What to do when Asparagus fern leaves turn yellow & fall off

The leaves of asparagus ferns (also known as Asparagus setaceus) can turn yellow and brown for reasons within or beyond your control. Here are the most common causes and steps you can take to make the foliage of the asparagus fern look green and healthy again.

Underwatering or overwatering is bad for Asparagus ferns

Improper watering is usually the main culprit when yellow or brown leaves start to develop on Asparagus ferns. As plants that originate from the coast of South Africa, asparagus ferns do enjoy generous watering from time to time. That said, a puddle of water shouldn’t remain on the soil after the plant gets watered as that could encourage root rot to develop and this, in turn, can cause yellow leaves. How often you water the asparagus fern will depend on factors such as whether you are growing it indoors or outdoors and the general humidity, temperature, and light intensity.

On the flip side, underwatering may cause asparagus ferns to develop yellow leaves as it may cause interference to the chlorophyll (the pigment that gives leaves their green color) and, in turn, start the discoloration process.

As a general rule of thumb, it should be okay to water asparagus ferns once every few days. Adjust the watering accordingly as the season changes.

Proper drainage of water from soil

You won’t be able to properly gauge the frequency of watering the asparagus fern needs if it is being grown in soil that doesn’t drain well. Compacted soil can cause a number of issues for asparagus ferns such as preventing root growth, reducing nutrient absorption, and preventing oxygen absorption. All of this can cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off. you will know if the soil is waterlogged by creating a tiny hole on the soil surface and filling it with water. If the water hasn’t drained after a few hours then you are dealing with clogged soil problems.

To stop more leaves from turning yellow, you will most likely need to transplant the asparagus fern into soil that drains well. One way of doing this is by mixing the soil with material like perlite, compost, and shredded leaves.

Excessive sunlight or lack of sunlight

Yellow leaves can also form on asparagus ferns due to changes in sunlight conditions. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, for example, can harm plants because it can result in sunburn and the scorching of leaves. Lack of sunlight could have the same negative effect on asparagus ferns as it would result in the leaves not getting enough light to drive photosynthesis. Lack of energy would then cause the leaves to wilt and gradually become discolored.

Try to position the asparagus fern or provide it enough cover or exposure so that it receives an optimal amount of sunlight, which is about 6 hours of indirect sunlight per day.


  • Plastic Pot:

    I am growing an asparagus fern in a plastic pot and keep it grown next to a south-facing window. It started to become sickly and yellow recently. Can anyone help??

  • Asparagus Man:

    The leaves close to the base of my asparagus fern plant is turning yellow but hte plant itself is still putting out new growth! It seems to only happen on the side that isn’t facing the window. The whole stalk isn’t turning yellow. It’s just parts of it.

  • What's Wrong???:

    What is wrong with my plant? It keeps turning yellow. I cut off most of the part but the yellow leaves will keep on developing.

Leave a Reply