Protecting Asparagus In The Winter

Q: This request is for Ellen Brown. How can I protect my asparagus ferns from the winter months so they don't die back. Would covering them with plastic where they are hanging help them or hurt them? Do they require water during the winter if covered?

Any ideas you may have would be helpful.

Thank you.

Eletha from California

A: Eletha,

I'd advise against covering them with plastic. It may interfere with leaf respiration and won't keep them from prolonged exposure to winter temperatures. It's normal for Asparagus Ferns to need a rest in the winter. If you have them hanging in baskets, I would suggest bringing them indoors. If possible, keep them in a bright room, but out of direct sunlight. These ferns prefer temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees and will suffer when exposed to warmer or cooler temperatures for extended periods. Although they enjoy being kept moist in the summer, it's best to keep them on the drier side during the winter months. If plants are large, you may want to cut them back a little to better manage them indoors. Expect some needle dropping-it's normal. However, if over-watered they will drop many of their needles. Fertilize them at 1/2 normal strength every 2 weeks or so and resume growing them outdoors in summer.

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