One of the most permanent and dependable of home garden vegetables. Plants take 2 to 3 years to come into full production but then furnish delicious spears every spring for 10 to 15 years or more. They take up considerable space but do so in grand manner: Plants are tall, feathery, graceful, highly ornamental. Use along a sunny fence or as background for flowers or vegetables.
Asparagus seed and roots are sold as traditional ('Martha Washington' and others) and all-male. All-male types include 'UC 157', 'Jersey Giant', and 'Jersey Knight' (the best male for Southern growers). Male hybrids typically produce more and larger spears, because they don't have to put energy into seed production. Such selections still produce an occasional female plant.
- is an unusual selection that produces deep burgundy spears with a sweet, nutty flavor (the spears turn green when cooked).