Asparagus Sprenger – the best option for cascading landscaping-Care

The familiar “hare chill” has lost its position in floristry, but has gained a completely new popularity as a houseplant. The most modest and popular type of asparagus is Sprenger’s asparagus – a plant that is far from inconspicuous. Unpretentious and easy to care for, it allows you to bring into the house a uniquely delicate and airy cascades of greenery, which will not seem too massive even in the most modest room. It is a unique species with special shoot arches and a completely friendly character.

Asparagus Sprenger is the best option for cascading landscaping. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com MiltonsGrdnMenagerie
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Asparagus Sprenger – the first among indoor asparagus

Airy, almost weightless, and at the same time – delightfully lush, openwork king asparagus is a relative of the very asparagus, whose young shoots are so good as a side dish. But this does not make it a boring plant.

Asparagus Sprenger is considered the simplest and most affordable species of asparagus. For fans of cascades, he is the best candidate for landscaping. But even more unpretentious, and at the same time “waterfall” in the form of a plant can not be found.

Asparagus Sprenger (Asparagus sprengeri) – the most recognizable name of the species and hybrids of asparagus, which are grown in a room format. Despite the fact that 17 years ago the plant was reclassified into another species of asparagus – asparagus эфиопский (Asparagus aethiopicus), in most directories it still remains under the old name. Often the name of the form is added to the base species name. blaster, or even varieties ‘Sprengeri’… So the names “Ethiopian asparagus” and “Sprenger’s asparagus” can be used as synonyms.

Asparagus Ethiopian, or Sprenger, belongs to the family of the same name Asparagus and is a climbing shrub. Despite drooping shoots, it is not a vine.

It is found, as it is quite obvious from the specific name, in South Africa. In nature, ornamental asparagus prefers to grow on mountain slopes, in fairly humid places.

It is a durable and very reliable plant that only becomes more beautiful with age if properly cared for. He has many nicknames, and indoor asparagus – the most unattractive of them, in contrast to emerald fern, green clouds or decorative asparagus.

Sprenger claims to be the most beautifully flowering asparagus
Sprenger claims to be the most beautifully flowering asparagus. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com MG HUBER

Description of the plant

This type of asparagus even has a special root system. Due to specific thickenings, the plant is able to store water and nutrients. The furrowed, sometimes smooth, glabrous and profusely branching stems of this plant amaze with their thinness and threadiness. They are not stable enough and can keep a straight shape only at the very beginning of growth.

Asparagus Sprenger became famous as one of the best “waterfalls” with ampelous graceful shoots up to 1,5 m long. In classic asparagus of this species, the twigs are really arcuate, even, elegant, creating delightful green fountains and waterfalls. And the longer they are, the stronger the illusion of the green cascade.

But there are varieties with straight shoots, and with shorter branches, developing in the form of spreading, fountain-like bushes. The filigree beauty of asparagus is provided by the soft “needles” that develop in them instead of the real leaves reduced to tiny scales.

With a length of up to 3 cm in width, the “needles” are limited to 1-2 mm. They are soft, gather in whorls and give their plant a lacy look. Thousands of details create almost airy clouds that you can admire endlessly. The height of plants, depending on the variety and conditions of keeping, can range from 20 cm in the most compact Sprenger asparagus to almost a meter in the best ampelous forms.

Ethiopian asparagus develop with an indistinct dormant period. If they are provided with a decrease in temperatures, growth stops completely, if they remain warm, then it only slows down a lot.

A rare pleasure – the flowering and fruiting of Sprenger’s asparagus

This species claims to be the most beautiful flowering asparagus. True, it is very rare to enjoy the beauty of flowering asparagus in an ordinary room setting; for this, plants need special conditions.

Flowering usually begins in the fifth year when grown from seed. Inflorescences are located in the axils of the lateral branches. Rare brushes and scutes with pinkish round buds bloom from bottom to top.

Strikingly elegant white flowers with six perianth lobes and long stamens decorated with pink-orange anthers, as if creating white lace on a green background, only enhancing the elegance of the plant. A delicate, refined aroma only emphasizes the feeling of unique elegance.

Fruiting for asparagus is not so uncommon, although only a few fruits usually ripen on indoor plants. The main thing is not to forget about the need to artificially pollinate the flowers using a soft brush.

Round “berries” turn red as they ripen, they look like elegant beads. It is very interesting to observe the color change through all the shades of the white-pale-pink scale to the final cold red. The berries of the plant are poisonous, but they hide seeds with a very high germination.

Fruiting for asparagus is not uncommon
Fruiting is not uncommon for asparagus. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Pedro García

Growing conditions for Sprenger’s asparagus

In order for Sprenger’s asparagus to retain its beauty and delight for many years, it is enough to take care of good lighting. This is a very undemanding plant that can easily find a comfortable place in the house.

Lighting and placement

The beauty of Sprenger’s asparagus directly depends on the kind of lighting provided to the plant. To make him look like a true star in the rooms, he needs to find a bright spot.

The plant signals uncomfortable lighting very quickly and brightly: if there is not enough light, the asparagus leaves begin to turn yellow and crumble, and the shoots stretch out. If you notice these problems in time, you can quickly restore the bushes by cutting the elongated branches.

This plant grows best on east and west windowsills or in a diffused lighting zone near south windows. Asparagus of this species is not afraid of direct sun, but the midday rays in rooms with south-facing windows can become too much stress for the plant.

For Ethiopian asparagus, for a dormant period, it is better to increase the lighting – more precisely, to rearrange it in lighter places, where the plant will not notice seasonal changes.

This plant reacts well to artificial light and can be used to decorate interiors, provided that phytolamps are used.

Placing Sprenger’s asparagus, it is worth taking care of the elevation and giving him the opportunity to “throw” his waterfalls from a height. With the correct selection of containers and the lightening of the substrate with inert materials, Ethiopian Asparagus is an ideal plant for decorating all kinds of shelves and racks. But he can create a feeling of a green cascade on dressers, on the windowsill, and in containers with legs, and on decorative stands.

Asparagus is good for a solo part, but it can be used to soften the lines of furniture, and to break up groups of plants with “airy” elements. Even the most massive and large-leaved partners, displayed next to the Ethiopian asparagus, seem much more graceful.

One of the unique abilities of the plant is the ability to visually enlarge the room and create a sense of spaciousness. It is suitable for decorating flower showcases, terrariums, compositions on snags and stumps, indoor rockeries and various variations of interior winter gardens.

Asparagus Sprenger visually enlarges the room and creates a sense of spaciousness
Sprenger’s Asparagus visually enlarges the room and creates a sense of spaciousness. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Plantify

Temperature control and ventilation

It is no coincidence that Ethiopian asparagus are so well suited for offices that they have become real favorites of interior designers. They love restrained, stable “room” temperatures – and the more stable the indicators, the closer they are to 20 degrees Celsius during the period of active development, the better.

The maximum temperature, which does not affect the beauty of the greenery, is 25 degrees Celsius. If this rate is exceeded, it is advisable to increase the humidity of the air and slightly lower the lighting to protect the plant from drying out, yellowing and shedding false leaves.

Cool wintering is important only if it is impossible to provide the plant with normal lighting or if its active flowering is achieved. In this case, the plant should be kept at a temperature of 10-12 to 15 degrees Celsius. In good lighting and high humidity, Ethiopian asparagus overwinters quite well in room conditions, and if it stretches out, it will quickly recover after pruning.

Asparagus love fresh air. Regular airing enhances the color and density of greenery, and summer in the fresh air can completely transform the bushes. At the same time, despite its airiness, Ethiopian asparagus is not as sensitive to drafts (apart from sudden changes in temperature) as many other types of asparagus.

But it is necessary to accustom the plant to an open mode of keeping and taking it out to the balcony or garden gradually, starting in May, taking it out to the balcony for hardening in the daytime (just like the seedlings of heat-loving flowers). In the garden, asparagus are afraid only of the direct sun.

Home care for Sprenger’s asparagus

All you need to worry about growing this plant is regular watering and proper soil moisture. It is one of the most undemanding indoor crops and is content with standard quality care. Of course, top dressing, like pruning, will only enhance the beauty of the bushes, but only watering is critically important for Sprenger’s asparagus.

Watering and air humidity

Ethiopian asparagus are moisture-loving, but not tropical plants. They grow well with moderate, gentle watering, not too abundant, but creating a stable average moisture content of the substrate. Asparagus Ethiopian grows well on bottom irrigation, but the classic one is fine.

Small watering in several passes is the best strategy. Water from the pallets must be drained after 30 minutes with bottom watering and 5 minutes after classic watering. It is better to set the frequency according to the degree of drying out of the substrate, watering the plant only when the top layer of soil in the pots dries up.

Watering every 2-3 days is considered standard for ornamental asparagus, up to 3 times a week during the summer. Ethiopian asparagus are very afraid of stagnation of water. Even short-term waterlogging can cause rot damage to the roots.

Watering in winter directly depends on the temperatures of the content and the rate of drying of the substrate. The frequency and abundance of watering is reduced so that the substrate dries out a little more between these procedures. The optimal strategy is to wait 2-3 days for watering versus watering in the summer.

In order for Sprenger’s asparagus to become one of the most attractive and freshest in the collection of such plants, it must be kept at least in medium, and better – in high levels of air humidity. These plants adore spraying and showering, are not afraid of contact with water and getting wet, literally transforming after such procedures.

Daily spraying is best done in the morning or evening. In order not to carry out these procedures several times a day, you can install containers with water, indoor fountains, bowls with moistened decorative soils that stabilize humidity next to the plant. Shower should be done with warm, but not hot water, once a week.

Sprenger's Asparagus loves high air humidity
Sprenger’s Asparagus loves high air humidity. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com bakker

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Asparagus Ethiopian loves regular feeding. From early spring to mid-autumn, every 1-2 weeks in the summer, 2-3 weeks in the fall, it is advisable to add fertilizers to the water for irrigation. If asparagus hibernates in the warmth, then feeding for it should not be stopped even at this time. The frequency of fertilizing once a month with a halved concentration will be sufficient.

Asparagus Ethiopian prefers universal fertilizers or preparations for decorative deciduous crops (to enhance the color). But the plant reacts most vividly to organic preparations, in particular, to biofertilizers based on humus: with the introduction of organic matter into the feeding scheme, asparagus release a larger number of shoots than with conventional mineral fertilizers.

True, their concentration must be reduced by 2-3 times compared to ordinary indoor plants and fruit crops, reducing the dose recommended by the manufacturer.

Pruning and shaping Sprenger’s asparagus

Asparagus does not need pruning as such, but regular “cleaning” procedures before transplanting (or at the end of February in non-transplanting years) keep the plant from losing shape. With any exposure or loss of decorativeness, the branches can be cut off; instead, several new, densely pubescent and beautiful shoots grow on the bushes.

Be sure to cut off the yellowed, sluggish twigs that have dropped leaves. Shortening or partial pruning on this crop is ineffective: if you really cut off the branches, then remove them completely. There is no need to process the cuts, but it is better to make sure that the tools are clean and sharp before cutting the asparagus sprigs.

Ornamental Ethiopian asparagus always react painfully to changing the substrate
Ornamental Ethiopian asparagus always react painfully to changing the substrate. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com bakker

Transplant, containers and substrate

Ethiopian Asparagus is most often transplanted annually, but the plant will rather transplant when needed. Ornamental Ethiopian asparagus always react painfully to changing the substrate, lose their decorative effect, spend a lot of energy on adapting the roots, therefore, it is worth delaying the transplant until the last.

If the asparagus has a place to develop, it is better to compensate for the depletion of the substrate by feeding, and not by a useless transplant. Although the topsoil needs to be changed annually.

Like any ornamental deciduous plants, Sprenger’s asparagus will prefer a transplant in early spring or at the very beginning of active growth. But you can transplant even in summer, provided it is possible to ensure high levels of air humidity and protect plants from heat.

For Ethiopian asparagus, you need to select containers that correspond to their developed, deep root system. The height of the pots must necessarily exceed their diameter. The size of the pots is increased by 3-5 cm each time they are transplanted.

Asparagus Sprenger is one of the most undemanding indoor crops to soil. Of course, if we are talking about high-quality substrates with at least minimal nutritional value and a loose structure.

It grows well in a versatile, loose substrate, not picky about the reaction of the soil. It is enough to check whether the soil is prone to compaction. If it is possible to mix the substrate yourself, then it is better to take sod, humus, leafy soil and sand in equal parts. Crushed sphagnum or inert materials can be added to the substrate. Acceptable pH values ​​are from 5,0 to 7,0.

When transplanting Sprenger’s asparagus, if possible, it is better to keep the root ball intact, removing only the upper part of the soil. A high drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the pots. Ethiopian asparagus will do great when draining shards, brick chips, inert materials and even bark, but regular expanded clay is a better choice.

When the maximum size of the pots is reached (from a purely practical or aesthetic point of view), the root system can be trimmed so that the container does not have to increase in diameter. When pruning the roots, the cuts must be treated with charcoal.

Do not rush to water the asparagus after transplanting: if you used a normal fresh substrate, it is better to water the bushes the next day.

This type of asparagus grows well with top soil mulching with moss.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

This plant, despite its origin and the presence of a considerable number of garden fellows, is very unstable to pests. Indoor asparagus often suffer from spider mites, thrips, felt, but, as a rule, they all appear only in the absence of spraying and showering.

Plants can be especially badly affected by spider mites, when infested, it is better to place asparagus under a hood or in very high air humidity to optimize control measures for this pest.

More often, ornamental asparagus simply loses its leaves in winter – from dry air, too high temperatures and poor lighting. All plant problems are associated with the care and selection of conditions of detention, and very rarely – with diseases.

It is very easy to propagate Sprenger's asparagus by dividing adult bushes into parts
It is very easy to propagate Sprenger’s asparagus by dividing adult bushes into parts. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com r / IndoorGarden

Reproduction of Sprenger’s asparagus

It is one of the easiest indoor plants to grow from seed. Asparagus Sprenger, along with some blooming stars, is recommended for the first experience of growing from seeds (or teaching children botany) for a reason.

It is very easy to propagate the plant by dividing adult bushes into parts (no more than 2–3 divisions per plant). But grafting is used less often, rooting low, up to 12 cm stem shoots in the sand under a hood.

One of the advantages of seed propagation of Sprenger’s asparagus is that sowing can be carried out literally at any convenient time, there are no restrictions on the sowing time and even lighting.

Sowing is carried out deep enough, in a light, nutritious substrate, consisting of half of peat and half of sand (or in an ordinary universal substrate, into which an equal amount of coarse sand was mixed).

It is most convenient to sow in small holes or grooves about 1 cm deep. Careful moistening of the soil and covering with glass or film are mandatory measures along with daily ventilation.

The shoots of Ethiopian asparagus will have to wait about 1 month, at high temperatures – 3 weeks. Asparagus seeds germinate best at a temperature of about 21 degrees. Only after the shoots appear, is it worth putting the containers with crops in the brightest place. Even very small sprouts withstand direct sun perfectly. It is better to avoid a lack of lighting to prevent stretching of seedlings, which are so similar to the thinnest strings, but supplementary lighting is not necessary even in winter.

Seedlings of this species of asparagus develop quickly, literally in a matter of weeks transforming into very cheerful fluffy twigs. The dive of seedlings is carried out only when the plants are sufficiently formed, when they reach a height of 8 to 10 cm, into individual containers. The starting pot diameter for Ethiopian Asparagus is 10 cm. Young asparagus will prefer a versatile substrate.

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Anna Evans

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