Asparagus Asparagus officinalis

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
common asparagus


Asparagus officinalis, commonly known simply as asparagus, is a perennial flowering plant with a distinct appearance that is widely cultivated for its edible young shoots, known as asparagus spears. This plant typically has stout stems and feathery foliage. The stems, which are also the portion of the plant that we commonly consume, are straight and emerge from the ground as green or sometimes purple stalks with a pointed tip, often referred to as the spear. The foliage of asparagus appears soft and fern-like, with numerous needle-like leaves that are actually modified stems known as cladophylls. These cladophylls are arranged in a dens cluster giving the plant a bushy appearance when not harvested. Asparagus plants can produce bell-shaped flowers that are greenish-white to yellow in color, but these are often less noticeable when the plant is grown for commercial harvest, as the focus is on the edible shoots. Following the flowers, the plants may produce small red berries, which are inedible and should not be consumed. The color of the asparagus spears can vary. While the most common variety is green, you can also find purple and white asparagus, with the white variety resulting from a process called etiolation, where the shoots are grown without exposure to sunlight, preventing the development of chlorophyll, which would otherwise give them their green color. As the asparagus plant matures and is left to grow, the spears can develop into a tall, airy mass of fern-like foliage that adds texture to garden spaces, but in agricultural settings, these spears are usually harvested before reaching maturity. The asparagus plant's overall look can add an element of delicate structure to a garden. It is often grown in rows and kept well-tended to support the annual harvest of the succulent spears in spring.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Garden Asparagus, Sparrow Grass, Asparagus

    • Common names

      Asparagus altilis, Asparagus caspius, Asparagus cochinchinensis, Asparagus hortensis, Asparagus prostratus, Asparagus tenuifolius, Asparagus vulgaris, Ononis spinosa

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Asparagus, or Asparagus officinalis, is generally recognized as safe for human consumption when the young shoots or spears are eaten. The fully developed plant parts and berries, however, should not be consumed because they contain sapogenins, which can be mildly toxic. Although cases of poisoning are rare, ingestion of these parts of asparagus can cause allergic reactions and digestive upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additionally, asparagus contains asparagine, which when metabolized can create a distinctive odor in urine, although this is harmless.

    • To pets

      Asparagus, or Asparagus officinalis, is not toxic to pets, and they can consume the vegetable itself without any serious risk of poisoning. However, the fern-like foliage of the mature plant can cause mild stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. It is always recommended to introduce any new food to a pet's diet in moderation and watch for any adverse reactions. The berries of the asparagus plant, which appear after the flowering season, can potentially be more problematic as they may cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by pets, but serious cases of poisoning are uncommon.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • High Nutritional Value: Asparagus is a rich source of vitamins (including A, C, E, and K) and minerals, contributing to a balanced diet.
    • Low in Calories: It is low in calories which makes it a suitable choice for weight management plans.
    • Hydration: Asparagus has a high water content, helping with hydration and maintaining body fluid balance.
    • Dietary Fiber: It is a good source of fiber, which aids digestion and promotes a healthy digestive tract.
    • Antioxidants: Asparagus contains antioxidants which help combat oxidative stress and may contribute to overall health.
    • Heart Health: The dietary fiber, folate, and other nutrients in Asparagus can support heart health.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic effects - Asparagus officinalis has been traditionally used to promote urine production and help in the elimination of fluids from the body.
    • Antioxidant properties - The plant contains various compounds such as flavonoids and saponins that provide antioxidant benefits.
    • Digestive health - Asparagus contains dietary fiber which may support digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
    • Anti-inflammatory effects – Some compounds in asparagus have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which might be beneficial in reducing inflammation.
    • Immune system support – It is believed to have immune-boosting effects due to its nutrient content, including vitamins A, C, and E.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Companion Planting: Asparagus can be planted alongside tomatoes as it is believed to repel some harmful root nematodes that can affect tomato plants.
    • Biodegradable Material: Due to its fibrous stems, asparagus can be used in the manufacture of biodegradable materials such as eco-friendly plastics and packaging.
    • Fermentation Medium: Asparagus by-products and trimmings can be used as a base for growing certain types of fermentation cultures used in food processing.
    • Ink Production: The natural colorants in asparagus spears have been experimented with for use in producing non-toxic, vegetable-based inks for art and printing.
    • Soil Erosion Control: Asparagus, when grown as a dense crop, can help prevent soil erosion with its extensive root system anchoring the soil.
    • Natural Dye: The chlorophyll present in asparagus can be extracted and used as a natural green dye for textiles and crafts.
    • Garden Mulch: Leftover asparagus foliage when dried can make for effective mulch, providing minerals back to the soil as it decomposes.
    • Plant-based Sensor: Research has explored using asparagus tissues as bio-sensors because of their capability to react to certain environmental changes.
    • Acoustic Insulation: The fibrous material from asparagus stalks can be utilized in the production of bio-based acoustic insulation panels.
    • Photographic Emulsions: The natural compounds within asparagus can be included in the formulation of certain photographic emulsions for analog photography processes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Asparagus Fern is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Asparagus Fern is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Fertility: Asparagus officinalis, commonly known as asparagus, has traditionally symbolized fertility due to its phallic shape and it being a vigorous perennial that can produce spears for many years once mature.
    • Renewal: As one of the first vegetables to sprout in spring, asparagus is often associated with new beginnings and the rejuvenation of nature after winter's dormancy.
    • Antiquity: Asparagus has a long history of cultivation dating back to ancient times, thus symbolizing the agricultural heritage and continuity of horticultural practices through generations.

Every 2 to 3 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2 to 3 years
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Asparagus, commonly known as asparagus fern, requires consistent moisture, particularly when the spears are forming. During the growing season, water the plant thoroughly once or twice a week, providing at least half a gallon per square yard each time. It's essential to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. During periods of drought or extreme heat, increase the frequency to ensure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Reduce watering in the winter when the plant is dormant.

  • sunLight

    Asparagus fern thrives best in bright, indirect light. It can tolerate partial shade, but for optimal growth and spear production, it should be positioned in a spot where it can receive several hours of sunlight per day, avoiding intense midday sunshine in summer which can scorch the fronds.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Asparagus fern prefers a temperature range between 70°F and 85°F, though it can tolerate temperatures as low as 55°F for short periods. It's best to avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 50°F, as it can be damaged by frost.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning asparagus fern is important to maintain plant health and appearance. Remove dead or yellowing fronds at the base to stimulate new growth, typically after the harvest season or early spring. Cut back overgrown plants in the early spring before new growth begins to keep them manageable and tidy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Asparagus, or Asparagus officinalis, thrives best in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6.5-7.5. A mix of two-thirds loamy soil and one-third aged manure or compost is ideal.

  • plantRepotting

    Asparagus should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Asparagus prefers moderate humidity but is quite adaptable to various conditions as long as it’s not too dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place asparagus fern in bright, indirect light and ensure good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in spring, full sun to part shade, in well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Asparagus officinalis, commonly known as asparagus, begins its life cycle with seed germination, which occurs in spring when soil temperatures are warm enough. Once germinated, the seedlings grow into crowns, which are underground stem structures that send up fern-like growths. These ferns photosynthesize and nourish the crowns for several years until the plant is mature, typically taking three years before the stalks are harvested. Each spring, the mature crown sends up new edible spears, which, if not harvested, will develop into ferns and the plant will enter its reproductive phase. The ferns produce red berries containing seeds that can be dispersed to propagate new plants. After several weeks to months of growth, the ferns turn yellow and the plant enters dormancy through the winter, conserving energy in the crown for the next year's growth cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • Asparagus, or Asparagus officinalis, is most commonly propagated by crown division as it is a perennial that produces vigorous rhizomes. This process takes place during the early spring when the plants are dormant. To propagate by division, gardeners dig up the crowns of established asparagus plants, which are several years old, and carefully split them into smaller sections, making sure each section has at least one emerging shoot, or "spear", and a portion of root. These divisions are then replanted at a depth of about 6 inches (15 centimeters) and spaced approximately 18 inches (46 centimeters) apart in well-prepared beds that allow for good drainage. This method stimulates new growth and can rejuvenate older plants, which, over time, may become less productive.