Growing Asparagus in Pots
The following details are about growing Asparagus in Pots.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable plant belong to the flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus. It belongs to family of onions and garlic that are related to Allium species.
Asparagus is an herbal plant that grows up to 30 to 50 inches tall, the plant has stout stems branched with feathery foliage. The leaves of the plant are needle-like cladodes in the axis of scale leaves; the leaves of the plant 0.25 to 1.3are 6–32 mm (0.24–1.26 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, and clustered four to 15 together, in a rose-like shape. The flowers of the plant are bell-shaped with greenish-white to yellow color. The flower of the plants is 0.16 to 0.26 long with minimum six petals fused at the base, the plant produces flowers singly or in clusters. The plant has both male and female flowers. And produced red colored berry sized fruits of 5mm diameter, these fruits inedible. Asparagus is used as both vegetable and medicine, it is popular for its delicate flavor, and its many medicinal properties. Only young asparagus shoots are commonly edible, once the buds start to open, the delicate flavor of the shoot turns bitter and they turn woody.
Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable with very less sodium levels. It is a rich source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. And Asparagus is high in dietary fiber, proteins, beta-carotene, vitamin ‘C’, vitamin ‘E’, vitamin ‘K’, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium.
The asparagus is consumed in many ways around the world, it is main edible as typically as an appetizer or vegetable side dish. And in Asian countries, it stirs fried asparagus is very famous.
- Common Name for Asparagus: sparrow grass.
- Scientific Name: Asparagus officinalis.
- Family: Asparagus Belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.
Varieties of Asparagus for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
Asparagus plants are generally male and female. Both the male and female plants are edible, but the mostly male plants grown, as they produce in great numbers. And female plants grown tremendously and good for producing seeds and seedlings. And some types of asparagus are a mix of male and female e plants. But male asparagus plants are easy to propagate, and they grow easily with high yields that have a delicious flavor.
Some varieties of male asparagus:
‘Jersey’ Series – These are hybrid male asparagus plant varieties, Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, Jersey Supreme.
- Jersey Giant: It is a hardy asparagus variety grows well in cold climates.
- Jersey Knight: It is one of the more vigorous type, this is highly disease variety.
- Jersey Supreme: It is an early variety, that produce, shoot faster than giant, knight. And is best choice for light and well-drained soil.
‘Purple Passion’ – it is most popular and widely grown asparagus variety, it produces purple color shoots that have attractive look along with a delicious taste. The color of the purple asparagus fades its color when cooked. Both male and female plants available in ‘Purple Passion’ variety.
‘Apollo’ – this variety of asparagus plant is a disease resistant variety, that grown well in both hot and cold regions.
‘UC 157’ – it is a hybrid variety asparagus, that grows well in warmer climate regions. It has pale green shoots that are highly disease resistant, both male and female plants are available.
‘Atlas’ – It is a hybrid variety that grows vigorously, grows well in hot climate. These plants are highly disease resistant.
‘Viking KBC’ – it is new hybrid variety, it is a combination of both male and female plants. This variety produces high yields.
Asparagus_ Heirloom Varieties:
‘Mary Washington’: it is a traditional heirloom variety, that produces long, deep green shoots with purple tips. These are popular for its size and delicious flavor.
‘PrecoceD’Argenteuil’: It is an heirloom variety that popular for their sweet flavor, that have an attractive rose color tip.
Methods of Propagating Asparagus for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
Asparagus can be propagated from both offset and seeds. Propagating asparagus from shoots is the most common method and it takes one year to produce shoots. But propagating from seeds is a time taking process it takes more than two to produce shoots.
Propagating for Growing Asparagus in Pots from Seeds:
Collect the red berries produced from the asparagus plants, these berries contain seeds. These red berries are produced from the shoot, when they turn to fern at the end of the growing season. Growing asparagus from seeds need a warm climate.
Crush the berries and collect the seeds, soak them in water to remove the pulp and dry for a few days. Seeds can be stored in a cool and dry location and sowing should be done in spring. Seeds should be started indoors for best results. Growing asparagus from seeds take more than two years for harvesting. Seeds can be directly purchased from the nurseries or garden centers.
Propagating for Growing Asparagus in Pots from offsets:
Most common and easy way of propagating asparagus is from its offsets. When the plant slows down the production of shoots, then you cut the roots into pieces and plant them separately. Spring it ideal time to plant the offset. Asparagus grown from offset’s or roots will take 1 year to produce shoots.
Pots Requirement for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
For growing asparagus in Pots, grow from offsets. Growing from offsets or crowns will increase the rate of success. Choose a disease resistant, high yielding male asparagus plant variety. Asparagus needs lots of space to grow, so select a large container. Choose a container that can hold minimum 20 gallons of soil, the size should 45 cm in diameter and 45 cm in depth. The container should have a good draining system. There should be a minimum 2 to 3 draining holes. The container can be of clay, terra cotta, wood, or plastic if it has adequate drainage holes. Clay Pots will dry out container quickly, use plastic container coated with light color.
Ideal Season for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
Asparagus is a cool season crop, grow well in the regions with cool temperature. Spring could be the ideal season for growing asparagus in Pots.
- March to April is the ideal time if growing asparagus from Pots.
- If growing from seeds, the ideal time to sow from late February to early March.
Ideal Temperature for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- Asparagus plants are sensitive to temperatures.
- Ideal temperature for growing asparagus should range from 15 to 25 degrees in daytime and night temperature should be between 10 to 15 degrees.
- The plant starts producing shoots at the soil temperature is above 15 degrees. Growth of the plants increases when the temperature rises.
- When growing asparagus from seeds, the soil temperature plays key in the germination process.
- Ideal temperature for seed germination is 10 degrees. At this temperature the seeds take 53 to 55 days to germinate.
- The optimum soil temperature should be 25 degrees for fast germination.
- The temperature above 30 degrees and below 10 degrees, will slow down the growth of the plant.
Potting soil for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- Asparagus need fertile, well drained and non-acidic soil that is rich in organic matter.
- The pH levels of the soil should be between pH of 6.5-7.5, if the soil is more acidic add lime to reduce its acidic nature.
- Add some fertile river sand to increase the draining system in the soil.
- Asparagus loves phosphorous, so enrich the soil with composted manure, bone meal and rock phosphate to increase the nutrient levels in soil. Phosphorus levels in the soil will fasten up the growth of the plant.
- Adding mulch to soil will protect the plants from weeds, use grass, bindweed or quack grass as mulching.
- In every spring top dress, the plant with 2 to 3 inches of the composted manure and 2-inch layer of organic mulch will help the soil to provide necessary nutrient for the growth of the plant.
- Instead of garden soil, go for commercial potting soil rich in organic matter. Add vermiculite or perlite to increase the draining system
- Add some all-purpose balanced granular fertilizer before filling it into the container, this provides necessary nutrient to the soil.
Steps for Growing Asparagus in Pots from Offsets:
- Choose the desired Pots and fill thin layer of gravel or fine mesh covering the draining holes. This avoids the dripping of soil and water logging. It protects the roots from rot and other fungal diseases.
- Now fill the enriched potting soil, leaving 2 inches space between the surface of the soil and the rim of the container. Dig an8 inches deep hole in the center of the container. This gives root system a good amount to expand.
- Now add some well-rotted manure or compost at the center of the hole. Now lay the roots of the offset in the middle above the manure. Now cover the root ball with potting mix up to 2 inches.
- Water the young plant thoroughly, till it drips out from the draining holes. Water the plants using a watering can. There will be a depression at the center of the container, till the root reaches the top layer of the soil.
- Maintain the moisture levels of the soil. Moisture in the soil fastens the growth of the plant. The shoot starts to grow on the crowns, cover them with soil, leaving one-half inch in the air. Do this every week till they reach the height of the soil. Large the crowns more the shoots they produce. Each crown will produce 6 to 12 shoots depending on a variety of the plant and climatic conditions.
- Now, once the shoot starts to appear, feed the plant once or twice in a month with all-purpose fertilizers or organic compost.
- Using compost or rotted manure instead of fertilizers will produce organic vegetables. Or can also use a balanced organic fertilizer in the ration of 10:10:10 or 15:15:15.
- If you see any red berry like fruits appearing on the female plant, just pick them off. If they are not picked, they fall on the surface of the soil and grow as weed which is not good for growth of shoots. Female asparagus plants produce smaller pencil like shoots whereas male plants produce three-times thicker shoots than female plants. Smaller pencil-thin spears, and male plants produce spears that are two to three times as thick. Growing procedure of both male and female plants are same.
Steps for Growing Asparagus in Pots from Seeds:
- If growing asparagus from seeds, start them indoors or in a greenhouse.
- Ideal time to sow seeds are Mid Feb to May. The temperature of the soil for seed germinations should be 20-25 degrees.
- Collect for the fruits of the asparagus plants or you can directly purchase from the garden centers.
- Now soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours to fasten the seed germination.
- Sow the seed in a seed tray filled with seed starting potting soil. Sow the seeds ½ inch deep in the tray.
- Moist the soil and place the tray under grow lights or near a window. The seed takes 2 -8 weeks to germinate. Feed the plant with compost for every two weeks to fasten the growth of seedlings.
- The seedling should be transplanted after 13 to 15 weeks of germination. Transplant the seedling in large Pots and place them to outdoor. Don’t move the container directly to the outdoors, harden them for 1 week before placing them to the outdoor climate.
Water for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- Asparagus plants are good drought resistant plants. The deep root system of the plant makes them survive in low levels of the water.
- But the plants have high yields if the soil moisture is maintained constant.
- To check the moisture levels in the soil, just dig the soil up to 4 to 5 inches, it you find wet soil don’t water the plant for the few weeks.
- Water the plant only at the base, avoid wetting foliage. Foliage watering may cause fungal diseases.
- Water the plants only at early hours. So that the any wet on the foliage will get dry by the afternoon sun.
- In drought conditions, water the plants for every 10 to 15 days.
- Overwatering can cause rot in the asparagus plants.
Sunlight for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- Asparagus need a good amount of sunlight to grow well. The Ideal amount of sunlight a plant need is 7 to 8 hours.
- Morning sunlight is very good for a plant, give at least 2 to 3 hours of morning sunlight for the plant.
- If living in heavy summer regions, move the plants to shade in noon time to protect the plant from high heat. Or can cover them with green cloths or garden cloches.
- Asparagus also grows well in shade areas and indoor. If growing indoor, place them near a window or balcony door where it can get 3 to 4 hours complete sunlight. Or grown them under grow lights. If grow shade areas outdoors, make sure that the plant gets good amount light.
Fertilizers for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- Asparagus are heavy feeders, they need to feed constantly.
- The plants should be fertilized constantly for first three years. Regular fertilization promotes healthy roots and plant development.
- Fertilizing the Asparagus plants in early spring is necessary as early fertilization encourages the growth of the plant. This should be done as soon as the new growth of the plant This early fertilization encourages root growth, and the plants get faster root establishment.
- Use a balanced organic fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in the ratio of 10-10-10 or 15-15-15.
- Feed the plants with organic compost, compost tea, bone meal, fish, seaweed once in a week.
- Kitchen scraps like bread, diary and fruit waste are a rich source of nutrients, minerals and vitamins that promotes successful growth of the plant.
Harvesting and Storage Tips for Growing Asparagus in Pots:
- When the asparagus shoots appear in the spring, shoot are ready for harvest them when they grow up to six to ten inches.
- The shoots should be harvested before the flower buds are open.
- Harvest them simply by cutting or snapping off at the ground level.
- Shoots can be harvested for five to 7 weeks and should be stopped before July.
- In case of less yields or weak plants, stop harvesting and harvest them in the next growing season.
- Shoots grown more than ten inches should be allowed grow to build root system and store energy for next growing season.
- Asparagus are placed in a jar or glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of water and stored in the refrigerator. Make sure that the end dipped in the water. They are also stored in an airtight cover and placed in the freezer, they stay fresh for more than a week.
- Asparagus can be pickled and stored in refrigerator and stored for more than a month.