A jar of ideas: how to grow Asparagus plumosus
Scientific name: Asparagus plumosus
Common name: Asparagine
Origin: Tropical Africa and Western and Central Asia
The Asparagus plumosus is characterized by tiny and thin leaves, grouped in almost needle-like twigs in performing the function of a leaf and give it its typical "fluffy" aspect. As an adult it becomes a creeper, reaching 3 metres in height.
The Asparagine is best known for its use by florists as decorative green. There are three main varieties: "compactus", characterized by compact vegetation; "nanus", smaller, and "pyramidalis", which develops in the shape of a bush.
Cultivation and positioning
The Asparagus loves partial shade and doesn’t have to be exposed to direct sunlight, therefore it is ideal as a houseplant.
Fertilization and water
During the warm season, the plant must be watered often and abundantly, reducing watering in winter but still maintaining high moisture: too dry an atmosphere, in fact, would favour the attack of pests.
In the growing season it’s best to fertilize every two weeks, and repot every couple of years, in the spring.
The ideal soil for Asparagus plumosus is mixed, consisting of heath soil, well-rotten leaf mould and garden soil, in a 2:1:1 ratio.
The Asparagus can be sown in March-April up to 6-7 (to be shared later) in bowls under glass or small pots in the greenhouse. The temperature should never drop below 15° C. After 20-30 days germination will start, and after three months, when they have reached a height of about 10 cm, the seedlings will have to be transplanted.
If you are going to divide the rhizomes you must always do so March-April and at a temperature not below 15 °, which will allow the roots to recover in 3-4 weeks.
To multiply by cuttings, however, you need to use the most tender part of sturdy branches, with at least two nodes, and place it in a jar filled with sand, under a plastic bell jar. The ideal time for this procedure is January-February.
Pests and diseases
The Asparagus can be attacked by many pests. The red spider mite is manifested by light patches on the leaves (which will eventually turn completely yellow) and must be fought by increasing the humidity and treating the plant with an acaricide product. Cochineal, on the other hand, leads to the formation of brown growths and makes the plant blackish and sticky; it is countered by removing the growths and anticoccidial treatment, or rubbing the affected areas with a cotton ball soaked in water and alcohol.
Other problems that may arise are the yellowing of the leaves, probably due to the use of excessively calcareous water, and the loss of leaves, which may be caused by the boiling of the leaves (in turn due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight) by low humidity environment or exposure to low temperatures (if the plant is outdoors).