Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Asparagus

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
              P P P P  

(Best months for growing Asparagus in Australia - temperate regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

August: frost tender

  • Easy to grow. Plant as crowns. Best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 40 cm apart
  • Harvest in 2-3 years. Plant 'crowns' to harvest earlier .
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Parsley, Basil, Nasturtiums, Lettuce
  • Avoid growing close to: Garlic, Onions, and root vegetables
  • Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in)
    Seedlings (approx 6cm/3in)

Plant crowns (roots) 20-40cm apart and a few cm (1 inch) deep in well manured soil. The asparagus shoots grow in spring. Harvest the shoots which are bigger than 1-2cm/half-inch in diameter. Leave the rest to grow into the leafy ferns (1.5m/5-6ft tall) which will feed the crowns to give a crop next year. In autumn the ferns will be covered in bright red poisonous berries. Leave the ferns to die down in autumn, then trim off the dead stalks and pile on plenty of rotted manure/compost to give the roots plenty of food to produce new stems in spring.

Harvest by cutting off the stalk, close to the ground. From the third year you can get an additional crop by letting the first lot of ferns grow, then bending down the stalks to break them. A second crop of shoots will grow and can be harvested. Leave subsequent shoots to grow on to ferns. Asparagus does not like continuously wet and warm soil. It grows better where there is a cool or frosty season.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Asparagus

Steaming is traditional, then coating with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.
Alternatively break in short lengths, and cook quickly in hot oil in a wok and sprinkle with soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.

NOTE: The asparagus berries are poisonous. Only the young shoots are edible.

Your comments and tips

29 Mar 17, Charlie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have 2 asparagus plants, both 2 1/2 yrs old. They look like they will be ready for harvesting this spring. My question is: they are not yellowing or dying back during winter. So do I trim, or leave them. Everything I have read states cutting back when yellowing but they just stay green and keep growing. We have had an extraordinary amount of rain so they are happy and health and a little too tall.
03 Apr 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
It is March the first month of Autumn - not winter. In Aug 2015 I put 1 year old crowns (size of 50c piece) in.. They grew all the time until I cut them in Aug 2016. approx. 9" diameter. I watered them every couple of days. Spears came out a week later. I only picked for about 3-4 weeks. My plants are now 2 1/2 year old also. I gave my ferns a big trim a few days ago. They were 6' high with new growth about 2-3' longer. I even eat some last week. I will stop watering them from about end of June I think. Give them a chance to die off.
30 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
In cooler climates asparagus normally yellows and dies back in the winter as you say. in the spring if the spears are left they will grow on to form the big ferny tops that we are familiar with. The plant uses these tops along with manure or compost to regenerate the roots in readiness for next springs crop. You could try bending these over so they are bruised and nearly broken off to force the plant into dormancy. If you cut them off the plant may just send up some more spindly spears.
15 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Keep the seeds in a cool dry place. I kept watering my asparagus all the way into July last year - spears kept coming up. When I did cut them in August, new spears appeared in week or so. I gave my 3 plants a big hair cut a week ago. I have 4 x 6' posts at the corners of the garden bed and cord running around the post to support the ferns. The ferns grow to 6-8' high. I only cut spears for 1 month last year (2 yr old plant). In hindsight I could have cut them for another 4-6 weeks. The crowns are now about 15" in diameter (2.5 yrs old now). The little seedlings I planted out in Sept are still growing - the shade cloth cover did the trick. The last 2.5 mths have seen the temp in the 32-34 degree area (3 d above average). Have grown quite well in this rather hot weather. Looking forward to August - November to having a great feed off them.
11 Mar 17, Fiona (Australia - temperate climate)
Can I gather the berries now in Autumn and keep them to sow in Spring? Should I keep the seeds cool?
12 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
There's no reason not too. Mother Nature does it! Plant them in a row about 75 mm (3") sapart and separate them the following winter for planting in their permanent position. All the best.
17 Feb 17, Dil (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Where can I purchase a Ming fern plant in Melbourne
18 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Ming Fern (asparagus) seed is listed on ebay. It is fairly easy to grow from seed. If you search for it on the internet you will find nurseries that have it in Melbourne. It is listed as an environmental weed in NSW and can't be purchased in that state. Trust this helps
11 Feb 17, Alex (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just bought a house in southeastern SA and it has a large raised asparagus bed. The ferns are over a metre tall and mostly still green, do I cut them back to ground level when they yellow or just leave them till they fall naturally, also, should I water them or not? I believe the asparagus is about 5 years old.
13 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Do not cut the ferns back until they start to turn yellow. They are building up the crowns for next seasons crop. Add compost or wel rotted manure in late autumn or winter will also boost your yield.
Showing 1 - 10 of 148 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Asparagus

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support Gardenate

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.