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Asparagus Fern Light Requirement [Best Hacks]

Do you know Asparagus Ferns resemble ferns due to their feathery leaves? But unlike true ferns, which grow in the shade, Asparagus Ferns have different lighting demands!

Asparagus Ferns require 4-6 hours of bright-dappled sunlight daily. Consider placing the plant near an east-facing window for the same duration or in full sun with some shade outdoors to protect it from fierce sunlight.

Improper lighting demeans the fancy leaves of the plant. So, read on to identify lighting issues with your Asparagus Fern and different ways to provide optimal light.

Overview of Asparagus Fern

Asparagus Fern is a denser subspecies of perennial Asparagus that grow regal fern-like feathery leaves, hence its name.

When properly cared for, it can enjoy indefinite life as a houseplant but can wilt and die in a few years.

But you can extend its perennial life span by offering lighting care which is vital to keep back its green leaves.

Check out the brief description of the plant from the table.

Scientific NameAsparagus setaceus
Common NameAsparagus Fern, Asparagus Grass, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus and Ferny Asparagus
Native RangeSouth-East Africa
USDA Zones9 to 11

Survives zones 7 to 8 with frost protection
Life Cycle and HabitEvergreen Herbaceous Perennial
Height and Spread3 feet × 3 to 4 feet
Grown ForLeaf-like Cladode (branchlets of leaves) giving it a fern-like appearance
Foliage ColorBright Green or Bluish-Green
Flowering SeasonsSpring to Fall
FlowerInflorescence: Raceme

Color: White

Shape: Bell-shaped with recurved petals
FruitPurple Berries
ToxicityBerries poisonous to humans and pets

How Much Light Does Asparagus Fern Need?

Asparagus Fern is best grown in bright yet indirect sunlight.

Additionally, Asparagus Ferns will attain signature glossy green leaves when the lighting duration, quality and intensity are correct.

So, provide 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight to your Asparagus Fern with 1-2 hours of direct sunlight in the morning or the evening.

But the problem of leaf discoloration (yellowing) is common with light-deprived Asparagus Ferns, while browning leaves indicate burns due to strong light.

Because of less sunlight, the chloroplasts in Asparagus Fern leaves fail to make the peculiar green chlorophyll, resulting in discoloration.

Moreover, intense sunlight can suck away all the water from the leaf cells, causing leaf burns. 

Although Asparagus Fern can survive low light conditions, it would not fare well with the plant’s leaves and vertical growth.

Image represents yellow leaves in Asparagus Fern
Yellow leaves are the first call-out sign indicating that the plant is not getting enough light and losing its ability to form the green pigment.

Signs of Light-Deprived Asparagus Fern

Some signs of a light-deprived Asparagus Fern are as follows.

  • Light-green to pale leaves
  • Leaves attaining small size with the leggy appearance
  • Stunted growth of the stem
  • Wilting leaves and petioles

Signs of Light Saturated Asparagus Fern

Intense light surfaces the following signs in Asparagus Ferns.

  • Gradual yellowing of foliage
  • Plant with overall droopy looks
  • Marginal browning and crispy leaves

Asparagus Fern Light Requirement (How to Ensure Optimal Light?)

Asparagus Fern naturally grows in the canopy of tall trees, rocks, and bushes.

Therefore, you should try mimicking similar conditions when growing them at home.

1. Plant Location

Asparagus Ferns naturally prefer a shaded location that receives ample bright sunlight.

Place them close to an east-facing window that receives indirect sunlight daily or 3-5 feet away from a south-facing window.

Additionally, Asparagus Ferns can tolerate direct morning or evening outdoor sunlight for 1-2 hours.

Image represents Asparagus Fern in dappled light
Asparagus Fern needs a good amount of indirect sunlight to keep its foliage green and active.

However, prepare your plant by gradually exposing it to direct sunlight daily for a few hours before permanently moving it outside.

For this, place the plant in meager direct sunlight for 2 hours a day for over 4 days.

Continue the process for 7-10 days before ultimately transferring them outdoors.

2. Light Intensity

Asparagus Fern prefers low to medium light intensity to grow evenly. Keeping them in dappled light with reduced intensity is wise.

So, grant Asparagus Ferns with around 500-1000 footcandles of light in the day, equalling the intensity of low and medium-bright light.

Some would even manage well over 1000 footcandles but ensure the location has ample relative humidity, over 50%.

3. Light Duration

Asparagus Fern loves low to medium-light plants, requiring daily 4-6 hours of dappled sunlight.

Since it does not produce large leaves, it will manage well without countless hours of sunlight.

You can use artificial lights to fulfill the Asparagus Fern light requirement and mimic a natural setting.

Thus, your Asparagus fern will produce tiny white blossoms and later berries when the lighting condition is accurate.

4. Light Quality

The quality of light is more crucial to Asparagus Ferns indoors because the dappled natural light may lack beneficial light colors and temperature.

So, Asparagus Fern’s growth, color, and blossoms will depend on the combination of light colors it receives from the light source.

Moreover, full-spectrum lighting, with blue and red wavelengths (400-700 nm) with smaller amounts of green, yellow, and infrared wavelengths, will help photosynthesis.

But, Asparagus Ferns will need more blue and red light colors to produce lush, green leaves.

Do Asparagus Ferns Grow in Artificial Light?

Asparagus Fern will grow well in artificial lighting with the correct light intensity and spectrum to boost chlorophyll production.

Artificial light with 400-700 nm for 6-8 hours will suffice for fulfilling Asparagus Fern light requirements in spring and summer. Similarly, the lighting can be reduced to 4-6 hours in fall and winter.

Light quality is more of a concern with Asparagus Ferns using artificial light.

Image represents Asparagus Fern inside a terrarium
Asparagus Ferns can also grow inside a terrarium that provides the plant with enough humidity equaled with proper lighting and temperature.

Therefore, consider a proper distance to keep your Asparagus Fern from the light source.

Here is a small table describing the distance between the grow light and the plant.

Grow LightsDistance
HID Grow Lights (400W)12”-19” away from the plant
HID Grow Lights (600W)14”-25” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (240-400W)16”-30” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (450-550W)20”-30” away from the plant
CFL (200W)6”-10” away from the plant

However, avoid overcompensating your plant by providing extended hours of artificial lighting, which may burn the leaves.

FAQs About Asparagus Fern Light Requirement

What is the Best Place to Keep Asparagus Fern?

Asparagus Ferns love high humidity with lots of bright indirect light.

So, a well-ventilated bathroom is a supreme place to locate the plant.

Can I let Asparagus Fern Climb?

Asparagus Fern is a climber with feathery leaves and thorny stems that loves to climb.

However, you must keep its growth under control indoors so it won’t creep into unwanted light sources.

Can Asparagus Fern Survive in Low Light?

Asparagus Ferns can survive in low light, but the foliage may not remain bright green.

Still, you can move the plant outdoors for a few hours in winter to keep it tip-top.

From Editorial Team

Use Shades to Protect from Bright Light!
If you are situating Asparagus Fern near a south-facing window and there is not enough space for relocating the plant, you can use sheer curtains to shield it from direct sunlight.

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