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Asparagus ferns (excluding foxtail fern)

Asparagus ferns (excluding foxtail fern)
Invasive Plant
Asparagus ferns (excluding foxtail fern)
Asparagus aethiopicus*,  A. africanus*, A. plumosus*, A.scandens*

Multi-branched prostrate and/or climbing herb from the lily family that form a dense underground mat of rhizomatous roots. The fern-like branches grow to 0.6 m high and up to 2 m wide with a covering of small sharp spines. These natives from South Africa have small white-pink clusters of flowers in late summer which ripen to bright red, orange or black fruits.

NB:  It is safe to grow the foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myersii') ask at your local garden centre.



  • By dumping of garden waste. The seeds are readily dispersed by birds and small mammals.

Asparagus species are highly invasive environmental weeds. Eight Asparagus species are major weeds in Australia at present, including Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), a declared Weed of National Significance. These 'ferns' overtake natural species by developing dense thickets that deprive other plants of light and nutrients as well as destroying habitat. The most effective means of removal is to dig out the growth crown which lies just below the soil surface.

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Additional suggested alternatives:  Acacia pravissima 'Kuranga Cascade' or Grevillea 'Poorinda Royal Mantle'.


Alternative Plants

Chinese Star Jasmine
Photo: Lorna Rose
Alternative Plant Chinese Star Jasmine
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Climbing and Ground Cover Plants

This evergreen twining climber from China has dark, glossy foliage and masses of small, highly fragrant starry-white flowers in summer. Initially it can be slow-growing, however becomes vigorous with age. Variegated leaf forms 'Tricolor' and 'Variegatum' are also available.

Creeping Boobialla
Photo: Immij
Alternative Plant Creeping Boobialla
Myoporum parvifolium
Climbing and Ground Cover Plants

A native of South Australia, this evergreen hardy plant forms a dense, weed suppressing ground cover that will easily cover one square metre. This species thrives if grown in freely-drained soil and full-sun. The flowers are white or pink and occur from winter to summer. Sweet fleshy fruits provide food for native birds.

Dwarf bower wattle
Photo: Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
Alternative Plant Dwarf bower wattle
Acacia cognata 'Limelight', 'Fetuccini', 'Bower Beauty', 'Green Mist
Climbing and Ground Cover Plants
The compact cultivars of the bower wattle have outstanding decorative lush lime foliage with a mounded weeping habit.  They provide year round ornamental value for small gardens, particularly cascading over embankments, retaining walls and pots on terraces and courtyards.  They will fit well within native, exotic, oriental or tropical garden styles.  They require good drainiage and once established, these acacias are moderately dry tolerant. Tolerates light frost.
Grevillea Groundcovers
Photo: © immij pty ltd
Alternative Plant Grevillea Groundcovers
Grevillea species and cultivars
Climbing and Ground Cover Plants

Among the highly recommended varieties are 'Royal Mantle', 'Bronze Rambler' 'Bedspread' and Gin Gin Gem'.

All are fast-growing ground cover plants ideal for mass planting and covering of large areas. The red toothbrush flowers occur in spring and autumn. These species grow to about 0.3 m high by 2 m across and are frost tolerant. Grown as 'living mulch', they will trail over banks or walls and attract nectar-feeding birds. Mass planting is highly recommended.

Grevillea nudiflora
Photo: Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
Alternative Plant Grevillea nudiflora
Grevillea nudiflora prostrate
Climbing and Ground Cover Plants
Cascading plant or ground cover for rockeries, walls, embankments and verges. Growing 30-50cm high and 1.5m wide, this grevillea makes an attractive living mulch, supressing weeds and stabilising soil.  Suitable for undershrub plantings and coastal locations. Responds well to hard pruning. Flowers orange-red to purplish-red. Attractive to native birds and insects for food and habitat. 
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