ASPARAGUS officinalis ‘Mary Washington’

Asparagus –


Asparagus ‘Mary Washington’ is an older variety which produces thick spears and is rust resistant. It has a long cutting period, is cold tolerant and produces abundant emerald-green spears when mature.

Asparagus is one of the few truly perennial vegetables. It is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial native to the seacoast of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Over time its clumps spread very slowly via rhizomes (underground stems). Mature asparagus is ferny in appearance; however it is not a true fern. The much sought after luscious, asparagus spears are immature or unexpanded stems. Asparagus is dioecious, separate male and female plants, the male plants tend to produce more spears than the females.

Spears are harvested in spring as they emerge from the ground. Those that are at least the width of a finger may be harvested. In Europe it is common to cover the crowns and harvest emerging stems before they are exposed to light. This cultural practice is called blanching and results in white asparagus.

Choose a planting site for asparagus well, it is a permanent installation. Asparagus prefers well-drained sandy soil. Full sun is a must. Mix in some organic matter and plant one-year old crowns for earlier spear production. Asparagus does require a dormant period, usually brought on by cold, but there are production methods using drought or mother fern removal for warmer locations. Control weeds with straw or mulch, supply adequate moisture and be sure to leave spears to develop into mother ferns to nourish the plants for next year’s harvest.

Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item. 

Common Name:
Bloom Color:
Foliage Color:
Drought Tolerant:
Shade Tolerant:
Full Sun:
Partial Sun:
Deer Resistant:
Attracts Butterflies:

Mary Washington
Annual – Edible
Spring, Summer
Purple, Light Green, Dark Green



Companion Plants
Basil, parsley, tomato.

Harvestin Tips
Allow asparagus to grow without harvesting the year it is planted. In the second year, harvest spears that are 1/2-inch in diameter, but only for two weeks. Cut or break off 7- to 9-inch-long spears with tightly closed tips. In subsequent years, harvest for five to eight weeks, then allow the shoots to develop into ferny growth to build up the roots for the following year’s crop.

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