The Q&A Archives: Care and growing conditions for Ming Fern - Asparagus macowanii (I think)

Question: Hello - I have a Ming Fern that, up until recently, has been doing great. The plant is now about 4-5 ft tall. It gets filtered sun and some shade. I've had it planted it it's current location for 5 or 6 years. It is located in a bed with a large Strawberry Guava, a 10 ft Weeping Bottlebrush and a 3 ft azalea. The Ming Fern is in between the Guava and the Bottlebrush, toward the sunniest part of the bed. The bed is at the very edge of an oak tree canopy (the oak tree is very large; the trunk is about 25 ft from this bed). We've noticed that, when new shoots appear, it seems to like more water than usual. The last 3 shoots, however, have shriveled up and died. We've been getting a good deal of rain here (Jacksonville FL) for the past 4 or 5 months, so have been cutting our watering routine a little, so the Ming Fern doesn't get too much water. Should we fertilize it and, if so, what type and how much? What could be making the new shoots die? Thank you, Julie Howell

Answer: Julie,

It is difficult to guess how much water the soil has and it's tendency to hold moisture. Either soggy wet or dry is not good. Try to keep it moist as best you can. I think a light fertilization periodically from spring to late summer is fine and can help maintain good vigor. Fertilizing this late is a bit iffy with winter coming. I would go very lightly or not at all from now until spring.

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