If you’re looking to grow a hardy perennial vegetable that will provide you with decades of fruitful harvest, then Asparagus plants are ideal. Of course, with so many online hacks where people can regrow vegetables from the grocery store, you might want to take a few spears of your Asparagus, drop them in water, and grow your own plant, but it is a bit more complicated than that.
You can propagate Asparagus from crown cuttings, which you can plant in the spring or from seed; however, it will take up to 3 years for a successful harvest, so propagating with crown cuttings is the most efficient.
Asparagus spears will only produce viable roots if a crown is attached.
How to Propagate Asparagus
There are two different ways that you can successfully propagate Asparagus. The first way is through crown cuttings. Crown cuttings will allow you to harvest new Asparagus much faster, as most crowns you can purchase are at least a couple of years old. The second way to propagate Asparagus is through seeds.
Before You Propagate Asparagus
Choose a sunny location where your Asparagus will not cast a shadow on other plants that need sun, as they can grow quite tall. It’s also essential to work with soil that does not have weeds, as they will crowd out your Asparagus. Finally, if you want to grow Asparagus that produces more spears for harvesting, you will want to choose male Asparagus plants.
In contrast, if you want to produce more berries and seeds, you should select female Asparagus plants. Since most gardeners are looking to grow Asparagus for their spears, some cultivars are exclusively sold as male Asparagus, so it is important to keep that in mind before propagating.
How Do You Tell a Male from a Female Asparagus?
You must look at the flowers to tell the difference between a male and female Asparagus plant. Female Asparagus flowers will have pistils with three lobes. Also, male Asparagus varieties will grow much taller and produce more spears than females, which will produce more flowers and berries.
Propagating Asparagus With Crown Cuttings
You can easily purchase Asparagus crown cuttings from garden centers, or you can do so by dividing crowns from a friend or family member.
If you are dividing crown cuttings from your garden, dig them up in early spring, when the plant is still dormant. You can separate crowns gently by hand or use sterile pruning shears.
Briefly soak your roots in water before planting. They don’t need to soak for long, just long enough that the roots become less stiff and easier to work with. Next, dig a trench in the soil approximately 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) deep.
Within that trench, you will want to add a small hill in the middle of the trench. Place your crown in that trench, spreading the roots. The crown should sit on the small hill within the trench, and the roots settle downwards.
Next, bury the crown a few inches beneath the soil. If you are planting multiple Asparagus, plant the crowns 1-2 feet apart as the roots will sprawl. Asparagus cuttings will benefit from adding a layer of mulch on top of the trench for some added protection from temperature extremes.
When to Harvest Asparagus From Crown Cuttings
Patience is key when harvesting Asparagus, and once you get past the first couple of years, you will have an abundance of spears to harvest.
When it comes to crown cuttings, you should wait to harvest until the following year. You may notice some spears emerge later that first season, but the spears will be small and thin and should be left alone as the plant will focus on growing healthy roots.
During the second year, you should only harvest lightly, as your Asparagus plant will spend this growing season establishing itself and sprawling even further.
If you follow this process, you will have a plentiful Asparagus harvest in the third year. This will continue for years and even decades to come.
How to Propagate Asparagus from Seed
To propagate your Asparagus from seed, you will need to soak your seeds for 24 hours before planting them into seed trays, containers, or directly into the ground. It may take up to six to eight weeks for your seeds to sprout. Once the seedling is about 12 inches (30 cm) tall, you can transplant them into the soil.
In the first year, your Asparagus will focus on growing roots and not yielding any harvest. In the second year, your Asparagus will begin to sprawl and become more established, and in the third year, it may start to produce spears that you can harvest. This is why most gardeners opt for propagating Asparagus through crown cuttings instead of seeds, as it takes significantly less time for harvest.
Can You Root Asparagus in Water?
Using water is a popular way to encourage root growth and propagate different vegetables and herbs. Still, when it comes to propagating Asparagus, you will need a viable crown cutting to grow healthy Asparagus.
The crown of the Asparagus is the most totipotent, meaning it is the portion of the plant that can develop viable roots for reproduction. In nearly all cases, crown cuttings will have healthy roots attached so that you can produce new Asparagus plants from crown cuttings.
Can I Propagate Store Bought Asparagus?
You can propagate Asparagus crown cuttings from a store. In most cases, the Asparagus spears you purchase from the grocery store will not have crowns attached. If you want to propagate Asparagus that will yield a healthy harvest, you are better off buying crown cuttings from the store.
How Does Asparagus Come Back Every Year?
Asparagus will come back year after year because they are perennials. Asparagus will go dormant over the winter months and return in the spring. When started correctly and given the right conditions, Asparagus will continue to return yearly and provide you with plenty of harvests for 10 to 20 years.
Can You Regrow Asparagus After Cutting?
After the first two years of growth, primarily when grown from crown cuttings, you should be able to get multiple harvests each season. Typically harvests will begin in early spring, and then into the early autumn, the Asparagus will start to fern and produce foliage before becoming dormant in the winter months.
Can You Grow Asparagus in a Raised Bed?
Growing Asparagus in a raised bed is an excellent idea because it can help to prevent the invasion of weeds. Asparagus are very intolerant of weed interference so planting your Asparagus in a raised bed is a great solution.
Make sure that the bed is deep enough to accommodate the root growth, as Asparagus can grow both tall above the soil, and the roots will sprawl and establish themselves deep below the soil.
How Deep Do Asparagus Roots Grow?
Asparagus roots will sprawl up to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide and grow 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m) deep beneath the soil. This growth will not happen overnight, but as the Asparagus plant matures throughout its 10-20 year lifespan, its roots will establish deep into the soil. It is crucial to plant your Asparagus wisely, as it may be difficult to uproot once it matures.
You can propagate Asparagus from crown cuttings, which you can plant as soon as the soil is workable in the spring, or from seed; however, it will take up to 3 years for a successful harvest, so propagating with crown cuttings is the most efficient.
To propagate Asparagus from crown cuttings, soak the roots in water, dig a trench in the soil with a small hill, place the crown on top of the hill, and bury the crown a few inches below the soil.
To propagate Asparagus from seeds, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours, place them in a seed tray or container, once the seedling is 12 inches (30 cm) in length, you can transplant it into soil.
Asparagus is well worth the time and patience put into propagating and growing new plants. Asparagus plants can be one of the most rewarding additions to your garden providing you with harvests for years to come.