Information

Pot plants: Asparagus, Asparagina, Asparagus asparagoides, Asparagus crispus, Asparagus decumbens, Asparagus densifllorus, Asparagus falcatus, Asparagus medeoloides, Asparagus myersii, Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus plumosus or setaceuseri, Asaceagus

Pot plants: Asparagus, Asparagina, Asparagus asparagoides, Asparagus crispus, Asparagus decumbens, Asparagus densifllorus, Asparagus falcatus, Asparagus medeoloides, Asparagus myersii, Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus plumosus or setaceuseri, Asaceagus

Classification, origin and description

Common name: Asparagine.
Kind: Asparagus.

Family: Liliaceae.

Etymology: the name of the genus remained the Latin one, given that the asparagus (A. officinalis) was well known to the Romans.
provenance: Tropical Africa and central-western Asia.

Description: this genus includes about 300 species of herbaceous perennial, suffruticose, bushy or climbing plants, equipped with an underground rhizome from which adventitious roots depart, from which cladodes (flattened green branches that take on leaf function) originate. The real leaves, in reality, come in the form of scales or sharp thorns and, in some species, prickly called phyllodes. They are usually dioecious species (they carry male and female flowers on different individuals) that produce small and insignificant bell-shaped flowers of pale green color tending to yellow or white-pink and star-shaped (slightly fragrant) followed by berries (red at the beginning, darker afterwards, when they are ripe to be able to take the seeds, which are 3-4 inside them).

Asparagus sprengeri (website photo)

Species and varieties

Asparagus asparagoides: climbing species with filiform stems that can reach a length of about 2 m. The flowers are small, fragrant and white and bloom in pairs in the axil of the leaves, small and bright green in color.

Asparagus crispus: species native to tropical Africa and resistant to winds and saltiness.

Asparagus decumbens: suitable for cold greenhouses, it has branches that become decumbent in autumn-winter.

Asparagus densifllorus: it is a species that does not bloom, but has fairly spaced, slightly shiny leaves.

Asparagus falcatus: vigorous and climbing species (it also reaches 4-5 m in length of adult stems) which has lanceolate-linear leaves, curved and equipped with thorn at the apex and sickle-shaped stems, also equipped with real thorns. It produces white flowers followed by reddish berries.

Asparagus medeoloides: it is also called A. asparagoides or Myrsiphyllum asparagoides. It presents alternate, sessile heart-shaped cladodes, bright green in color.

Asparagus densiflorus Myersii: similar to the species A. sprengeri, it differs from this for the bearing of the stems which is erect rather than hanging.

Asparagus officinalis: is the common edible asparagus.

Asparagus plumosus or setaceus: native to South Africa, it has leaves reduced to scaly bracts and terminal twigs transformed into very thin, almost needle-like cladodes, which give the plant its plumed appearance. As an adult the plant assumes a climbing habit, reaching even 3 m in height. It is used by florists as a green decorative element in bouquets of cut flowers. Three varieties are known: "Compactus", characterized by the compactness of the vegetation, "Nanus", similar to the previous one, but smaller in size (it is the only one used as a houseplant), "Pyramidalis", which has a pyramidal bearing and bushy.

Asparagus sprengeri: plant with a hanging habit (with branches that can reach 1.5 m in length) and verticillate cladodes (which originate in numbers greater than one from the same node) long, straight, bright green in color. It produces small pinkish-white flowers, delicately scented and gathered in racemose inflorescences, followed by red berries. It is a very cultivated species in the apartment, even if it does not tolerate heated rooms in winter and is better suited to verandas or in any case fresh and very bright environments. The variety "Myersii" has slightly curved, thick and feathery stems.

Asparagus densiflorus Myersii (photo website)

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: in winter it can also tolerate temperatures around 10 ° C. It does not tolerate dry heat, which facilitates its attack by mealybugs.
Light: partial shade, with the absolute exclusion of direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: abundant throughout the growing season, very small in winter. The humidity must be high: the too dry atmosphere, especially in the apartment, predisposes the Asparagus to attack by several parasites.
Substrate: composed of heathland, well-decomposed leaf soil, garden soil (in a 2: 1: 1 ratio).
Special fertilizations and tricks: they are fertilized every two weeks in the vegetative period. Every one-two years, in spring, they must be repotted. If the A. sprengeri plant dries up, it must be completely cut at 2-3 cm from the ground surface; then put the pot in a bucket of water for a few minutes (until the soil has soaked) and place it in a cool place until the new shoots sprout.

Asparagus plumosus or setaceus (Agricultural Technical Institute Florence) (website photo)

Multiplication

Multiplication: in March-April the Asparagus can be sown in glass bowls or in small greenhouse pots (the temperature must not be lower than 15 ° C) up to a number of 6-7 which will be divided later. Usually, germination begins after 20-30 days. The seedlings must be transplanted once they reach a height of about 10 cm (after about three months). Asparagus can also be multiplied by division of the rhizomes in March-April, taking care to keep the plants at a temperature of around 15 ° C, to allow the root system to recover within 3-4 weeks. To proceed by multiplication by cutting, the tender part of robust and well-formed branches is used (bearing in mind that each portion must have at least two to three knots). The cuttings are placed in roots in jars filled with sand, in January-February, in a protected environment and under a plastic bell.
Pruning: the oldest branches must be cut with yellowed cladodes to stimulate the production of new shoots.

Diseases, pests and adversities

Asparagus can be damaged by:

- Little red spider: manifests itself with light patches on the leaves, which eventually turn completely yellow. It develops in particularly hot and dry environments. Environmental humidity must be raised and the plant treated with an acaricidal product.

- Mealybugs: they occur with the formation of brown growths (determined by the small "shell") and giving the plant a blackish and sticky appearance (due to the production by the plant of sugary substances that make it subject to attack by fungi and sooty mold). They are fought by removing them and treating the plant with an anticoccidic product or by rubbing the affected parts with a pad soaked in water and alcohol.

- Leaf boiling: due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Causes loss of affected leaves.

- Leaf loss: it can be due to the boiling of the foliage, low humidity or, for plants that live outdoors, at excessively low temperatures.

- Yellowing of the leaves: it may be due to the use of too calcareous water.


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