Rutgers Asparagus Breeding Program



All-male hybrids
Disease resistance
Spear quality
Tissue culture
Health elements
Advanced hybrids
Purple asparagus



Tissue culture and asparagus breeding

The best asparagus plants cultivated today are F1 hybrids of elite female and male parents. To produce seeds for commercial planting requires large number of parent plants. Asparagus can be vegetative propagated by crown division but this process is slow and limited. Tissue culture is the only effective way to clonally propagate large number of asparagus plants.


< Meristem is usually used to established an asparagus clone. Meristems of vigorously growing virus-free plants are selected for initiation of cultures. The culture media usually contain Murashige and Skoog salts, vitamins, sucrose, cytokinin, auxin, and gelling substance.

< Asparagus possesses two types of roots: feeding and storage roots. Similarly, asparagus in tissue culture can also be induced to develop feeding and storage roots. Cultures without storage roots fail to survive after transplantation to potting mix or soil. Thus, cultures with storage roots are essential for establishment of transplant.

A & B: Cultures with only feeding roots; C: Culture with feeding and storage roots

< Asparagus tissue cultures rarely develop storage roots in common tissue culture media. Development of storage roots can be significantly increased by addition of growth retardant to the medium. So far, the most effective growth retardant that has been found to stimulate storage roots is ancymidol.

< Cultures with well-developed storage roots are transferred to perlite and peat moss (1 to 1) potting mix in 2 x 2 cells. High humidity will facilitate success in transplantation.

< Plants are fertilized with 100 ppm 15:15:15 fertilizer fortified with chelated iron. Eight to ten weeks after transplant the plants are ready to be planted in the field.


Overview Δ
All-male Δ
Disease resistance Δ
Spear quality Δ
Tissue culture Δ
Health elements Δ
Purple asparagus Δ
New hybrids Δ


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