ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Q. I have a beautiful asparagus fern that flourishes every summer. In the winter I bring it inside, and over the next six months or so indoors, the branches die back and it drops lots of little “spikes.” By the time I can get it back outside, it is less than half the size it started out. I have tried various locations around the house. Can it winter outside? I can cover it on freezing nights, or is that even necessary? Thanks for your help. – LG, Albuquerque
A. I had an asparagus fern once, growing happily indoors and it did well for the first several months heading into autumn. Then slowly, like what you’re describing, it started “shedding” dreadfully! Vacuuming under it and snipping off dead and dying branches became a chore that I detested. By spring I chucked it outdoors, and lo and behold, it started to flourish again.
Well, I didn’t want to go through another winter of cleaning up after it, so I didn’t bring it in for the next round of winter months. I know, harsh.
According to my bible, “Sunset Western Garden Book,” the asparagus fern won’t winter over in this zone. We get too cold, and stay there for too long. I truly don’t think that even if you were religious in your covering and uncovering each day, never allowing it to dry out, it would survive.