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Why is My Asparagus Fern Turning Yellow?

With a ferny bright green texture, the edible Asparagus Fern sometimes undergoes environmental stress, turning the leaves yellow to signify its problem.

Generally, the Asparagus Fern turns yellow due to the stress induced by improper sunlight and watering, pest infestation, incorrect fertilization, humidity issue, and transplanting. So, better to identify the wrong practice sooner to recover from the situation.

Stay with the article till the end to understand the cause of the yellowing in Asparagus Fern and revert the situation with on-time care.

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Is it Normal for Asparagus Fern Leaves to Turn Yellow?

Asparagus Fern has more delicate leaves, making it prone to immediate damage even with slight imbalances in the cultural practice. So at the initial stage, the yellowing is normal.

Alternatively, the Asparagus Fern turning yellow after reaching maturity is quite normal as they are about to start a new cycle.

However, you must be alert if the whole plant turns yellow.

The yellowing of the entire plant indicates that the Fern is under severe environmental stress.

Furthermore, if the yellow leaves start to turn brown, be alert, as the Asparagus Fern might die before the natural end.

What causes an Asparagus Fern to Turn Yellow?

Asparagus Fern turning yellow is expected if it is overburdened with water, has fertilizer problem or lack enough light.

So, it is crucial to find the root cause of the problem and solve it accordingly.

1. Watering Issues

Asparagus Ferns have tuberous roots that store water during availability. So, the plant can act quite well even during a drought.

But overwatering may invite excessive moisture in the soil leading to Root Rot.

Roots require oxygen to survive, but if the soil is always soggy, the root cannot intake the needed oxygen. Hence the yellowing of the leaves starts.

Similarly, the long-term drought resulting in dry soil might also be the reason for the yellowing of the plant.

At first, you could notice the yellowing in the foliage, which later turned brown and crispy.

Immediate Solutions

  • Pause the watering and let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
  • However, if the soil is not drying properly, keep it under direct light for 24 hrs.
  • You can also take the plant from the pot and let it dry over newspaper for a day or two.
  • Consider repotting with soil mix having 60% peat, 30% perlite, and 10% compost if there is an offensive odor from the soil by removing all affected roots with sterile pruners.
  • Also, avoid planting in larger pots, as it takes longer for the soil to dry out during watering.
  • As for the underwatered Fern, water the plant thoroughly until the excess water drains from the drainage hole.
  • You can also apply the bottom watering technique to revive the plant slowly.

2. Wrong Pot and Potting Mix

Generally, Asparagus Fern prefers well-draining, slightly acidic (6.5-6.8 pH) soil in a pot having enough drainage holes.

Because in poorly draining soil, the Asparagus Fern is highly likely to be attacked by fungal and bacterial diseases.

Moreover, compact soil might have less air space due to no moisture, blocking the oxygen flow inside the roots and hampering nutrient intake.

The abnormalities invited by the wrong soil and pot led the leaves of the Asparagus Fern to turn yellow.

Immediate Solutions

  • Loosen up the soil using a stick or trowel without hurting the root system.
  • Add stones or pebbles on the bottom of the soil to increase the airflow and drainage capacity of the mix.
  • You can drill holes in the pot yourself in case of no drainage holes.
  • Amend the soil nutrient by adding nitrogen fertilizer to bring back the feathery green leaves of the Fern.
  • If the soil is beyond cure, consider making a new mix with peat, perlite, and compost in a ratio of 6:3:1.
  • While repotting, choose a terracotta or clay pot with enough drainage holes and strong enough to hold the root system.

3. Low humidity

Asparagus fern thrives in moderate humidity ranging between 60-80%. So, it is best to create a humid environment around the plant.

Any level below optimum conditions stunts the overall growth of the Fern, leading to falling off the leaves and curling.

Similarly, in low humidity, the leaves of Asparagus Fern transpire vigorously and lose moisture, causing brown edges and yellowing of the leaves.

Immediate Solutions

  • Mist the plant with a spray bottle around the plant and try to avoid direct contact with the foliage.
  • Keep your Asparagus plant over water-filled gravel.
  • Alternatively, you can use the pebble tray method. Fill the saucer with pebbles, add water, and place the plant over it to allow normal evaporation.
  • Shift the plant to a higher humidity area like the kitchen and the bathroom.
  • For the most accessible approach, install a humidifier beside the plant and boost the humidity level instantly.

4. Improper Lighting

One of the most common reasons for the Asparagus Fern turning yellow is a lack of adequate light or too much direct sunlight.

Generally, Asparagus Fern prefers bright but indirect light for about 4-6 hours daily with moderately warm temperatures.

So when the intensity of light increases from the optimum level, the leaves turn crispy and give a limpy look with yellow edges on the leaves.

In contrast, no light or inadequate brightness leads to discoloration of the leaves and fronds and gives out leggy growth.

Immediate Solutions

  • Shift the pot to a northeast-facing window for yearly light balance.
  • Let the plant enjoy at least 1-2 hours of daily morning sun to boost recovery.
  • If the plant receives too much light, use drapes or curtains and keep the plant one meter away from the window.
  • Use artificial grow lights and keep the Fern under it for 10-12 hours daily to provide an excellent balance of light.
  • Outdoors, hang the plant on a patio or in the shade of a tree.

5. Cold Temperatures

Asparagus Fern loves warm temperatures ranging from 65-80ºF and is intolerant to temperatures <55ºF.

Also, the plant’s natures make them avoid the fluctuating temperatures that they may experience near any radiators or heating vents.

The cold drafts and variable temperatures impact the leaves’ growth rate and lead to their yellowing.

Immediate Solutions

  • Bring the plant indoors to avoid the harsh winter outside.
  • Place the plants in a bright area where there is indirect sunlight and no access to ventilation and air conditioning.
  • You can also use heating pads and a frost blanket to protect them in winter.
  • Mulch the topsoil with straw or sawdust to prevent heat loss and store the warmth.
  • Creating a greenhouse effect using transparent plastic is another way to protect the plant from cold.

6. Fertilizer Issues

Asparagus Fern does well in soil rich in organic matter and has low fertilizer needs. However, it is not bad if you give a bit of nutrients now and then.

But, remember to balance while providing fertilizer to the plant because under-fertilization and over-fertilization can turn Asparagus Fern yellow.


Usually, under fertilization occurs due to deprivation of a good supply of nourishment for a long gap resulting in droopy and limpy Asparagus Fern with yellow leaves.

Immediate Solutions

  • You should moisten the soil before supplying fertilizer to the plant unless you are using liquid fertilizer.
  • Fertilize the plant with equal parts of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
  • Continue the fertilizer supply once a month during the growing season but pause during the winter.


As much as under-fertilization results in the yellowing of the Asparagus fern, overfertilization can exhibit the yellowing symptoms too.

A person is pointing at the brown leaves of Asparagus Fern that is growing in a grey pot and is lying over a table.
Browning usually occurs after the yellowing indicating the cruciality of the situation.

Along with yellowing, over-fertilized Asparagus leaves will develop brown tips, adding another problem to the list which you need to avoid.

Immediate Solutions

  • Pause the fertilization of the plants for a few months and restart with a long gap between.
  • Drain the fertilizer out of the soil by watering to take the fertilizer out of the root
  • If there is a solid form of fertilizer, remove it carefully, but ensure 1/4 of the soil remains.
  • Remove the yellow or wilted leaves.
  • Consider consultation or rethink the fertilization supply for the plant.

7. Infestation of Pests

Asparagus Ferns face problems due to common pests like mealybugs, spider mites, and scale.

Types of PestsPest IdentificationSymptoms Of Infestation
Mealy BugsSmall and pale with waxy filamentsYellowing of leaves and leaves fall
House Plant ScaleLooks like fish like scale stuck to plantsDeformed leaf growth,
pale leaves and brown pock marks
Spider MitesTiny in size

Often seen with web with heavier infestation
Discolored appearance and spotty surface

These pests weaken the plant by extracting hydration and good nutrients, one of the reasons for the yellowing of the plant.

Immediate Solutions

  • Wipe the leaves with a cotton swab containing rubbing alcohol.
  • Trim the heavily infected parts.
  • Spray with liquid insecticidal soaps or make one using one tablespoon of liquid baby soap with 1 liter of water.
  • Keep away healthy plants from the infested plants.
  • You can spray neem oil concentration too.

8. Transplant Stress

Usually, transplant stress occurs while trying to bring an Asparagus Fern adapted to grow in the greenhouse inside your house.

The change in the environment makes it challenging to adapt instantly, causing the leaves to turn yellow.

Usually, the Fern recovers from the stress after the first few weeks. But if they do not recover, you might have to take some action.

Immediate Solutions

  • Provide the stressed plant with a sugar solution (1 and 1/2 sugar in 4 liters of water).
  • Mist the plant continuously for the first few weeks till they recover completely.
  • Cut off the dead and yellow leaves to transfer the focus to growing instead of repairing.
  • Try not to disturb the root system of the planet to refrain from adding to the stress.

Finally, have patience. If you take care of the plant well, the plant will revive after a while.

Should I cut off the yellow leaves of the Asparagus Fern?

Yes, you should remove the yellow leaves, as doing so will give space for new growth.

So, pluck out the yellow twigs or use sterilized scissors to cut off the yellow leaves.

If the plant has turned full Yellow, consider cutting all leaves as they are not turning green again.

Do not worry, as in a matter of time, you will see the growth of healthy leaves from the stems, and the only thing you can do is wait until it produces new foliage.

Final Thought

The best way to approach curing the yellowing of Asparagus Fern is to understand the cause triggered by different environmental stresses.

On-time care and cure related to light, temperature, and humidity can save the entire Asparagus Fern plant from turning yellow.

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