How To Plant and Grow Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus Shoot.

Wild asparagus shoot
Wild asparagus shoot | Source

Asparagiae and Asparagus Plant

'Asparagaie' | Source
Asparagus plant
Asparagus plant | Source

Searching for Asparagus in the Countryside

For everything you need to know about 'how to plant wild asparagus' please see this Hub with all the information you will need, to help you forage for the asparagus plant and more.

  • How to identify it (since it is really camouflaged among the grasses),
  • Where and when to find it
  • How to dig it out (with the crown or root) of the ground (see the video!)
  • Plant from the crown, or
  • Plant it from seed.
  • How fun it is to pick
  • How to prepare a wild asparagus pasta dish!

How to Identify Wild Asparagus Plants.

The wild asparagus plant, produced without any assistance or manipulation, Nature's gift, is a fine bush of green angel's hair - ghostly fine and fuzzy looking. Country people here in Tuscany call the areas where the plant grows wild asparagiaia. The asparagus shoot grows independently from the plant, straight up, sticking from the ground like miniature fleshy Chrysler buildings. It is slimmer than its cultivated brother and unlike him, the stems are not pale but a camouflage-green. (It can be almost brown in color if it is in a shady area. It will be pale green if it stands in the sunlight all day long). People who are good at spotting wild asparagus would also be good at spotting octopus in coral. It takes a well trained eye, but once you spot it, like kissing you will never forget it.

Looking for the Wild Plants

For this asparagus (crown) hunt you will need:

  • A garden trowel
  • A basket or some sort, or, bucket or sack to put the crowns in
  • a walking stick (to move back prickly plants, make sure there are no snakes)
  • long pants
  • hiking boots or sturdy shoes or even wellington boots if it is raining.

Did you know?

  • There are records of the same wild asparagus we have growing in our hedgerows in Tuscany as the wild asparagus found growing in Ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Egyptians cultivated it from wild 2,000 years ago.
  • It comes from the Persian word "asparg" which means shoot.
  • It stimulates erotic desires. An Arabian love manual provides a aphrodisiac recipe since it contains plenty of vitamin A and C and taken over three consecutive days will have a most powerful effect!

Where to Forage for Asparagus Crowns.

When you go foraging, you will find wild asparagus thriving today in North America and Western Europe in gritty, grassy areas along walls, ditches, field borders, park fences, reservoir banks, wooded areas, rural roadsides, prairies and inaccessible sea slopes - if you can spot it!

Look for it where it thrives - at the edges of undergrowth - where the sun shines. There the fine pale-green, ghostly, bushes quietly hide among the stronger undergrowth leaves and twigs. The green asparagus shoot will be standing in front of your eyes, slightly aside the plant, sometimes as far away as three feet, independent and proud as it is, and at first you just can't see it, till, there it is! You recognize it. And another one. And more. The asparagus plant loves lots of space underground and produces more asparagus shoots as the spring season goes on. It needs to be wild. (Some farmers plant it alongside ditches to stop erosion because of its extensive root formation).

A word of warning! Trespassing private property is unlawful, since it is considered theft to dig plants from land you do not own. Either you'd need to procure the landowner's permission, (perhaps offer his wife a box of chocolates, promise to close the gates after you and not litter. Try all sincere ploys. You could even offer the farmer some of your asparagus. Why not?)

How Wild Asparagus Shoots Grow Near the Plant

The shoots grow within a three feet radius of the plant.
The shoots grow within a three feet radius of the plant. | Source

New Asparagus Plant.

New asparagus plant.
New asparagus plant. | Source

How to Take Out the Plants.

Please have a look at the video!

You locate your asparagus plants on a walk where you know you will find them. Here in Tuscany they will be in the asparagaie - a whole area known to the locals, and me, where asparagus grows everywhere.

The plant in the video was taken out of the ground in late spring because it was easy to get at, by the side of the driveway. However the ideal time would be late Summer when the plant has yellow dried.

With your trowel, you dig round the plant, ideally after a showers, because the ground is moist. The bigger the plant, the bigger the area you dig round the base. (Ours was nice and small, so the crown is small, so the area around the plant was only a few inches). The bigger the plant the more asparagus it will yield.

For larger plants, dig proportionately wider (say 12" wide on a large plant) and deep (about 12- 20" depending on the size of the plant) in order not to damage the crowns.

You take the crowns carefully out of the soil (see video)..

Plant the Wild Asparagus!

Plant the wild asparagus
Plant the wild asparagus | Source
Plant the wild asparagus
Plant the wild asparagus | Source

Growing Asparagus.

When to plant asparagus.

Smaller plants like ours, taken out of the ground at the end of spring need to be planted straight away before the roots dry.

They are hardy and often survive with little attention,

  • as long as the soil is well-drained and moist,
  • they have about 6 ft of space round them in all directions for their roots to do their thing - and in a sunny location.
  • Water them for a few weeks
  • Then, you may leave them through the summer.

If you dig up your wild asparagus crowns at the end of Summer however, you can keep them in a dry place through the winter, (such as your garden shed, or barn, or garage).

Plant them in early spring (after threat of frost).

Planting by the Side of the House.

Planting by the side of the house.
Planting by the side of the house. | Source

Where to Plant the Asparagus Crowns

We plant our asparagus plants along the side of the house where there is a gritty soil and a lot of sun. To show how extremely content they are, each year another asparagus plant waves bushy, frizzy-green against the stone walls; nearby a tender shoot springs up. Interestingly, many other market garden plants do not do as well as our wild asparagus in that area, such as peppers and egg plant. We think it is because the soil isn't rich enough for them there.

Asparagus crowns with (or without) their little tuft of green shoots, can be planted in rows in a market garden like other proud market garden vegetables; in tilled, well watered, mulched earth, high soil pH values (around 7.0). leaving about five feet between each crown for root growth.

I think they do very well planted at a distance from each other all along garden fences, or at the back of gardens where they can spread out and multiply randomly, which they like. A good idea is to plant them along driveways to keep the banks in place. It would be like a homecoming for them and they would trumpet their happiness.

You can harvest asparagus to eat all through the spring season (from late February till May when the grass is too high to pick them - they have begun to dry in the hotter sun, and turned weedy to look at, almost flowery). Each shoot can grow six or seven inches a day after rainfall, when the sun shines.

At the end of spring the unpicked asparagus stems grow in a wild way, bending this way and that, getting fine and - becoming the plants of the next year.

Asparagus Seeds.

Another system for planting wild asparagus is from wild asparagus seeds, but it takes twice as long to get to eat the asparagus because it takes 10 weeks for them to germinate, before you see any green growth. Then, if your patience can stand it, for two years you wait until the roots promulgate and the plant grows and produces for a decent production (instead of one lonely asparagus at a time, in two years you could have five or six.)

Seeds come from the red pods which grow on the female asparagus plant. Pick the pods off the plant in late summer.

  • Plant them, one by one, in garden center container cells and keep them watered. Don't forget them while all the other plants come out and do their thing. Asparagus shoots are slow performers! Erotically so.
  • Water daily
  • Prepare the soil outdoors after ten weeks; till it and add grit or sand if it is clay like. Humus will lighten it too.
  • replant the roots 6" deep in the soil in the Spring ( approx 1 ft apart and 6 ft between rows because the root extends for many feet around).
  • Mulch it (they would love dried seaweed) to keep weeds at bay.
  • A good idea is to plant garlic round the area to keep unwanted parasites away.
  • Harvest (lots of times) after two years.


Wild Asparagus is Free.

Wild asparagus emerges as winter is beginning to bore us and before spring actually takes its first leap. It's an ante-spring thing, a pre-delizia. It is the epitome of the promising of what is to come. Wild asparagus is a freak, tastes crazy and is much better than the cultivated variety from glasshouses. It's the real thing. It's the difference say between a nap in the sun with your lover and an eight hour rest on a Permaflex.

It doesn't cost anything.

So easy to plant and grow and continue to produce asparagus shoots, for fifteen years

It tastes delicious!

Recipe idea from aTuscany farmhouse.

Taste it finely chopped and tossed in a small pan with olive oil, chopped garlic and cilli pepper, poured over spaghetti (aldente), grated pecorino cheese on the top, eaten just as soon as you get your boots off.


© 2012 Penelope Hart

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Comments 45 comments

Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Great hub - packed with information. I don't even like asparagus but I want to go out and find some! Love the video, well done.

Voted up etc

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Wish you could come and find some round our house! Maybe you will one day!

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for an enjoyable and informative hub, GoodLady, and for making the video. Wild asparagus sounds like a very interesting plant!

chrissieklinger profile image

chrissieklinger 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I really want to find some wild asparagus now. I live around a lot of farms, I may have to ask some of my neighbors if I can "hunt" for wild asparagus on their property. In exchange they can hunt for deer and turkey on mine!

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Thanks AliciaC - it's a very exciting plant!

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Sounds like a deal chrissieklinger! Thanks for reading and comment. Hope you find loads of it.

sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Interesting! I may not find any them here where I live. But it sure was an interesting hub. Have a good day.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

sofs, hi! Not sure if they are an Australian plant, I'll have to look that up. They are hardy though!

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Asparagus is my favourite vegetable but I don't think I've ever had wild asparagus before. I will definitely be on the look out for some now.

Very educational hub!

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Hope you find it near you. It's actually too late to look for it now because the grass is too high and the plants will have flowered, but next year. It's great.

Thanks for your comments Just Ask Susan!

Janis Goad profile image

Janis Goad 4 years ago

I didn't know asparagus grew in the wild! Interesting, informative hub, Good Lady. I love asparagus. Not sure they overwinter here, though.

Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

The pictures and video are very helpful on this topic, I guess because the asparagus hides so well. Great info!

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Hi Janis. Thanks, they only grow through the spring, so maybe next year you can find them.

Brainy Bunny, really glad you found the video and pics helpful. Thanks for supportive comment.

EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe

Hi Goodlady, when I saw this I almost flipped. It grows wild here and people are always on the lookout for it at this time of year (Spring). Thanks to your Hub, now I know how to cultivate my own. Great Hub - lots of great photos! Up and awesome!!

seh1101 profile image

seh1101 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Great hub! I've been deeply considering tilling up another small garden and dedicating it to asparagus and other wild veggies. I have been foraging for asparagus and morel mushrooms for the past month due to the warm spring. I cannot believe I'm enjoying fresh pickings already (in Wisconsin). Cheers, and grow on!

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

EuroCafeLait thanks! Hope you manage to cultivate your own, happy hunting for the crowns late summer! Let me know.

seh1101 Asparagus is such an easy plant to grow and multiply, so why not? Nice to know where you live! Thanks for comment. Good luck.

angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States

Great job on this article. Great photos too, I wish I could take that nice of photos.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

angela_michelle the Iphone takes a neat picture, thanks for commenting.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA

I love asparagus, and your hub says it grows in N. America, but I haven't ever seen any plants like those in Kansas when we go on our morel hunts each year. I did know a woman in Missouri who grew them and said they were tough to keep alive. Do you know if they're only in certain areas of the U.S.? I'll be all over that hunt if they're everywhere.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

jellygator my brother has some in Paso Robles. Not sure where else. I'd like to go on a morel hunt! If I find out more where they grow in the States I'll be in touch. Thanks for commenting.

theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales

Another stunning hub. I have to find out if wild asparagus grows in the UK.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Not sure, but maybe on the cliffs near the sea. Thanks for reading.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I love asparagus, but it doesn't love me. Bad for kidney stones they say.

Growing your own food must be nice.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

I didn't know it was bad for kidney stones! What a shame. It's usually food we forage for, like chicory or mushrooms. Thanks for commenting.

ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 4 years ago from United States

Beautiful hub! I have to wonder if asparagus grows wild here. It'd be great if it did since we love to eat it!

Well done! Voted up, useful and beautiful. :)

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

I'll have to find out if it grows in USA. Thank you so much for dropping in and voting!

Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 4 years ago from Southern Oregon

Fantastic article! GoodLady I hunt wild asparagus here in Southern Oregon in the orchards! So much fun and very tasty. Many of the migrant families here go on picking sprees in the Spring. Thanks for all the useful information. I'm giving it a UP a Useful, and Interesting.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

A few people USA asked where to find it. Now I can send them all to Southern Oregon. Can I come too? I've always wanted to visit. Anyway, glad you enjoyed this and many thanks for your votes!

formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

GoodLady, what an interesting topic. I have two asparagus plants in my raised bed. Voted Up and Interesting.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

So you'll get one nice meal out of those asparagus won't you maybe every week through spring? Thanks for commenting.

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA

This is an absolutely superb hub and is fascinating to boot. Wild asparagus is beautiful, and you've given us a wealth of information to help us spot it. Thanks for all of your hard work; it is truly an undertaking, and I appreciate the care and love you put into creating this.

Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, and interesting.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Wild asparagus is exciting and wonderful. We agree on that! Glad you liked my Hub and many thanks for your votes and comments. Best wishes.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA

Oh, how I miss those wild asparagus dearly! My grandma used to make a frittata and it was subliminal. Thanks for bringing back good memories, we used to go looking for them in the country or it was sold in flea markets around town, but I had no luck finding any markets that sell them in the States yet.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

alexandry. wild asparagus, once you've had it, you never forget how great it is. I've heard that it does grow in the States but right now i can't remember where I'm sorry. Northern California i think. Thanks for your comment.

thaspi 4 years ago

Dear GoodLady,

It is a wonderful and useful web page…

Please inform me, if I can take out a wild asparagus plant right now, in order to transplant it in my garden. Or I have to wait until the end of spring...

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

You could try moving it now if it isn't too cold - though this time of year isn't very good because nature is beginning to die down. Thanks for your comment.

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

I don't know about purple asparagus, sorry. Not sure it's Ok to post links in the comments capsule.

thaspi 3 years ago

Yestreday, I gathered some black-colour berries fron wild asparagus plants. Are they seeds???

Because, I have read that they are red-color....

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 3 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

Wild asparagus grows from the bulb in the ground. I don't think it ever comes from the seed!

thaspi 3 years ago

The above article says that we can create new wild asparagus plants from wild asparagus seeds...

Is it correct?

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 3 years ago from Rome, Italy Author

You get wild asparagus to grow from transplanting wild asparagus bulbs/ roots as you see in the video. Wild asparagus grows wild. Other types may come from seeds but these are not the asparagus we have growing round us in the fields, that my article is about.

Thanks for your question.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home

useful hub, i like the details about planting and the pics, voted up

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 20 months ago from Rome, Italy Author

Thanks for vote!

Agelos 20 months ago

Very nice hub and the info is just great. I live in town so to find wild asparagus is not possible.

Where i can find seeds of wild asparagus to buy? Any good site in the net?

sory for my English. I am from europe

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 19 months ago from Rome, Italy Author

You find wild asparagus right now in the fields very near to towns in Southern Europe.

I don't think you can buy seeds for wild asparagus. They grow from bulbs.

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