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Plantidote of the Day 2011-11-04

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foxtail fern

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'

Myers asparagus, foxtail fern

A native of South Africa, foxtail fern does best in zones 9 through 12, although it can be grown indoors anywhere. Foxtail ferns are pretty much pest free and easy to grow in a sunny spot with good drainage. Don't be fooled by their soft, fluffy appearance, though. The fronds are covered with sharp thorns.

The neon-green, 2 to 3 foot long fronds get a little color in late summer or fall, when tiny white flowers ripen into bright red fruit. The fruit is toxic, but you can save the seeds that are inside and use them to grow more plants. (Since foxtail fern is a member of the lily family, it doesn't propagate by spores, as real ferns do.) Or you can simply dig them up, divide the tubers and replant.

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