7 Reasons Why Asparagus Fern Turning White: Solutions

When Asparagus ferns start to turn white, it can be concerning. What causes this discoloration, and what can you do to prevent it? In this blog, we’ll explore the possible causes of asparagus ferns turning white and provide solutions to help keep your ferns looking healthy and vibrant.

Asparagus Fern Turning  White
Asparagus Fern White

Reasons Asparagus Fern Turning White

Asparagus fern may turn white for a few reasons, such as lack of sunlight, overwatering, fungal disease, or pest infestation. Fungal diseases can cause the foliage to turn white or yellow, and pests like spider mites or scale insects can also infect the plant and cause discoloration.

Here are possible reasons for your asparagus fern white discoloration.


When exposed to too much direct sunlight, the leaves of the asparagus fern will start to turn yellow and white. This is a sign that the plant is suffering from sunburn.

Sunburn can be caused by too much exposure to direct sunlight or by reflected sunlight from nearby buildings or other surfaces. The leaves can also become burned if they are exposed to temperatures that are too hot. 

Solution: If you notice that your asparagus fern is turning white, the best thing you can do is to give it some relief from the sun. Move the plant to a shady area and ensure it gets at least four hours of indirect sunlight daily.

If the plant is in an area with intense sunlight, use a shade cloth to protect it. You can also move the plant to an area with more protection from direct sunlight.

lack of sunlight

One of the major reasons for asparagus fern’s white discolors is caused by lack of sunlight. Asparagus ferns prefer bright, indirect light and suffer if kept in the dark corner or shaded area. Without enough exposure to the light, the plant will start to lose its vibrant green color and its leaves will start to pale and turn white. 

Solution: Fortunately, the solution to this problem is simple. Move it to an area of your home or garden with more sunlight. It’s important to ensure it’s not in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the delicate foliage and cause further damage. 

If you cannot give the plant a brighter spot, you can supplement its exposure with an artificial light source. LED grow light will do just fine. This should help to keep the plant healthy and vibrant for longer. 

Lack of Nutrients

Lack of essential nutrients can cause white discoloration in the leaves of asparagus ferns. These essential nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. When one or more of these nutrients are deficient, it can result in discoloration and yellowing of the foliage. You’ll also notice that the new growth is stunted and the leaves are slow to mature. 

Solution: To prevent white discoloration, ensure you provide your fern with enough nutrients. Fertilize your fern every few months with a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can also use organic fertilizers such as compost tea or fish emulsion. These will help ensure your fern gets all the nutrients it needs. 

Watering problem

One of the most common causes of Asparagus ferns turning white is improper watering. If the soil of an Asparagus fern is too dry for too long, the plant will start to suffer. The leaves will start to sag, turn yellow, and eventually turn white. This indicates that the plant is severely dehydrated and desperate for water.

Solution: The asparagus fern requires regular, thorough watering to thrive. It does not tolerate standing water, and its roots must not constantly remain wet. Watering it deeply and infrequently is the best way to ensure the asparagus fern gets the right moisture. Aim to provide at least an inch of water each time you water, but no more than one and a half inches.

Temperature issue

When temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), Asparagus Fern is prone to developing white patches. During the winter, when temperatures drop significantly, these white patches can spread and eventually cover the entire plant. 

A lack of chlorophyll causes the white patches. Chlorophyll is the green pigment that gives plants their color. When temperatures are too low, the plant cannot produce enough of this pigment, leading to a lack of color in the leaves. 

Solution: The best way to prevent Asparagus Fern from turning white is to make sure the air temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 21 degrees Celsius). During the winter months, it’s best to keep the plant indoors, as temperatures can be too cold for the plant. 

Natural Aging

As the plant matures, the fronds start to turn white. Blanching is a process that happens to many plants as they age. Asparagus fern is no different. 

The discoloration occurs when the plant stops producing chlorophyll, the molecule responsible for giving plants their green color. As the chlorophyll disappears, the stems and leaves of the asparagus fern turn white. 

Asparagus Fern White
Old Asparagus Fern White Issue

Solution: The good news is that the white coloration of your asparagus ferns is usually not permanent and can be reversed. You need to prune the old stems and leaves to encourage new growth on the plant. Try giving the ferns more water and misting their foliage with light water. Ensure the plant gets enough light, and limit its exposure to direct sunlight. 

Insect Infestation

Mealybugs are one of the most common pests affecting asparagus ferns. These sap-sucking insects are often mistaken for white cottony growths on the leaves and stems of the plant. This white material results from the mealybugs feeding on the sap, leaving a sticky residue that can eventually cause the entire plant to turn white. 

Mealybugs In Asparagus Fern
Mealybugs Causing White Cottony In Asparagus Fern

Solution:  Once mealybugs have been spotted, they should be treated immediately. This can be done by applying insecticidal soap directly to the affected area. Removing any dead or dying plant material is also important to ensure the mealybugs have no place to hide.

Prevention For Asparagus Fern Turning White

Asparagus ferns are known for their delicate, lacy foliage and are a popular houseplant. Here are some preventive measures that you can take to avoid asparagus ferns turning white:

  1. Provide Adequate Light: Asparagus ferns thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Place your fern in a spot where it can get plenty of natural light without direct exposure to the sun.
  2. Proper Watering: Overwatering or underwatering your fern can cause the foliage to turn white. Water your fern when the soil feels dry to the touch, and avoid letting the soil become waterlogged.
  3. Humidity: Asparagus ferns prefer a humid environment, so keeping the air around your plant moist is essential. You can do this by placing a humidifier or a tray of water near your plant.
  4. Fertilization: Fertilize your asparagus fern with a balanced fertilizer every two to three months during the growing season to help keep it healthy.
  5. Pest Control: Asparagus ferns are susceptible to pests such as spider mites, which can cause the foliage to turn white. Check your plant regularly for signs of infestation and treat it with an appropriate insecticide.

Following these preventive measures can help ensure that your asparagus fern stays healthy and vibrant with no white foliage.

Wrap Up

Asparagus fern turning white is a common issue that various factors can cause. Fortunately, several solutions to this problem include providing adequate sunlight and water, avoiding overfertilization, and ensuring proper drainage and humidity. With these strategies, you can help keep your asparagus fern looking lush and healthy.