Asparagus Lifespan – How Many Years Do Asparagus Plants Live?
Once the asparagus establishes, you can enjoy its long lifespan and harvest freshly produced asparagus for up to 15-20 years.
Gardeners wishing to grow asparagus need a lot of patience on their part as this hardy perennial takes 2 to 3 years from planting to harvest. However, once it is established, the result is well worth the wait.
In fact, some people call asparagus the sloth of the vegetable world. A properly-prepared asparagus bed can reward you for years.
Asparagus is a resilient, perennial crop that is one of the earliest vegetables produced each spring. Though it takes time to fill in, once established, asparagus lifespan can be of fifteen to twenty years or so.
Although it is a slow starter, once the plant matures, it has the stamina to provide produce for almost 15-20 years or more. During the peak season, asparagus can grow up to 2 inches per day. Each crown can produce half a pound of edible spears every year when fully matured.
It is a fairly low-maintenance vegetable except for keeping the area weed free and watering. Once it matures, it is easy to grow and when provided with a well-prepared garden, it can last decades.
How Many Years Do Asparagus Plants Live?
Once your asparagus variety has been established, each crown of asparagus can produce 25 spears every year and some asparagus continue cropping for 20 years or more.
This can only happen if your plant is given proper care. If you don’t care for your plants or harvest too many spears, then asparagus can succumb to diseases and produce poorly.
Do Asparagus Plants Come Back Every Year?
Yes, asparagus is perennial. They grow back in your garden every year. If asparagus is taken care of properly, it can live and be productive for decades. Their roots grow underground, while the crown grows at ground level. Both these parts of the plant can survive the winter every year, even the freezing temperatures.
However, frost kills the spears. They start turning yellow and brown and die. Frost and cold weather push the plant into dormancy during winter.
Cut back the foliage on asparagus after it turns brown. Avoid cutting it when it is green as you will be taking away the energy it made and it can affect asparagus lifespan.
Related: Best tasting asparagus variety | Growing asparagus from seeds
What Is The Life Cycle Of Asparagus?
Asparagus is a hardy perennial plant. It dies and then grows back year after year. Since asparagus lives in the same spot for a long, it needs a healthy root system. When you plant the asparagus crown in the soil, you are establishing its root system.
Once asparagus is planted, it will begin producing stalks. The health of the roots plays an important role in how long do asparagus plants live. Since the root system is not very healthy in the initial year or two, you will get small stalks. It is best to leave those stalks on the plant itself. Leaving the initial stalks on the plant will let them produce frilly leaves. Avoid cutting the leaves and let them be.
The roots will get energy through the process of photosynthesis and they will grow and spread under the soil. This way asparagus will establish itself and thrive well for the years to come.
You should ideally wait and stop yourself from cutting the plants until a few touches of frost have passed so that the leaves can fully transfer energy to the roots. You will see that the stalks and leaves would have turned brown.
However, if you cut off the leaves and stalks too early, the planted asparagus roots will be deprived of energy and the plant will face a tough time the next season.
Asparagus Lifespan In The Fridge – How Long Can You Store Them?
Be it in-season or during the winter when you are planning to cook some of your favorite asparagus recipes, this vegetable can make for a great base in stews, sautés or stir-fries.
For this, you will have to store asparagus the correct way so that it can be used later. Let’s look at how long asparagus plant lives when harvested and stored properly.
- Usually, asparagus has a shelf life of 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Make sure to wash your asparagus bunch under cold water before storing it. Dry them with a piece of paper towel. Trim away one inch from the bottom of the stalks.
- Fill a glass jar with an inch of water. Place your asparagus in the jar with the cut ends at the bottom of the container. Cover the stalks with a plastic bag and seal them around the jar with a rubber band. Store it in the refrigerator. This way your asparagus can stay fresh for 10 days.
- If you store your asparagus in the freezer, it can be stored for 10 to 12 months. You will have to blanch the asparagus before freezing. First cook your asparagus in boiling water for 5 minutes and then immediately transfer it to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
- To prevent asparagus from sticking together in the freezer bag, flash freeze it. Lay your stalks on a paper towel-lined baking tray. Place the tray in the freezer for two hours until the spears are frozen. After freezing, transfer them to an airtight container and label them with a date.
So, how do you know whether your asparagus is good for use or not? When you notice the ends of your asparagus spears turn dark green and mushy, it’s time to throw them away.
How Do You Rejuvenate An Old Asparagus Bed?
If you take good care of the asparagus bed, it can keep producing for 15 years or more. One of the major problems you may face with asparagus beds is weed growth. So, it is very important to pull off or mow weeds or it can affect asparagus lifespan.
- Either wait for a good rain or water the soil well. Soft and moist soil makes pulling off weeds quicker.
- Use a sharp knife to cut out thick weed stems below the soil.
- Rake the soil surface smooth.
- Once you have cleaned your bed off the weeds, lay cardboard as a barrier between the rows.
- You can put a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over your asparagus bed to keep the weed population at bay.
- Adding a layer of mulch also conserves moisture and keeps the soil temperature low during the hot weather.
- You can also add a layer of compost under the straw.
- Feed the plants with an all-purpose fertilizer every 3 months during the growing season.
- Do not use salt to kill weeds as it changes the pH level of the soil.
- Avoid harvesting spears that are less than 3/8th of an inch in size. Let the spears fern out. If insects or diseases turn them brown, then it is best to remove them.
- You can go with an organic fertilizer in early spring. For encouraging foliage growth, apply nitrogen rich asparagus fertilizer post-harvesting.
How To Care For Your Asparagus In Winter?
Knowing how long does an asparagus plant live, you must take care of the asparagus beds to keep its long lifespan unharmed in regions with cold climates.
You should first know that preparing asparagus beds before winter protects the roots from cold and encourages the plants to go dormant. This gives the plant enough rest before the next growing season.
During the fall, asparagus begins to turn yellow and die. When you notice this, cut the brown fronds at the base of the plant. In regions with warm climates, the asparagus may not die. Cut the spear in the late fall as this will force the plant to go into dormancy, helping the plant to rest before its growing season.
For a healthy and long asparagus lifespan, here’s how to prepare asparagus for winter:
- First, cut back the fronds.
- Stop watering the asparagus entirely. Winterizing asparagus beds will protect the crowns from cold.
- Spread 4 to 6 inches of mulch like wood chips, straw or other organic materials over the crowns.
- Mulching will help you protect your asparagus bed. However, it will slow down the emergence of the spears in the spring. As soon as you notice the shoots emerging, remove the old mulch in the spring. Then either dispose of the mulch or compost since it can harbor spores with fungal disease.
To Sum Up…
If you have been thinking of growing asparagus, what are you waiting for? Asparagus is one of the first crops of the spring harvest and a versatile vegetable packed with a lot of nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any meal.
It is a great starting point that will grow fresh spears year after year with little effort and space.