Foxtail Fern Care: Growing and Caring Guide 

 April 24, 2022

By  admin

A fern is a plant that can be grown in various ways. Some people enjoy propagating them, some like to grow the spores and have their own plants come up out of it, while others even take care of your garden without any human presence at all! With this article I will go through the process on how you can make sure everything goes smoothly when taking care of these cool plants.

The “how to care for foxtail fern in winter” is a guide that will help you grow and care for your foxtail fern.

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When DIY gardeners hear “growing a fern,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? They may believe that ferns are ordinary plants found beneath trees or along roadsides, with nothing special about them. But what if we told you about an exotic fern type that is produced and collected by gardening enthusiasts and collectors all over the globe for gardening and home decoration?

We have an unusual plant species for you to learn about whether you’re an aspiring gardener or a plant enthusiast — the foxtail fern plant.

The asparagus fern, also known as the foxtail fern, is a delicate, feathery plant that resembles a fox’s tail. It is a perennial plant with light green leaves that makes a lovely addition to the backyards of plant collectors and gardeners owing to its ease of maintenance.

They are invasive weeds in many regions and are native to southern Africa. They are currently produced and planted for the purpose of house decorating or ornamentation.

Foxtail Plant Characteristics

The beautiful emerald-green foxtail ferns are evergreen, lively plants that may grow to be 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. On arching stems, there are needle-like leaves, and new growth appears as cylindrical spears. Not to mention that, despite its fern-like appearance, the plant is really a member of the lily family.

The foliage develops a light green color when growing in full shade. The fronds or leaf stems become dark green when partially exposed to sunlight.

The capacity of foxtail ferns to grow vigorously above and below the earth is a crucial feature. Furthermore, the bulb-like roots of this plant may swiftly spread and are invasive in nature.

This plant produces little, fragrant blooms that bloom late in the spring and early in the summer. Following that, the blossoms turn into tiny, beautiful, brilliant red berries that mature as fall approaches.

Do you have any plants in your collection that can’t be exposed to direct sunlight? Here are 13 backyard shed ideas to help you create a safe environment for your DIY gardening endeavors to flourish.

What Is the Best Way to Grow Foxtail Ferns?

A foxtail fern is easier to grow than you may think. Plant the dissected root or stem of the fern in a high-quality potting mix once the plant has been propagated (described later in the article). Additionally, maintaining the Temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit promotes the fern’s long-term development.

Because this is a fast-growing plant, you should fertilize it once a month throughout the growth season using a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Because the growth is dormant throughout the winter, avoid over-fertilizing and over-watering.

The fern should also be clipped on a regular basis to maintain its bushy look and limit upward growth. Once a year, at the start of spring, transplant the plant to a bigger container.

Bonus Read: Having trouble deciding the equipment you’ll need to cultivate and care for your plants? Here is a collection of gardening items that can assist you in becoming a gardening pro!

How Do You Take Care of Foxtail Ferns?

In comparison to other fern species, Foxtail ferns are quite simple to cultivate and need minimal fundamental conditions for long-term growth. Due to their gorgeous and alluring green foliage and minimal care qualities, these plants are a good option for both novice and expert gardeners.

Let’s look at how to properly care for foxtail ferns.


Foxtail plants thrive in somewhat shady areas with some indirect sunshine. Because most ferns grow near the foot of bigger plants, it’s safe to assume they need to be protected from direct sunlight.

When grown outdoors, it’s best to put a foxtail fern in a location that receives soft morning light and is partially sheltered for the remainder of the day. Remember that the plant must be protected from the intense afternoon sun to avoid leaf browning.

Plant the fern in a sunny spot inside, such as a window sill or a location that gets indirect sunlight throughout the day. If required, protect the plant with a semi-transparent window curtain to decrease the amount of sunshine it receives.

Examine the plant’s leaves on a regular basis to see whether they are getting enough sunshine.

Caution: Constant exposure to sunlight causes the leaves to yellow and the plant’s green brilliance to fade.


Foxtail ferns thrive in a variety of soils as long as they are well-drained to prevent the roots from being stuck in wet, oversaturated soil. Organically rich, somewhat acidic, and well-drained soil is essential for the plant’s optimal development.

When growing the foxtail fern indoors, use a loose, well-drained, soil-based potting mix. The usage of a combination of peat moss, perlite, and a tiny bit of liquid houseplant fertilizer aids the plant’s healthy development.

Note that peat moss is somewhat acidic and assists in water retention, but perlite promotes drainage and guarantees that the potting mixture has ample plant oxygen.

Compost or mulch added to the potted or garden soil during the growing period helps the plants flourish. Not to mention, compost supplies biologically rich nutrients to the plants, while mulch keeps the soil wet.

Plant the foxtail fern in a spot with rich, nutritious soil when growing it outside. If the soil isn’t optimal for growing ferns, add some compost to help it along.

Remember to plant them in at least 3 square feet of space and provide at least an inch of space between them and other plants. This is due to the plant’s very invasive root system, which, if not firmly planted, may progressively destroy other plants.


Foxtail ferns have a tuberous root structure that stores surplus water in the same way as succulent plants like cacti do. As a result, the plant is drought-tolerant, needing fewer watering cycles than other plants.

Overwatering foxtail ferns is a no-no, since the roots become susceptible to root rot. Only water the plants when the top 2-3 inches of soil get dry.

During the growth season, foxtail ferns need weekly watering, however this decreases during the winter. In addition, rather of having a set watering schedule, water the plant by evaluating the moisture of the soil.

Outdoors, the plant will need to be watered once a week, or somewhat more if there isn’t enough rain. Due to the fern’s roots’ ability to retain water, the soil surrounding the plant will never dry up. As a result, the soil is kept wet.

Due to your hectic schedule, you’re having trouble watering the exotic plants in your collection. In 2022, these are the top 7 self-watering planters.


Foxtail ferns are endemic to the southern areas of Africa and flourish in warm tropical conditions. They may be cultivated all year in USDA zones 9-11 or inside as a decorative plant since the climate in a home is ideal for them.

USDA zones represent the degree of hardiness or climatic conditions in a certain region of the nation. USDA zones 9-11 indicate that the climate in this area is warm or tropical.

Foxtail ferns prefer temperatures of 18 to 24 degrees Celsius, however they have been reported to tolerate temperatures as low as -4 degrees Celsius. However, any temperature below 10 degrees may cause serious plant damage, so keep an eye on them and protect them from frosts.

These ferns may be kept in the garden all year in tropical areas. However, if you live in a cooler area, you should cultivate the plant throughout the summer. During the winter, remember to bring the plant indoors.


Foxtail ferns, which are native to tropical regions, flourish in humid environments with moderate to high humidity. Growing these ferns outside in tropical areas is often not a problem.

When foxtail ferns are cultivated inside, however, the humidity level is quite low, allowing the ferns to flourish. You might use one of the three methods listed below to boost humidity around the plants.

  • Misting leaves on a regular basis to provide moisture
  • Using a humidifier in the room
  • By placing the plant on top of a watered pebble tray and clustering the tropical plants, a humid microclimate is created.


The development of foxtail varieties does not need a lot of fertilizer. During the growth stage, you may feed the plant with a half-strength liquid houseplant fertilizer.

Remember that natural fertilizers or houseplants are always the best choices for your plants. Artificial mineral salt-based fertilizers may raise the salinity of the soil, causing the plant to suffer.

Seaweed, plant extracts, liquid kelp, and compost tea are all natural fertilizer elements that may be used at home.

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How to Care for Foxtail Ferns in Other Ways

There are times when foxtail ferns demand special attention to make them seem even more attractive and captivating. Here are a few more methods to care for your ferns.


Because foxtail ferns grow so quickly in comparison to other tropical plants, you’ll need to repot them every year. Choosing a new pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the original aids in root expansion and plant development.

Because the plant uses up the limited nutrients naturally contained in the prior soil, repotting aids the plant in gaining extra sustenance from the new soil. Additionally, keeping the plant in one container for an extended period of time might produce soil compaction, which can lead to drainage concerns.

Remember that repotting is an excellent time to inspect the roots for any symptoms of illness. The taproot is ready for vegetative multiplication if the symptoms are absent.


For managing growth and keeping form, foxtail fern plants do not need pruning. It is only necessary for removing dead branches or stems in order to promote new growth and preserve plant health. At the same time, removing the dead branches may aid in the plant’s rejuvenation.

Cut old woody stems with sharp shears or secateurs and remove any damaged plant components. Because ferns are strong and resistant, they can withstand rigorous trimming without harming their health.


The propagation of foxtail ferns is a simple procedure. It is accomplished by the plant’s tube root division, and the optimal time to do it is during the repotting process.

Lift the plant from the container and brush off any excess dirt on the roots when propagating a potted foxtail. Place it horizontally and use a sharp, sterilized scalpel or knife to cut the tube root into 2-3 sections. After that, place each root cutting in a separate container with well-drained potting soil and some water.

Slice down into the centre of a foxtail plant while it is still immersed in the soil while propagating it outside. Remove the plant piece you wish to relocate from the centre and plant it in a position that is optimum for the fern’s development.

Defend against pests and diseases

Pests and illnesses aren’t a big problem for foxtail ferns, but they might cause problems if you don’t take proper care of them. The following are some of the potential threats to foxtail ferns:


As previously mentioned, foxtail fern taproots store excess water for future use, and overwatering may result in fungal or bacterial illnesses. These diseases cause root degradation and the plant’s mortality. Yellowing or loss of leaves are early signs of root rot.

Always remember to water the plant based on its moisture level rather than a watering schedule. Even better, wait until the top 2-3 inches of soil have dried before watering the plant.

Repotting the plant into a new container with fresh potting soil is one potential treatment to a fungal infection. Before repotting, inspect the plant roots for indications of rot and remove any affected parts. If the fungal infection becomes unmanageable, an organic fungicide should be used instead.


Pests do not pose a significant danger to foxtails. Nonetheless, keep an eye out for little pests like mealybugs and scale insects.

Mealybugs are little white insects that feed on the sap of plant stems. They are fluffy and cotton-like in appearance and occur on branches and the undersides of leaves.

Scale insects are little, round oval-shaped insects that appear as red bumpy protrusions on the surface of woody stems or the underside of leaves.

Insecticidal soaps from a local garden shop may be used to control mealybugs and scale insects. If you want a more natural approach to pest control, consider making your own insecticidal spray using neem oil and dish detergent. Spray the plants with this solution until all pests have been eliminated.


Foxtail ferns have a well-known and gorgeous, rich, evergreen foliage that gives them a famous personality. Their feather-textured leaves and gleaming green hue make for a wonderful attractive show both inside and out.

We recommend being aware of their invasive activity and potential to disrupt your garden’s natural equilibrium. Store the foxtail plants apart from your other cherished planter efforts, or keep them in distinct containers.

Because of their water storage capacity and tolerance to pests and diseases, the foxtail fern may be cared for virtually carelessly and with little maintenance. As a result, the plant may make a wonderful addition to any gardener’s or collector’s plant collection.

Bonus Read: Are you having trouble getting weeds out of the soil in your well-kept backyard? Here are the top 6 weed pullers for gardeners in 2022 to help them avoid the difficulty of weeds.

The “foxtail fern indoor or outdoor” is a plant that is commonly used for its beautiful foliage. This guide will help you care for it and grow it indoors or outdoors.

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Emil Schoene

Born and raised in Austin, TX I come from a background of home renovation. By helping my family in my younger years with their construction business, I learned the ropes quickly and as I grew it became my passion that I still do today. Looking to share my knowledge with others. I invite you to leave comments on any post as I know you will have questions that you are not finding anywhere else.

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