Asparagus is a hardy perennial crop that makes a wonderful addition to formal kitchen gardens as well as to permafrost woods. Once the plants are established, gardeners can expect annual crops of tender asparagus sprouts. The introduction of new varieties has made it easier than ever to grow and care for these plants. Can you grow asparagus in a pot?
Potted Asparagus Plants
Ideally, asparagus plants are grown outdoors in garden soil in USDA Zones 4 through 8. Planted deeply and thrive in consistently moist soil, growers can expect harvests from plants over twenty years old. Proper garden space is key to healthy asparagus growth, as the plant’s root system can grow quite large.
Fortunately, there is another option for those who grow in cramped spaces. Whether or not gardeners on a small apartment balcony are in the mood to grow a long-term perennial, asparagus can also be grown in containers. However, when growing asparagus in a container, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Asparagus plants grow very slowly compared to other kitchen garden plants. When grown from seed, plants require at least two to three years to become established. The plant shouldn’t be harvested during this time. This long waiting period is the main reason many gardeners choose to buy asparagus in crown form. Simply put, crowns are plants that have already grown for one to two years. Therefore, reducing the waiting period between planting and harvesting.
Although growing asparagus in containers is useful as a way to save space, it will have a negative impact on the longevity of the plants. When growing asparagus in a planter, gardeners can only expect two to four seasons of actual asparagus harvests after the establishment period has passed.
Growing Asparagus in a Planter
In early spring, choose a container. For each crown, choose a large pot at least 18 inches (46 cm) deep and 12 inches (31 cm) wide. Planting in large containers is important, as asparagus crowns should be deeply planted.
In the absence of any, make drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. While most planters will already have drainage holes, many gardeners choose to add additional drainage to the pots. This will prevent fungus growth as well as root rot.
Fill the bottom of the pot with 2 inches of gravel. Then fill in the rest with a mixture of high-quality potting soil and compost.
Plant the asparagus crown in the pot following the package directions, and often, planting the crown about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) deep. Place the water well outdoors in a sunny location that receives at least eight hours of sunlight each day.
After planting, shoots should appear within a week. Allow the plants to grow and establish during the first two seasons. Mulching around the plants will ensure that there is no competition from weeds and that the soil will remain adequately moist.
Because these perennials are hardy, leave the containers outside during fall and winter. Dormant plants start growing again in the spring when the weather starts to warm.