The Q&A Archives: Roof Garden Ferns

Question: I work in a NYC office and the building across the way has a beautiful roof garden. They have a large concrete planter with a ferny plant that I can't identify. It's quite tall, several feet at least, with thin woody stems and very thin almost hair-like leaves. Up close, it looks a lot like a pine of some sort, but with much slimmer stems and leaves. It looks almost fluffy, like a foxtail fern, but is much tougher and its leaves very much thinner. Do you have any idea what this might be?
Thanks for any help identifying this. I've looked all over the web and can't find anything similar and I really like it and would love to have some in my terrace garden.

Answer: Could it be asparagus fern, Asparagus densiflorus "Sprengeri"? This would be a good candidate for container culture on a roof or terrace garden. It is often available from houseplant dealers or as a singly potted annual in the spring.

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