Asparagus: Greenhouse Plants

FF – frost free only

Family: Liliaceae

mostly Africa

An extremely versatile group of plants, Asparagus are excellent either grown as foliage specimens or as a foil for other plants being displayed in the greenhouse. They can all withstand low temperatures, fluctuations, being potbound and other forms of neglect. However, they are even more handsome if taken some care over. I get very annoyed when they are called ‘ferns’ because they are flowering plants despite their fern-like appearance and bear small white flowers often followed by berries. They very quickly become potbound and can be divided. However, their thick fleshy roots knit together so thickly this becomes difficult. I once resorted to sawing the roots of Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ apart but it suffered no setback despite this rough treatment. This plant from Natal has quite vicious little prickles. A. plumosus (setaceus) ‘Nanus’ is the typical ‘fern’ often met with in conjunction with carnation buttonholes. My favourite is another form of A. densiflorus, A. d. ‘Myers’, sometimes called A. myersii or A. ‘Myers Variety’. It is strong growing and produces dense tails of growth springing from the centre of the plant. A good specimen is a splendid 1 m (3 ft) around. They can be propagated by seed. This is hard and needs to be soaked for 24 hours, prior to germination at 15-21°C (60-70°F).

I keep meaning to try A. falcatus from Ceylon which is available from seed. It is a large climbing species, and with white bell-shaped flowers 5 cm (2 in) long sounds promising.

29. June 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on Asparagus: Greenhouse Plants

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