rare Plant Research open house. I resisted for the longest time, there was just something about this plant that made me less than a fan. However as frequently happens my opinion changed, completely!

While I would be thrilled to plant a row of their fluffy plumes along the fence line behind the shade pavilion, that isn't going happen because they aren’t reliably hardy in my climate. Instead mine’s in a container where it can be protected from winter’s crazy temperatures. Which brings me to why it’s my fav…

Those berries! I discovered these red and green berries when I moving things around in the shade pavilion “greenhouse” to make room for refugees from the snow and ice.

Of course the fluffy "tails"are always a draw.

After I was done photographing I went to tuck it back into its spot and narrowly missed touching this, a baby slug. Ugh.

Here it is, all tucked away. Things are getting tight in the s.p. greenhouse, what with the new plants that have been following me home. Notice that sweet trunking Yucca aloifolia, another treasure from Cistus. I can’t wait to get planting!!!

The stats on the Foxtail Fern…
  • evergreen perennial hardy in USDA Zones 9-11
  • likes average water, said to be somewhat drought tolerant
  • native to South Africa where it grows in coastal areas
  • white flowers in the spring
  • likes sun to bright shade (mine was in almost full shade all summer and did fine)
  • 1-2 ft tall and wide


All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

30 comments:

  1. nice berries.... rather unusual plant that gives out such perfect looking berries.

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    1. I wish there were more! (berries)

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  2. I've been intrigued by foxtail fern too, but its non-hardiness always holds me back. Those are great berries!

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    1. But now you've got a greenhouse!

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  3. A fun plant to be sure but I loved the views inside your shade pavillion greenhouse! You are so good at keeping plants happy and healthy through the winter!

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    1. And you are a very kind commenter.

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  4. It's marginally hardy in my 8b coastal south garden where it hung out in two different spots in the garden for 3-4 years, dying back to the ground and recovering.

    I am thankful that I got the idea last summer to pot it up with Begonias and Spider Plants and it survived greenly this winter. You'll have a place for it now, Alison.

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    1. Interesting to know it will come back from the roots.

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  5. It's a good foliage plant - I inherited several with our current house. I've seen the berries but I can't say I ever recall seeing the flowers. My contribution this week, also purchased for its foliage, is currently covered in flowers but those should fall to the wayside by summer: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-favorite-plant-this-week-coleonema.html

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    1. I remember seeing tiny white flowers last summer, at first I thought they were some sort of bug.

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  6. The temptation to stroke it is always there whenever I see one. And it also always reminds me of sideshow bob's hair!

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    1. Indeed, like a cat's tail (since I would never stroke a foxes tail). Not being a Simpsons fan I had to look up sideshow bob, now that I know who he is I agree!

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  7. I've had one in a pot for 3+ years and love it. In fact, I recently bought another asparagus, Asparagus retrofractus. They do really well here in the shade and don't need much water.

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    1. Ah that retrofractus looks like a goof one with it's little pom-poms of foliage.

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    2. Oh! Asparagus retrofractus - that's the name I've been looking for. That one does well in a pot in Phoenix - I've never seen it offered anywhere. Now that I have a name I will look on line. Thank you, Gerhard!

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  8. Off topic, but I was doing a search on eryngium, and I came across a site that appears to be using your content: http://bluefoxgarden.blogspot.com/ As soon as I started reading the post, I thought--hmm, this writing and these pictures remind me so much of Danger Garden. And sure enough, that's where they're from! Just thought you should know...

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    1. Thank you so much for this tip! Looks like I have a not-so-fun project ahead.

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    2. Outright theft and brazen enough to not only steal content but to leave your copyright information on their site. Theft of your material AND your friends.

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  9. It looks more like 'Sprengeri' to me, which reseeds like crazy here Kind of a weed for us. Could just be the climate difference, though. They contrast nicely with Agaves.

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    1. I bought a few 'Sprengeri' last summer to fill in a bare spot for a photo-shoot (gotta love those 1/2 price deals at the end of summer) so I'm pretty sure it's not that. They were much more open and less tail like (who knows, maybe they were mis-marked!). Reseed like crazy huh? Your climate is so different!

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    2. Agree with Hoover Boo. This is Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'. Maybe 'Nanus" a more compact form.

      I have 4 different kinds of asparagus growing in my yard. Darn weeds, very difficult to remove. Thorny. Small bulbous roots break off and grow. Birds plant the seeds as well. Ugh. Only 'Meyersi' behaves itself. Some pics online mislabeled. Think of the flowers as very small lilies which they are.

      "Foxtail fern (P. densiflorus cv. 'Myersii') has stiffly upright stems to 2' long, with very dense, cylindrical plume-like foliage, giving the plant a fluffy, cloud-like appearance. The stems are like bottle brushes, 2-3" in diameter, and tapering gradually to the tips.

      Emerald fern or emerald feather (P. densiflorus cv. 'Sprengeri') has arching and drooping foliage 3-4' long, with needlelike stems in dense clusters. It has an open, spreading appearance, and heavily scented flowers. This is the most common ornamental asparagus in cultivation. Several other selections are available including 'Sprengeri Deflexus' with broader leaf-like stems; 'Sprengeri Nanus', that is a dwarf form; and 'Sprengeri Robustus' that is larger."

      http://www.floridata.com/ref/p/prot_den.cfm

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  10. I love that fluffiness, what an apt name. And the berries are very cute!
    My favourite: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_21.html

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    1. Okay I peeked at your fav. SO beautiful, I wish I could grow one.

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  11. I see you have one of our wild asparagus ferns. Somewhat intrigued to learn that this was one of the vegetables Jan van Riebeeck planted for the ships of the Dutch East India Company. Very delicate slender asparagus spears - but welcome as fresh green for the sailors!

    I've deleted my comment on your scraper. Good luck with that battle!

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    1. Interesting, I'm so happy you popped over here and shared that info (and thank you for your help regarding the scraper).

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  12. Great contrast with the bright orange pot. Oh, for a solarium...imagine the possibilities.

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    1. My last house in Spokane had the perfect set up for a solarium, it wasn't there of course but could have been built easily enough. Of course that's a trade off...garden in zone 5 with solarium, garden in zone 8 without. I pick zone!

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  13. dead things I pulled out today--included these.

    signed,

    lazy gardener

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  14. Those berries are cute! And they go well with the pot color.

    I featured my "bloom all winter" orange buddleia this week. http://gardeninguptoeleven.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-favorite-plant-this-week-buddleia.html

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  15. Fox tail does well in Phoenix - I water my potted one twice a week in high summer, and it does fine. I do keep it under the ramada so it gets some shade.

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