Asparagus Densiflorus ‘Myersii’

Foxtail or Cat’s tail


Asparagus Densifl­orus Myersii‘ (Foxtail or Cat’s tail), which has remained popular for decades. A cultivar of Asparagus Densifl­orus, which is found growing naturally in parts of Southern Africa, it is certainly one of our­ nest ornamental garden treasures. The genus Asparagus encompasses a large group of climbers and sub-shrubs spread naturally around Europe, Asia and Africa.

Approximately eighty or so species are indigenous to South Africa; they have fleshy, tuber-like root-stock from which the stems emerge. These are sometimes called fronds due to their fern-like appearance, although these plants are not related to ferns in any way. The stems bear scale-like true leaves and more prominent leaf-like, modified stems called cladodes, which all seems rather confusing. In essence the green, leaf-like parts of an Asparagus plant are cladodes (modified stems) and not leaves.

Asparagus Densifl­orus Myersii‘ has been sold under many different names over the years, including Asparagus Meyerii, Protasparagus Meyerii, Aspargus ‘Myers’ and Asparagus Densiflorus ‘Meyersii’. Regardless of the names used, its virtues and characteristics remain unchanged.

The thick, fluffy, lush green stems form unique clumps of evergreen foliage that remain prominent year in and year out. The flowers are small, white to pinkish white, and produced in clusters amongst the needle-like cladodes during summer. They are followed by shiny red berries that are also hidden amongst the lush cladodes. Grown primarily for its distinctive form and texture this asparagus remains one of the ­finest foliage plants for a wide range of garden applications.

It thrives in outdoor pots, window boxes and hanging baskets and also makes an excellent indoor plant. Planted en masse it makes an effective ground cover with a matted root system that binds soil, preventing erosion. It is perfect for rock gardens, pebble gardens, around water features and out in the general garden.

Asparagus Densifl­orus Myersii‘ propagates easily from seed, adapts to sun or shade, endures drought and withstands light winter frost. It will grow in most soils but prefers rich, loamy conditions. Stems can reach a length of one metre in ideal growing conditions, however, in most gardens they usually attain about half that length.

The Gardener