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ASPARAGUS officinalis 'Mary Washington'

Image of Asparagus officinalis 'Mary Washington'

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

ASPARAGUS officinalis 'Mary Washington'

Plant Common Name

Asparagus, Mary Washington Asparagus

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

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.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow Green, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Light Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Purple

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing