- perennial, native to Europe and Old World Africa
- USDA hardiness zones:
- Days to maturity:
- 0 - 0
Plants produce thick, straight, dark green stalkes and tinged with purple at the tightly folded tips. Resistant to asparagus rust.
- moderately difficult
When properly maintained this perennial will last for many years so plan ahead before planting. Pick a spot where cold and water don't settle - asparagus don't like water-logged soil and while plants will tolerate frost it will harm the spears. Have the soil tested and fertilize or add lime as needed to fix deficiencies. 4 to 6 weeks after your last frost prepare 8 inch (20 cm) trenches and plant crowns, spreading out their roots 1 ½ to 2 feet (46 to 61 cm) apart. Start by covering with an inch or 2 (2.5 to 5 cm) of soil and continue to cover as plants emerge. Mulch heavily during dry months to maintain soil moisture and keep down weeds. As long as the mulch layer is thick it will be effective regardless of what you use, just make sure it is weed-seed free. New varieties like the Jersey series are hybrids providing all male plants. Females have lower yields and set bothersome seeds. If using older types like Martha Washington then cull females as soon as they flower and replant with males. Females can be distinguished by 6 small pistils and a large tri-lobed stamen while males have 6 stamens and larger flowers. Keep well composted for nutrients. For white asparagus protect spears from light by covering with mulch, soil or even buckets. Spears have the best flavor if eaten soon after harvest. Leave ferns on plants until they die back all the way in the fall.
Size and growth:
- 5.0 to 9.0 feet
- 2.0 to 2.5 feet
Bloom / flowers:
Since early history, asparagus has been collected from the wild, as soon as it sends up spears in Spring, and before leaves appear. Asparagus repels root nematodes which impact tomatoes, and tomatoes repel the asparagus beetle, making them great companion plants.
The asparagus season is short, with spears in the Northern Hemisphere cultivated only until the Summer Solstice, even in Zones 2 and 3.