Planting Asparagus From Seed

January 29, 2019
Planting Asparagus From Seed


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Asparagus has to be my favorite early spring vegetable. Though it is wonderful cooked. I think it is best eaten raw while working in the garden. Asparagus is often started from one-year crowns, however you can plant asparagus from seed, too! 

It’s not hard to grow asparagus from seed; it just adds an extra year onto the wait period until you can begin to harvest. We planted ‘Argenteuil’ a French heirloom variety.


The plants are only about 6 weeks old and they already have impressive root systems.

Plus, asparagus is a perennial vegetable—plant it once and enjoy it for many years. Crunchy, succulent and flavorful, asparagus is good for you as well.

Anything this tasty and reliable does not come easily though. It takes up a lot of space, there is a lot of prep work to get the bed ready, and it requires about three years from seed to harvest before we get to taste a single spear.

The good news is that, once started, asparagus can last a generation, so there are big rewards!

Planting Asparagus From Seed

Two years ago, I started some asparagus from seed and transplanted them to a nursery bed in the garden. They were immediately eaten by cutworms! It was late summer and I did not think they were still active. Wrong!

Imagine my relief when a few weeks later they sent up new fronds and continued to grow until freezing weather set in. Last spring they popped right up—cute little miniature spears of asparagus that turned into lush green fronds.

Since male plants are more productive we were able to figure out which ones were female when they blossomed and formed seed pods. These plants were pulled out, leaving only male plants. This spring, before any growth emerged, it was time for us to move the plants to their permanent location.


I couldn’t believe how huge the root systems had gotten!

We dug a trench about 12 inches wide and 8 inches deep. We added compost to the bottom of the trench and used it to make 4 inch high mounds about 18 inches apart in the trench.


We placed the crowns of the plants on the mounds and let the roots drape down over the sides, then covered them with a few inches of soil. As the spears grow we can continue to fill in the trench until it is level or even slightly higher than the surrounding soil. The crowns should end up at least 4 inches below the surface.

Now comes the really hard part. We can’t pick any spears this year and maybe only a few next year. The third year we can pick only spears that are finger-sized but have to stop when they get to be less than 1/2 inch in diameter.


Patience is something that doesn’t grow in my garden! I have to work at it.


Read how to plant asparagus by crowns on the Almanac’s Aspargus Growing Guide.

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market.

Reader Comments

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Asparagus 2year old crowns

I bought about two dozen 2 year old crowns mail order. Planted them as you described in the spring after the last frost in a raised bed, mulched them, and now it's been about four weeks. Shouldn't I be seeing some kind of growth? I've kept the bed watered, and they were plump and healthy when I planted them. I know patience is required, but I was thinking that I should see something by now?

If the crowns were healthy

If the crowns were healthy and planted correctly you should be seeing some growth any time now. Be patient!

Check your soil acidity,

Asparagus will not tolerate acidic soil.
Using peat moss when planting Asparagus crowns will often kill them.
Don't ask how I learned this...

Asparagus proliferation

About how many stalks should I expect to come up from one root crown? Seems there are more than one per crown.

You can get 8-10 stalks or

You can get 8-10 stalks or more per crown once the plants are well-established.

Asparagus berries

I've read most of the questions and answers & im confused on male and female plants and what to do with the berries on the ferns? Their pretty ferns now with berries that are turning red! I live in NW Montana

Male plants are more prolific

Male plants are more prolific since they don’t waste any of their energy producing seeds. The berries you see contain seeds so you know those plants are females. If you want to pull them out and replace them with male plants go ahead, but I would never do that. After waiting this long for asparagus, it would set you back a few more years. While female plants may not be as productive you will still get plenty of tasty asparagus from them. In the future, if you are adding more plants to your asparagus beds, look for male plants. Those berries you see will drop and you may find lots of seedlings coming up next spring.

Asparagus from seed

Hi, I brought some Asparagus seeds to plant this past spring. They've started to grow and have reached over 2-3"'s tall. I've transplanted them into my garden in the backyard. They look so cute! Out of the 70 or so seeds in the package. 20-30 have taken! I've inherited my dad's Green Thumb! Now is the hard part "waiting the 2 years before I can harvest them.
At least they are on they're way. : ) Have a Great Summer!

Last years seedlings

I started aspargus last year and when they were about 5" tall transplanted them to a raised garden plot.. planting the roots about 5" or so. Aspargus grown along the road allowances where I love so I didn't put any mulch or ground cover over them thinking that if they grow there, they should be good without too much fuss. They appeared to have wintered well but are showing no real signs of waking up yet. I know I shouldn't harvest until at least 3 years but am wondering if there is anything I should be doing now or in late fall to help them along. I also wondered about the photo posted as it appears to be a well established root system not one that is 2 years old. Can you confirm please as I think this can be a little misleading. thanks

I was just as surprised as

I was just as surprised as you were at the size of those roots! They are indeed only 2 years old, maybe a little less since I started the seeds late. I was shocked at the size of the root balls when we started digging them up. I don’t know where you live but here in my zone 5 location the asparagus doesn’t show until later in May. To keep your plants growing strong, fertilize them spring and fall.


So. this is my asparagus second year after I planted them from seed last year. The little spindley spears that are coming up and becoming fern-like, should I be cutting them back even though they are not big enough to eat or just let them bolt?

Growing Asparagus

I would love to plant asparagus, but I have no clue where to even start. Where do I get seedlings or crowns? And is my zone (6) a good place to grow asparagus. So many questions, so little time. Someone please help.

Check out your local garden

Check out your local garden supply store or nursery. If they don’t have crowns for sale, there are many mail order sources. Asparagus should grow great in a zone 6 location. Do your homework before you plant. They will grow and produce for a long time if your give them the right start. Read the asparagus articles on this website or look for your local agricultural extension service website.

Why only males?

Why do you want only male plants?

Since male plants don’t waste

Since male plants don’t waste any energy on producing fruit (those little red berries) and seeds, they have stronger root systems.  Male plants start to bear earlier in the spring and can produce as much as 3 times the number of spears as a female plant. They also are longer lived.

Asparagus seedlings in the tropics

A friend gave me a small planter container with many asparagus seedlings all growing very close together. I have been watering them and now I see there are ting asparagus growing. I live in the tropics with only wet and dry season. What do I do with these plants? I want to make a bed. Do I try to separate the seedlings now? They are about 12 - 18 inch ferns and falling over. Thanks

picture of asperagus grown from seed

My daughter planted some asparagus seed this spring and I am not sure what the sprouts should look like. Do you have any pictures to share of what a new sprout looks like? Thank you. Vicki

asparagus planted from seeds (berries)

I have a 80 acre yard in middle TN. About 5 years or more ago, because of health, I can't remember. I purchased a bag or 2 of roots from Wal Mart. I stuck them in the ground. The only thing I did was call it our asparagus patch! The past two or three years I have picked may be a dozen or more and the rest I never picked. We have lots of wild black berry plants every where. We mow a few acres so the black berry plants don't mature. This year I went to the patch and started I thought was weeding but I'm not sure. I was pulling up a root system that had new growth and a root system underneath from a half to quarter inch in diameter. When I pulled it up it ran to another plant with new growth. I don't know what asparagus plants look like, I don't understand how to plant asparagus, I don't know what to do with the seeds I had in my freezer? I have access to the ground around a cattle ring that is at least two years old (it has cow manure and black rich dirt). Would that be good around asparagus plants?

It sounds like the plants you

It sounds like the plants you are pulling up could be the blackberry bushes. They tend to sprout new plants from undergound runners. Let your asparagus spears come up and mark them so you can dig them up next spring and move them away from the blackberries. Dig a trench as I explained above and plant them in a new weed-free location. The blackberries are too invasive and will choke them out. The composted manure from the cattle ring sounds like it would be perfect fertilizer for the plants. You can give the frozen seeds a try. Just plant them in a large pot of seed-starting soil and keep your fingers crossed! If they germinate, let them get to a manageable size and transplant them to a nursery bed where you can keep an eye on them.


when they are 5 inches tall do i thin them ?

Hi Susan, If you are growing

Hi Susan, If you are growing them indoors in a community flat and they are too thick you can thin them or transplant them to individual pots. After the last frost for your area they can be transplanted outdoors to a nursery bed. Space them about 6-12 inches apart to give the roots some room to grow.


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