Asparagus demands its own bed in the garden because it lives for years. Once the plants are established, the bed will produce every year for 15 years or more. Plant asparagus seedlings in early spring. Our containers typically have several seedlings that you will need to gently tease apart to plant at the proper spacing. Apply a thick layer of mulch at planting time and always pay close attention to weed control, as asparagus hates any competitor. Avoid using straw mulch because of the seed that it often carries (wheat, rye, or other grain that it comes from).

Although an asparagus bed rewards you for years, you’ll need patience to wait on the first harvest, which doesn’t come until the second spring. The first spring that you plant, leave the plants alone to grow into tall ferns (4-5 feet high). This builds strong roots that send out the asparagus shoots the next spring. Even though the asparagus harvest comes in spring, remember to mulch, water, and weed the bed throughout the growing season to ensure an even better crop next year. Asparagus is high in vitamins C and K.

  • Light Full sun
  • Stalk size at harvest 7 to 9 inches tall
  • Matures perennial, first harvest a year after planting
  • Plant spacing 12 to 18 inches
  • Plant size 4 to 5 feet

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

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At a glance

Light requirements: Full sun. Plant asparagus on the west or north side of a garden so the tall plants won’t shade other vegetables in summer.

Planting: Space 12 to 18 inches apart.

Soil requirements: Asparagus needs well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Prepare soil one season to one year before planting (e.g. prep soil in fall for planting the following spring). Work at least 3 inches of organic matter into soil. Asparagus won’t grow in acid soil. Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.7. Test soil and add lime as needed.

Water requirements: Water new crowns at planting time and during the first growing season if rainfall is scarce. Established asparagus is drought tolerant and usually grows well with rainfall as the sole water source.

Frost-fighting plan: Temperatures below 33ºF can damage asparagus. Cover shoots with a frost blanket to protect from late spring frosts.

Common issues: Bent spears (which are still edible) occur as a result of insect feeding or damage that can occur when cutting other spears. Keep an eye out for weeds. Pests to watch out for include black and red asparagus beetles, and European asparagus aphid (in the Midwest). Asparagus is susceptible to crown and root rots.

Harvesting: Don’t harvest any spears the first growing season and just a few the second. By the third season, you can harvest at will, although picking only a few spears during this season will lead to a greater annual harvest in years to come. Stop harvesting when spear diameter drops to pencil size. Harvest 6- to 8-inch spears in the morning or evening, when air is cool. Snap spears near ground level. Avoid using a knife if possible, as it can spread disease from one plant to another.

Storage: Refrigerate spears in a loosely closed plastic bag for up to 14 to 21 days.

For more information, visit the Asparagus page in our How to Grow section.

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