Small shears handle all asparagus fern pruning needs.

How to Trim an Asparagus Fern

by Jenny Harrington

Asparagus ferns (Asparagus densiflorus) won't show up on your dinner plate, but they will add texture and interest to your outdoor garden. These ornamental cousins of the edible asparagus grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, but they also flourish as houseplants. The long stems covered in springy, fern-like foliage usually make a pleasant mound. Regular trimming combined with occasional rejuvenation pruning helps them retain their shape and remain healthy.

Pinch back the growing tips of each stem by 1 to 2 inches when the plant is actively growing. Grasp the stem between the thumb and forefinger and pinch off the excess length. Repeat as needed to maintain the desired height and shape of the fern.

Trim out dead or damaged stems at any time to improve the appearance of the asparagus fern. Cut out the dead stems near their base using clean, sharp shears.

Prune back the entire fern every three years or when it becomes leggy and overgrown. Cut back the entire plant to within 1 to 2 inches of the ground in spring. New fuller and more compact stems will quickly grow back.

Items you will need

  • Pruning shears


  • Wash pruning shears in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water to disinfect them. This prevents the inadvertent spread of plant pests and diseases.


  • Asparagus ferns produce berries that are mildly toxic if ingested. Plant sap may also cause skin irritation, so wear gloves when you are pruning.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images