Perennials are plants that you plant once, but can reap the benefits for years to come on. Asparagus is one such plant that you can grow easily from cuttings.
Asparagus produces different colored edible spears in its growing season. You can get green, purple and white asparagus seeds or root crowns from the market.
But, growing asparagus from seeds isn’t recommended by many gardening experts. Not that it’s tough; it takes 2-3 years to grow asparagus through seeds. This is why many prefer to grow asparagus from cuttings.
If you think you can regrow this plant by just sowing asparagus stem in the soil, this you’re wrong. This plant develops through tuberous roots. So, to grow asparagus, you must borrow its root crowns from a friend or nursery. Plant this cutting in well-drained soil with pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.
Know Your Plant – It’s Important
This perennial plant is the first one to be harvested in each spring. Asparagus plant in your backyard or container will prize your with at-least 15 years of harvest.
Renowned for its flavor, vitamins and low calories, asparagus plant need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. This plant thrives in well-drained and organic rich soil.
Moderate pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 will be enough to grow this plant through division.
Commonly, asparagus is grown through crowns. You can also grow through seeds or through division.
Type of soil, location of the plant, age and size of root crowns plays vital role in growing asparagus.
Can I Grow Asparagus from Cuttings?
Yes, you can grow asparagus by planting its root crowns.
Unlike, other plants that grow from stems, leaves or buds, asparagus needs to be divided through its crown.
You can also grow asparagus from seeds, but it takes one more extra year to harvest.
Also Read: Growing Chives from Cuttings
How to Grow Asparagus from Cuttings?
Most gardeners prefer to grow asparagus in raised beds, because this plant loves to grow in loose soil. If you’re planting it in your backyard, then double dig the surface of the soil to loosen the subsoil to the depth of 12 inches.
To grow asparagus, you must initially choose the variety that you want to grow.
Choose the Variety
Jersey gem and Jersey Knight are all male hybrids that produce more yield with no weeds in your home garden.
Most gardeners prefer Mary Washington as standard variety to grow asparagus.
If you’re looking for large spears, then altas asparagus is best.
Step: 1 Cuttings
Visit your gardening friend or nursery to borrow root crowns of asparagus. Using a sharp knife you can divide the asparagus roots with base stem.
Make sure you don’t damage its tubers. Instead of using knife you can also gently divide the tubers with bare hands.
Step: 2 Prepare the Soil (Raised beds or Container)
Potting soil plays vital role in growing healthy asparagus plant. As mentioned above, this perennial plant does excellent in well-drained and compost rich soil.
Gardeners prefer to grow asparagus in raised beds, because loose soil will improve drainage ability and avoid root rot, because you must save root crowns to increase your crop.
You can also plant asparagus root crowns in backyard, for this you must dig 12-18 inches deep and two spades width. Now, you can use dry compost to create trench.
If you’re planting in a container, then check out that your growing pot has drainage hole. Mix equal parts of garden soil, perlite, compost and peat moss to improve the drainage.
Step: 3 Composting
Asparagus are heavy feeders. So, it’s recommended that you add dry leaves, dry cow manure or organic fertilizers to the container or raised bed before planting root crowns.
Also add phosphorus amendment to the soil. This will ensure healthy root growth and improve crop quality.
Note: Using fresh compost may attract fungi or bacterial infection.
Also Read: How To Grow Mint From Cuttings?
Step: 4 Planting
While planting asparagus root crowns make sure they were sowed 3 inches below the surface of the soil. Else, you can also ridge up your asparagus crowns like you do for potato plants.
When you sow the crown, you must separate/spread out the roots in the trench. Now fill it with soil, so that crown and roots are covered.
Water the planted crowns very well right away.
Note: If you’re planting in a dry soil or on hot day. You can soak root crowns in a bucket of water for about an hour and then plant as mentioned above.
Also in a dry region, cover the raised bed in which you planted crowns with mulch. This will help the soil to stay moist and protect it from drying quickly.
Also Read: How Often Should You Water Chilli Plants?
Best Season to Plant Asparagus Root Crowns
Spring is the best time to grow asparagus from cuttings.
Asparagus can’t tolerate frost. So, start planting this perennial plant after last frost and it needs temperature of at-least 50 F.
This plant doesn’t love transplanting. So, as soon you get asparagus cuttings, plant them. To reduce transplant shock, experts recommend using one year old root crowns.
Note: Asparagus grows faster in warmer climates.
When You Should Avoid Planting Asparagus?
As mentioned above, you can plant asparagus in early spring or by end of fall.
Don’t plant them in frost, these plants can’t survive.
Apart from that, avoid planting onions, garlic, leeks and potatoes along side with asparagus. These plants will stunt asparagus growth.
Growing Asparagus from Cuttings (Important Tips to Take Care)
Asparagus is one of the fine vegetables that you can grow at home garden without much work.
It contains mega range of vitamins and minerals making it most health rich food. So, to grow a successful asparagus in a raised bed or container, you must initially understand the plant. Know it’s climatic and other requirements.
- Don’t worry to choose one asparagus variety. It’s preferred that you choose two of your favorite varieties. I prefer Jersey Knight and Mary Washington breed.
- Asparagus dies back in winter and regrow in spring. When the plants dies cut its stem and fill the raised bed with dry compost. Basically, you got a chance to enrich your soil with organic fertilizers; and when the asparagus grow back it will have a good start.
- Instead of seeds, many gardening experts recommend choosing root crowns to grow asparagus. Because, this has much success rate and the time to maturity if faster.
- To grow successful asparagus you must have patience. It takes several years to establish itself strong enough, so that you can harvest every year.
- It takes 2-4 years to harvest asparagus depending on the variety and climatic conditions in your region.
- Don’t harvest asparagus in first year. Let the delicate fern grow in your garden for few years.
- In second year after planting, you’ll see pencil size thick spears. You can harvest them now. However, best size of asparagus fern is of your finger size.
- Harvest spears by cutting it around 8 inches or at-least before fern starts opening.
- After harvest allow the asparagus to grow in summer, because in winter it will die out transferring energy to root crowns.
- This stored energy in the crown and root system will give a great kick start in the new season.
Also Read: How Often to Water Cucumber Plants?
Covering the surface of the soil with mulch will help to protect crowns from extreme temperatures in Summer or Cold. It also locks moisture in the soil so that the root system can grow rapidly.
It can also help to control weeds around the asparagus.
However, mulching can result in crooked or bendy asparagus spear.
You can use dead asparagus ferns as mulch or other nitrogen rich mulch.
Note: Dress the bed just before growing season with compost and poultry manure.
How to Grow Asparagus from Seeds?
Normal method of growing asparagus is through cuttings or crowns. Anyway, if you have plenty of time and what to try, choose best variety of asparagus seeds.
Start germinating these seeds before spring by sowing the seeds in potting mix soil indoors.
Till the germination takes place after 6-8 weeks place the pot indoors in warm place.
When the last frost is over, choose the best location to grow asparagus that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Using fork remove the seedling and plant it in the backyard or raised bed.
Before planting, prepare your raised bed by digging extra 12 inches deep and mixing it with compost.
Note: Asparagus need well drained soil, so loosen the subsoil to improve the plant growth and avoid root rot.
Also Read: How To Grow Cilantro From Cuttings?
Why You Must Grow Asparagus from Cuttings?
Because growing asparagus from root crowns or cuttings takes less time to mature when compared to growing from seeds.
It also increases the success rate of growing and reduces the transplant shock.
Apart from having favorable growing climatic conditions, best soil, as a gardener you must have patience to grow asparagus from cuttings.
Divide the root crown using a knife and plant them separately by making 12 inch trench filled with compost.
Asparagus plants are heavy feeders, so you must feed them with organic fertilizers while planting.
These plants need 8 hours of direct sunlight, but they can’t tolerate frost. So, after harvest the plant dies in winter and comes back in the next growing season.
Once you plant asparagus in your backyard you can reap its benefits for 15-20 years. But, it’s recommended to avoid harvesting for 1st year. This will ensure stronger and heavy yield in coming seasons.