Asparagus is a perennial plant from the Asparagus family. It is sometimes also called asparagus, although most often this word refers only to edible species. In total, there are about 300 species in nature. They live on two continents at once: in Africa and Eurasia.
Asparagus is popular in floriculture not only for its spectacular appearance. This plant is capable of purifying the air and neutralizing the effect of harmful substances contained in it. At home, a free space is suitable for asparagus, where branches can grow without constraint and tight neighborhoods with other pots.
Description of asparagus
The genus of asparagus unites herbaceous species, vines, and also small shrubs familiar to flower growers. At the same time, many species have an interesting feature: the processes of photosynthesis in them do not take place in the leaves. Instead of foliage, special shoots – cladodia – grow on asparagus stalks, and the foliage itself is represented by tiny scales that are almost imperceptible to the eye. Almost all types of asparagus bloom with small, inconspicuous flowers, with or without a smell, after flowering of which small red spherical fruits are formed.
Despite the outward difference, asparagus has some structural similarities with the lily: it was even included in the Liliaceae family. Asparagus flowers have two sexes, while flowers of different sexes are usually located on the same plant. Asparagus rhizomes are formed from a series of tubers capable of storing moisture. This property helps the plant survive in harsh arid conditions.
It is impossible to cut off some species of this plant, after which its stems do not branch, but stop growing. This feature is associated with the structure of the rhizome. It is from it that all young shoots appear, and their number was laid even before the beginning of the growing season.
At first glance, asparagus may seem like a nondescript plant, but the love for it among flower growers does not fade over the years. And the thing is that it fits perfectly into any home environment as an independent plant or as a background plant, because of its green and fluffy twigs, which can serve as components for making flower arrangements.
Brief growing rules
The table summarizes the rules for caring for asparagus at home.
|Lighting level||Should be tall, but the plant prefers diffused rays.|
|Content temperature||On summer days, it should not be higher than +25 degrees. In winter, cooler conditions are preferred – about +15 degrees.|
|Watering mode||To prevent diseases, the plant should be watered through the pallet. In summer, this is done when the top of the soil dries out. In winter, the earth is rarely moistened, but they try to prevent the coma from completely drying out.|
|Air humidity||The air humidity should be increased by daily spraying. You can even do this twice a day. It is recommended to use damp moss or a drip tray with wet pebbles to further increase the moisture content.|
|The soil||The optimal soil consists of turf, leafy soil and humus with the addition of half the sand.|
|Top dressing||They are held regularly, including in the autumn-winter time. Only their schedule changes: during the growth period, it is required to fertilize asparagus weekly, in the fall the interval is doubled, in winter, monthly feeding will be enough. You can use standard formulations for plants with beautiful leaves in low concentration.|
|Transfer||Transplants are annual until the age of 4-5 years. Mature plants are transplanted every three years.|
|Pruning||Old stems are removed in early spring.|
|Bloom||Asparagus blooms when grown at home are very rare.|
|Dormant period||The rest period is considered mild. In winter, asparagus slows down.|
|Reproduction||Seed, cuttings, division.|
|Pests||Spider mite, wax bug.|
|Diseases||Diseases, as a rule, are associated only with mistakes in care.|
Important! Asparagus berries contain poison, but at home the bushes rarely bloom and do not bear fruit without artificial pollination.
Home care for asparagus
Due to its unpretentious care, asparagus can be grown not only by experienced indoor plant lovers, but also by novice flower growers without special skills.
Asparagus is a light-loving plant. Despite the plant’s love for the sun, during the day its direct rays can harm it. An east or west direction is best for a pot of asparagus. In the morning and in the evening, asparagus can safely sunbathe. If the flower is near the southern windows, it should be kept away from the windowsill.
The plant can grow not only on the windowsill, but also in a hanging pot as an ampelous one, freely hanging down its fluffy shoots. It has no special requirements for the neighborhood with other plants.
In the summer, asparagus can be taken out to the balcony or garden, but the plant will need a series of preliminary hardening procedures. For placement, they select a place sheltered from precipitation and bright midday rays, as well as protected from drafts.
In terms of temperature conditions, asparagus is unpretentious, it will be quite satisfied with the usual average room temperature throughout the year. In summer, the flower should be protected from extreme heat; a long stay in such conditions can negatively affect its health. Asparagus will develop best when it is about +23 degrees indoors.
In winter, it is advisable to keep the bush at temperatures up to +15 degrees. A hotter room with any humidity can lead to leaf fall. In this case, you need to cut off the old bare shoots so that new shoots begin to grow in the spring.
In spring and summer, when asparagus is actively growing, the plant is watered regularly and abundantly. This should be done after the top layer of the soil has dried. In the autumn-winter time, after that, you need to wait about two more days. It is undesirable to both dry out and overmoisten the earth in a container. To avoid this, it is recommended to water the plant through a tray. After pouring water into it, you need to wait about half an hour, and then pour out the unabsorbed residues. With normal overhead watering, excess water from the sump must also be drained. Due to its structure, asparagus will tolerate a slight drought better than overflow.
Like all asparagus, asparagus grows well in high humidity, requires regular spraying with settled water or rainwater, otherwise thin leaves begin to sprinkle in very dry air.
Asparagus especially needs constant spraying in the heat of summer or during the heating season. You can moisten the bush in the early morning or in the evening, before sunset. Additionally, containers with water, expanded clay soaked in water or moistened sphagnum can be placed near the plant, but such procedures are still combined with spraying.
As for the soil suitable for growing asparagus, then you can choose a universal store mix, or prepare it yourself. A mixture of double parts of leafy earth and humus with the addition of a part of coarse sand is used as a soil. You can also add a double piece of sod there. The presence of drainage in the pot is also a must.
Asparagus needs year-round feeding, only their frequency changes. In winter, it is enough to fertilize the plant once a month. In the fall during the same period, feeding is carried out twice, and in the summer and spring – weekly. You can alternate mineral compositions with organic ones, trying to water the plant with only weakly concentrated solutions.
It is recommended to use nitrogen formulations only during the growth period. At other times of the year, they are able to interfere with the proper rest of the bush. Together with a lack of lighting, an excess of nutrients can lead to stretching of the shoots.
The asparagus bush is considered an adult only from the 4th or 5th year of life. Until that time, the plant is transplanted annually, in the spring. The formed bushes are moved 2-3 times less often. The new capacity should slightly exceed the old one in volume. Too large a pot will lead to the growth of rhizomes to the detriment of the green mass. The frequency of transplants is associated with the active growth of plant roots.
The old earthen ball is completely shaken off and the roots are checked for the presence of rot. The affected areas must be removed to prevent further infection, and healthy roots are slightly shortened. To insure the rhizomes from waterlogging, a drainage layer is laid on the bottom of the container. You can use expanded clay, clay shards of old pots, shards of broken brick or pieces of styrofoam.
The transplanted asparagus is watered abundantly, and after a week they are fed.
The plant does not need regular pruning. If necessary, sanitary procedures are carried out in the spring: during this period, all old stems left without foliage should be removed. They are cut to the required height, trying to leave several internodes, from which fresh shoots can appear. Moderate pruning helps stimulate young growth.
In Meyer’s asparagus, all the stems move away from the rhizome, and its old shoots will not branch, therefore, formative pruning of such a plant is not carried out.
It is very rare to admire the flowers of domestic asparagus, for this it is necessary to fully comply with all the requirements of the plant. Asparagus inflorescences appear on the tops of the shoots, they are formed by small white flowers with yellowish stamens. At the same time, fruits can set only after artificial pollination – the transfer of pollen from one flower to another. In this case, a berry is formed in place of the flower, usually it has a bright red color.
The bright fruits of asparagus cannot be eaten – they are considered poisonous, but when grown indoors, such berries can appear only due to artificial pollination. Usually this method is used to obtain plant seeds, but if there are children or pets at home, you should not risk it.
Breeding methods for asparagus
There are three ways of propagating asparagus: dividing the bush, propagating by apical cuttings, and germinating seeds. At home, the first two methods are usually used.
Growing from seeds
Indoors, asparagus seeds can be obtained by waiting for flowering and dusting individual flowers. Sowing should be started immediately after fruit ripening and seed collection. This usually happens in winter or early spring. The seeds can also be purchased in stores.
The sowing tank is filled with light sandy peat soil. Seeds are sown on moist soil at a shallow depth, the container is covered with glass or foil and placed in a lighted place. Condensation from the film is periodically removed by opening the container for ventilation. If necessary, the soil is re-moistened with a spray bottle. At a temperature of about +23, the seeds begin to germinate in a month. When the seedlings grow up to 10 cm, they are dived into seedling cups. Young asparagus are distributed in full-fledged individual pots at the beginning of summer, transplanting them into soil from leafy earth, turf, humus, peat, and sand. From this time on, caring for them no longer differs from caring for adult plants.
The beginning of spring is suitable for propagation of asparagus by cuttings. For these purposes, healthy adult stems about 10-15 cm in size are cut from the bush. In order for them to take root, they are planted in a container with wet sand. The seedlings are covered with foil or jars and set to light. The room temperature must be at least +21. Periodically planting is aired and watered. If all conditions are met, rooting should occur within 1-1.5 months. The grown seedlings can be distributed in separate pots. The soil for them will no longer differ from the mixture for adult asparagus.
Dividing the bush
Overgrown asparagus bushes during transplantation can be divided into several parts. Each should have enough roots and at least one growth point. The root ball is carefully cut or torn, be sure to process the cut. Roots that are too long can also be trimmed slightly.
The divisions are distributed in individual pots filled with soil suitable for adult specimens. Due to the fact that division is considered a painful procedure for a flower, it may hurt for some time after it. Until complete recovery, such plants are not fed so that the nutrient solution does not burn the roots.
Pests and diseases
Asparagus is not susceptible to disease, the main problems with the flower can only be caused by improper care of it. Over-watering can cause asparagus roots to rot. Sluggish and drooping shoots will testify to this. In this case, you can lose the plant, so it is easier to prevent the disease than to get rid of its consequences. Small foci of root and stem lesions should be removed, the sections disinfected and the plant transplanted into a new pot.
- Asparagus foliage falls off – due to an excess of direct sun or high dry air in the room. In addition, in a too dark place, the leaves can also begin to fall off. Due to the lack of light, asparagus can slow down growth and bush worse.
- The termination of the growth of stems after pruning is a normal phenomenon, the cut stems no longer grow, but after some time new young growth may appear on the plant.
- Spots on leaves – can be burns from exposure to bright sunlight. A large number of these spots often lead to yellowing and subsequent fall of the asparagus leaves.
- The plant slows down its growth when nitrogen and iron contained in the soil are depleted, therefore the regular application of mineral fertilizers to the soil is the key to its healthy development.
Of the pests, the spider mite is considered the most dangerous for asparagus. So the edges of the cladodia in the sickle-shaped asparagus, attacked by a tick, are deformed. After treatment, only fresh leaves acquire a normal appearance. Due to the fact that asparagus does not like chemical treatments, as long as the situation allows, folk methods of insect control are preferable. You can try to get rid of small lesions by treating with soapy water, infusions of onion peels or garlic.
When asparagus is infected with wax worms, it is possible that black spots will appear on the stems and leaves, which can result in the death of the entire plant. To eliminate this problem, colonies of pest worms are removed with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol.
Types of asparagus with photos and descriptions
The most popular and suitable for indoor keeping are the following types of asparagus: dense-flowered (Sprenger), common, feathery, thinnest and asparagus. Usually, asparagus belongs to the group of ornamental-deciduous plants, but this is also not entirely correct classification, since almost all species bloom with small inconspicuous flowers with or without smell, after flowering of which small red spherical fruits are formed.
Stems of this type can reach two meters in length. On the surface, they have pubescence. Differs in heap growth of cladodia shoots. Outwardly, its stems resemble branches of conifers, soft to the touch. Forms inflorescences-brushes with a pleasant smell. The flowers are pink, the fruits are red.
A plant with straight, branching shoots. Natural specimens reach fairly large sizes. It can be grown as an ampelous plant, but the stems can also hold on to a support. Claudia are oval in shape and resemble regular foliage. Due to the fact that such asparagus can grow, it is most often grown not in apartments, but in greenhouses.
Shrub species. The stems grow up to half a meter. On their surface there is a fluff and short needle-shaped cladodia. Adult shoots stiffen at the base, and slightly tilt from above. Fresh stems can only grow from the root.
Such asparagus can often be found in floristry – picturesque fluffy stems are used to complement flower arrangements.
Also known as medicinal or pharmaceutical asparagus. Herbaceous perennial of medium height. Stems are smooth, branches are straight, growing upward or at a slight angle. Their length can reach 1.5 m. Cladodia are narrow, resembling threads, up to 3 cm in size. The foliage has small scales. One bush is able to form flowers of both sexes. All of them have a pale yellow color, but the male flowers are twice as large as the female ones. The fruits are rounded scarlet berries.
A native of the African tropics. It has branching shoots that are smooth to the touch. Its leaves are triangular-shaped scales. Phyllocladia shoots, more similar to ordinary foliage, grow in groups and have a slightly curved shape. In length, they can reach only 1.5 cm. It blooms white, while the flowers can both form small inflorescences and grow alone. Pollinated flowers turn into dark, bluish-black fruits, in which 1 to 3 seeds ripen.
In floriculture, a dwarf variety of such asparagus is most often found, but at home this species almost does not bloom at all: it is possible to observe flowering only in bushes older than 10 years. An adult plant is most often grown as an ampelous plant.
It is notable for the thickest (up to 1 cm) and longest (up to 15 m) stems of all asparagus species. But it reaches this size only in the natural environment, when grown in a greenhouse, its impressive dimensions are limited to only a few meters. Under indoor conditions, the height of the stems is no more than 2 m. Over time, the stems bend slightly under their own weight. On them, curved in the form of a sickle, cladodia up to 8 cm long are formed. They are distinguished by slightly corrugated edges. The inflorescences consist of white flowers with a pleasant smell.
South African view. Often used as an ampelous plant or placed on a support. The stems are green and smooth to the touch. Leafy shoots are distinguished by their ovoid shape. In nature, it blooms with small white flowers, but at home it will not be possible to admire them. After flowering, red-orange berries are formed with a light citrus aroma.
It differs from its feathery counterpart in higher shoots. In addition, phylloclades are longer and narrower, and grow more rarely.
Also called bushy or Ethiopian. This species perceives direct sunlight more calmly. Differs in long lodging stems. In length, they reach half a meter. Their surface can be smooth or grooved. The sizes of phyllocladias, similar to needles, reach 3 cm, they can grow individually or in groups of up to 4 pieces. Their shape can be either straight or curved. The flowers are white or pinkish-cream in color and have a pleasant smell. The fruits are red berries, each containing only one seed.