Male and female asparagus

Contents

Cannabis Pre-Flowers: Identify Sex as Early as 3 Weeks Old (with pics!)

by Nebula Haze

Table of Contents

Intro: Use Pre-Flowers or Testing to Find Sex of Young Plants & Seedlings

  • Leaf Sample Testing (Bonus) – Identify gender just 1-3 weeks from germination
  • Male Pre-Flower Pics – Appears 3-4 weeks from germination
  • Female Pre-Flower Pics – Appears 4-6 weeks from germination

Variability of Plant Gender (How to Increase Ratio of Female Plants)

Example of Male and Female Cannabis Pre-Flowers

The female plants will soon produce pistils. Wispy white hairs are a sure sign that you’re looking at female pre-flowers.

How to Determine Gender of a Young Cannabis Plant

What are cannabis “pre-flowers?” They are little versions of adult flowers that appear on your marijuana plants relatively early in the vegetative stage.

When I first started growing weed, I learned (incorrectly) that there is no way to determine a cannabis plant’s gender until the flowering stage. But I’ve since learned that pre-flowers can reveal the plant’s sex while it’s still in the vegetative stage! Cannabis plants grow pre-flowers as young as 3-4 weeks from germination for male plants, and 4-6 weeks from germination for female plants.

Cannabis Pre-Flowers Are Small Versions of Adult Flowers. These reveal a plant’s gender.

Knowing the plant gender is helpful because most hobbyist cannabis growers would like to identify and remove male plants from the grow room early in the growing process. This is due to the fact that only female plants make potent buds/flowers, while male cannabis plants make non-potent pollen sacs where female plants would grow buds. Additionally, female buds need to avoid pollen from male plants in order to make the highest quality cannabis (sinsemilla or “no seeds”).

​Why Do Only Female Cannabis Plants Make Buds?

Cannabis pre-flowers appear at the base of leaves when male plants are about 3-4 weeks old, and female plants are 4-6 weeks old.

(What is the purpose of “stipules”?)

Even if you’re not 100% sure about every plant from looking at the pre-flowers, it’s nice to know which plants you need to watch closely and which are definitely female. However, if precision is very important…

Chemical Leaf Tests Can Determine Sex & Potency for plants as young as 1-3 weeks

Chemical leaf testing is getting less expensive every day and can be used on cannabis seedlings with just a few sets of leaves to test for gender and future potency.

These tests only require a tiny amount of plant tissue (for example a small punch-out from a leaf, or a single cotyledon leaf), so it won’t hurt or slow down your seedlings to take a test sample!

In general, the tests are available for seedlings as young as 1-3 weeks. Gender testing uses a real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) test, and potency tests use Gas Chromatography with a Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID) or High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography with a Diode Array Detector (HPLC) for testing.

Although testing can be done as early as week 1 from germination, waiting until week 3 to conduct testing on seedlings can increase accuracy, and some companies won’t conduct testing until week 3.

There are many reasons growers would like to know plant gender as early as possible, as well as be able to estimate the overall THC/CBD ratios of future buds!

Did You Know? There are Chemical Leaf Tests that Can Definitively Determine Both Plant Gender & Future Cannabinoid Ratios of Very Young Marijuana Seedlings!

But for those of us using our eyes…

Male Pre-Flower

More Male Pre-Flower Pics

Female Pre-Flowers
(these turn into buds)

This female pre-flower hasn’t released a wispy white pistil quite yet

More Female Pre-Flower Pics

When starting with “feminized” seeds (which you can usually only get from a breeder), all your seeds should end up being female, so determining male from female isn’t very important. Learn more about buying seeds (including feminized seeds) from breeders online.

But for growers starting with “regular” (non-feminized) seeds, about half of the plants can turn out to be male. And unfortunately, there’s no way to look at a seed and be able to tell what gender it is.

Unfortunately, you can’t tell a cannabis plant’s gender for sure by looking at the seeds 🙁

Learn more about why it’s hard to determine gender from looking at seeds

How to Figure out Sex of a Cannabis Plant by Examining Pre-flowers

Vegetating plants usually reveal their gender when they’re just 3-6 weeks old from seed, but you have to know where to look.

What you’re looking for is “pre-flowers.” These are tiny versions of adult sex parts, and when you see them you can tell what gender the plant is going to be. They usually show up in the upper parts of the plant, closer to the lights, but sometimes you’ll search the whole plant and only find a pre-flower on a random branch lower down on the plant.

Vegetating cannabis plants reveal their gender with “pre-flowers” that usually appear 3-6 weeks from when the plant first germinated.

Although these are the general shapes of male and female pre-flowers, if you continue looking through the pictures below, you’ll see there’s quite a bit of variation on what pre-flowers look like from strain to strain.

Most male plants have grown a pre-flower by week 3-4 from seed, while female plants don’t show until week 4-6. Basically, all vegetative plants will have revealed their gender by about the 6th week from seed.

So, without further ado, here are pictures showing what you’re looking for when it comes to pre-flowers. Remember, pre-flowers are found at the V where stems meet a main stalk. But pre-flowers don’t usually show up all over the plant. Make sure to look around in different places, especially near the top of the plant and closer to the lights

Note: Pre-flowers show up most often near the top of the plant and closer to the lights but could be anywhere on the plant. There may be just one on the whole plant so you may have to search all over!

Male Pre-Flowers

Male pre-flowers tend to have a “spade” shape, like the spades from a deck of cards. Male cannabis plants often (but not always) reveal their gender sooner than female plants.

Male pre-flowers tend to be shaped somewhat like a spade

This male plant was only 3 weeks when it made its first preflower. Notice how tiny it is compared to the giant-sized thumb! Often it’s unclear what the gender is when a pre-flower is this small (unless you’ve got a lot of experience) so if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to wait and see how it develops, just in case.

Just to give you an idea how small these can be when they show up…

This is the exact same picture as above, but with the pre-flower made bigger so you can see it. Pretty tiny, isn’t it?

Male pre-flowers are basically immature pollen sacs. When the plant starts flowering, they will grow and turn into bunches that almost look like grapes.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes (though not always!) the stipules on male plants seem more “leafy” and less “pointy” than stipules on female plants (the stipules are the green hair-like growths near where pre-flowers show up). However, this is just a generality, and should be used together with other factors to determine if a plant is male! There are definitely male plants with pointy stipules and vice versa, but it’s sort of a general difference.

This particular preflower is really tough to determine. However, in the end, it was a male plant. The little “stem” is one clue it may be male

Just like the above male plant, sometimes you get almost what looks like two tiny little leaves that the pre-flower pollen sac “unfurls” from. In the above picture the pollen sac is still mostly hidden, while in this next picture, the tiny growths have opened up to fully reveal the pollen sac. This can be confusing because these extra growths don’t appear on all plants, and are not a pre-flower or a stipule.

Here’s another male pollen sac pre-flower that’s on a little “stem”

A single male pre-flower appears

Once you see multiple pollen sacs and no white pistils, you can be confident it’s a male plant

Although this plant ended up being male, the stipules are long, pointy and crossed like you’d normally see with a female plant. That’s why you need to confirm gender with the pre-flowers and not just look at other factors on the plant!

Sometimes the pollen sacs look a little unusual when they first start growing in, but you know it’s male when you see several pre-flowers without any pistils stacked on top of each other like bunches of grapes

If you click the following picture and zoom in close, you can see pollen sacs scattered among the leaves

This is what male pollen sacs look like when the plant actually starts flowering

This male cannabis plant has gotten further along in the flowering stage

This is what a male plant looks like at maturity when it’s starting to spill its pollen

Another example of pollen spilling onto a nearby leaf

For those who’ve never seen a male cannabis plant in its full glory 🙂

Ok, now that you know what male pre-flowers look like, what do female pre-flowers look like?

Female Pre-Flowers

Female pre-flowers tend to be longer and narrower than male pre-flowers, sometimes with a fat bottom. They also usually (but not always) have 1-2 white hairs (pistils) sticking out from the top. Sometimes it takes a few extra days for the pistils to appear.

pic by GypsySpirit WhiteEagle

Wispy white pistils are a sure sign that you’re looking at female pre-flowers

This pre-flower doesn’t have a pistil sticking out at first, but the shape helps tell you it’s a female plant. If you’re not sure about gender after spotting a pre-flower, it’s a good idea to wait and see for a little while, just to see if a white hair appears (which means it’s definitely a girl)

Another example of female cannabis pre-flowers that haven’t revealed their pistil yet

Here’s a picture that shows a pistil right as it’s emerging from the calyx!

If the pre-flower is very pointy and thin like this one on the right, it is often a female pre-flower

Some of the time the stipules (green hair-like growths near where pre-flowers show up) will cross each other on female plants. This certainly doesn’t always happen, as you can see from the pics of female pre-flowers on this page, but while girls can go either way, male plants rarely have stipules that cross each other. So although crossed stipules cannot be used definitively as a way to identify female plants, it can be a small clue to help guide you when you’re not sure. For example, the following female pre-flower doesn’t have a pistil, but the long thin shape combined with the crossed stipules help indicate that this plant is a girl. Whenever in doubt, wait a week and look again!

This female plant has a long, thin calyx and crossed stipules, which are typical female plant features

In this pic, you can see white pistils emerging from the calyxes. Female pistils are white and wispy, never green.

Here’s another female pre-flower that doesn’t have a white hair yet, but you can tell it’s female because it’s long and narrow, instead of spade-shaped

One last female pre-flower without a pistil yet. The long narrow shape is the only thing that gives the gender away until pistils begin to emerge

Super close-up picture of a female cannabis pre-flower

Female cannabis calyxes with pistils, under an LED grow light

Did you know that pre-flowers/calyxes/flowers are actually what holds seeds if your plant gets pollinated? Once pollen touches the white pistils, the pollen gets delivered to the inside and a seed starts forming!

Variability of Cannabis Plant Gender – How to Increase Ratio of Female Plants with Regular Seeds

In fact, to this day scientists are still not sure exactly what causes certain plants to be one gender or another after sprouting. We’ve identified several factors that predict the overall likelihood of male/female plants (for example feminized seeds always produce female plants no matter what), but gender seems to be somewhat fluid in cannabis plants when they’re first germinated.

Certain conditions such as excessive heat, stress, unusual light periods and nutrient problems can cause a greater percentage of plants to produce male flowers.

You may be able to increase the percentage of female plants with regular seeds during the first few weeks of life

On the flip side, the following factors may possibly increase the ratio of female plants with regular seeds (learn more):

  • Healthy Mom – Only grow seeds from a vigorous, healthy mother plant who never showed any signs of herming or male pollen sacs (seeds are more likely to grow pollen sacs if the mom plant had a tough start in life, or hermed during the flowering stage)
  • Cool Temperatures – Give seedlings slightly cool temperatures (65-75°F day and night) and avoid excessive heat
  • High Humidity (50-70% RH)
  • Short but not too short days. Keep consistent day and night periods with no light interruptions at night, and days should be 14-18 hours long (between 14/10 and 18/6) for first few weeks
  • Blue light. Always start seeds under a vegetative grow light (something with plenty of blue like a Metal Halide or a 6500k CFL/T5/fluorescent)
  • Avoid Deficiencies – Make sure to provide plenty of Nitrogen and don’t let seedlings become nutrient starved or run into other types of deficiencies
  • Prevent Stress, especially heat or light stress during first few weeks
  • Happy Roots – Avoid over (and especially) under watering

Once a cannabis plant is about 3 weeks old, its gender is pretty much completely set and can be determined either by visual inspection or by chemical leaf test.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that different environmental conditions during the first part of life can alter the gender, you can’t look at seeds and definitively know one way or the other whether the plant will end up being female because even the plant doesn’t necessarily “know”.

For example, say you take a clone of a seedling before it’s 3 weeks old. It’s possible that one clone will be male, and the other clone will be female. However, if you take a clone after week 3, the genders of clones will always match each other. This is further evidence to indicate that the environment can affect gender expression in some cases.

Jump to…

What’s the Difference Between Male & Female Cannabis Plants?

Male Plants, Bananas & Hermies

Where can I buy feminized seeds?

What do I need to get started growing indoors?

What does the appearance of a cannabis seed indicate?

Can the visual appearance of a cannabis seed indicate anything useful about the future plant which it will produce? It’s a question which has been asked by many cannabis growers. And over the years there have been many different theories about this.

Cannabis seed weight. What does the weight of a cannabis seed indicate?

Dutch Passion created feminized seeds in the 1990’s. It was a revolution for cannabis growers. But in the days before feminized seeds, some people felt that ‘male’ and ‘female’ seeds could be separated according to their weight, appearance, size, shape etc. The idea behind this unproven theory was that cannabis seeds all had different sizes and shapes for a reason. One of the first difficulties with the theory is that different marijuana seed varieties often produce different size seeds. White Widow seeds, for example, can often look smaller than other varieties. And yet they produce excellent quality harvests. Seed size has no relationship to potency. The future sex of a cannabis plant simply can’t be determined by the weight or size of the cannabis seed. If it were that easy the seed companies wouldn’t spend as much time and effort to create feminized seeds.

Feminized seeds vs autoflowering seeds. Do they look different?

Every so often a home grower will accidentally mix up their seeds. Often this is done after a smoke/vape, perhaps when you are getting the cannabis seeds ready for germination. If you have ever mixed up your seeds it can feel impossible to be confident about their true identity. There is no certain way to distinguish between feminized seeds and autoflower seeds just by looking at them. The plants real future identity lies in the DNA inside the cells within the seed.

Stripes on cannabis seeds. What do they indicate?

Cannabis seeds have an undeniable beauty and appeal. The various shades of brown are delicate. Under powerful magnification you can see how a cannabis seed is a wonderful piece of natural beauty and design. When you examine a cannabis seed near a bright light you can see a shiny reflection, as if the seed has a coating of wax. Not every cannabis seed has a similar appearance to the next. Some seeds will have dramatic tiger stripes. Others will have a more homogenous surface coloration. The appearance of the seed isn’t a reliable indicator of any particular plant quality. Everything is coded in the genetics inside the plant tissue safely encased inside the shell. From the sex of the plant to the cannabinoid and terpene profile, plant DNA and genetics determine the future. That’s where you rely on the seed company doing their job properly. The highest quality cannabis seeds are not always the cheapest. But if you buy from a company with a reputation for quality you know that a great deal of skill and effort, and many years work, has gone into your cannabis seeds.

Are heavier cannabis seeds more difficult to germinate?

Some growers feel that the largest seeds can be more difficult to germinate due to the extra shell material. However, the shell material is designed to be weakened by water, it shouldn’t really be an obstacle to germination rates. As the fibres in the shell are penetrated by water, the shell structure swells and weakens allowing the tap root to emerge. Poor germination rates of cannabis seeds is often a sign of old seeds. It could also be the result of poor quality seed production practices. This is one area where established seed companies have the benefit of many decades of know-how and experience. Cannabis seed production is just like any other intricate and highly skilled process. The most experienced seed companies have people who are at the top of their profession with several decades of practical knowledge producing the best quality cannabis seeds. Dutch Passion do not recommend the use of sand paper to reduce the thickness of the cannabis shell. It’s too easy to accidentally damage the inner seed. Simply leave the seed to soak in a damp paper towel for a day or so. But never try to force open the seed, or use artificial abrasion techniques to try to weaken the shell.

Old cannabis seeds.

Very old cannabis seeds feel weaker when gently squeezed. In the worst cases the shells crack easily and the powdery crushed contents are released. The best way to store cannabis seeds is in a dry, dark container in a cool place such as a fridge. Cannabis seeds will still have good germination rates after several years of cold (and dry) storage.

Immature cannabis seeds.

Cannabis seeds which were harvested too early will have a green/whitish appearance. Often these will be small in size, and will struggle to germinate. Seeds that are clearly immature are not recommended for growing. Some seeds, such as Dutch Passion Frisian Duck, can have their own coloration. In the case of Frisian Duck the seeds have a slightly unusual grey appearance

Buy the best cannabis seeds online.

The best way to achieve a good quality harvest of home grown cannabis is to invest in some high quality seeds. Buying cannabis seeds online from a high quality seed company guarantees fresh seeds with good germination viability. You also benefit from the security of knowing that your cannabis seeds contain the best genetics to deliver top quality cannabis at harvest.

If you grow asparagus in your garden, you may see little red berries growing on some of the plants. I did some research to find out what these red berries are and why they only grow on some plants.

So, what are the red berries on your asparagus plants? The red berries on an asparagus plant contain seeds, which are used for reproduction. These red berries usually only grow on female asparagus plants, although both male and female plants have flowers. Both male and female plants must be planted together in order for female plants to produce these berries.

Let’s start off by taking a closer look at the differences between male and asparagus plants, along with ways you can get more plants. Then we’ll find some answers for commonly asked questions about asparagus plants, berries, and seeds.

What Are The Red Berries On My Asparagus Plants?

According to Wikipedia, asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that is dioecious. Dioecious means that there are separate male and female asparagus plants.

On occasion, hermaphrodite (both male and female) flowers may appear. Asparagus plants can live for up to 30 years!

For more information, check out this article on asparagus from Wikipedia.

The red berries you see on some asparagus plants contain seeds. However, these seed-containing berries usually only grow on female asparagus plants.

Deep-red asparagus berries usually only grow on the female plants.

When a female plant falls over, the seeds have a chance to germinate in the soil and grow into new asparagus plants. However, male asparagus plants must be present for berries to appear on female asparagus plants.

Male Asparagus Plants

Male asparagus plants produce small bell-shaped flowers, which are white, yellow, or green. They also tend to produce more and larger spears than female asparagus plants. This means that if you want a bigger harvest of edible asparagus spears, then you should opt for male plants.

Male asparagus plants tend to produce larger spears. Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Asparagus_officinalis#/media/File:Asperges_Asparagus_officinalis.jpg

Thanks to the wonders of science, you can now order all-male hybrid asparagus plants (thank Rutgers University for that!). These all-male hybrid varieties can produce three times more than traditional asparagus varieties. For more information, check out this article from Mother Earth News.

In addition, these all-male hybrid varieties will not produce seeds, according to this article on asparagus from Extension.org.

Female Asparagus Plants

Female asparagus plants also produce flowers, which look similar to those produce by male asparagus plants. Female plants are usually the ones to produce berries, which are bright red and 0.5 to 1.0 centimeters in diameter.

Female asparagus plants are usually the ones to produce berries. Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Asparagus_officinalis_sl4.jpg

If you want to grow more asparagus from seeds, you will want some female plants in your garden. However, there is a trade-off to be made.

Since female asparagus plants devote energy to producing seeds, they have less energy leftover for growing the edible spears. This means that spears from female asparagus plants will be smaller, thinner, and less numerous than those found on a male plant.

How Do I Tell Male and Female Asparagus Plants Apart?

There are a couple of ways to tell male and female asparagus plants apart: by the berries, by the flowers, and by the spears (stalks).

To tell male and female asparagus flowers apart by their berries, you will need to wait until the fall. At this point, berries will start to appear on the female plants.

However, this method is not foolproof. First of all, if you have heirloom asparagus varieties, some of the male plants may produce berries. (As mentioned before, all-male hybrid varieties will not produce berries.)

Second, if all of your asparagus plants are female, then they may not produce berries at all. The reason is that male plants need to be present and close by in order for female plants to produce berries.

So, you could end up mistaking male plants for female plants, or vice versa, if you are only using berries as your criteria. A better way is to look at the flowers on each plant, which appear in the summer. Then, use the berries in the fall as a confirmation.

Asparagus flowers will look slightly different on male and female plants. Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Asparagus_officinalis_subsp._oficinalis_flower,_asperge_bloem.jpg

To tell asparagus plants apart by their flowers, you will need to pay attention to a few details. First, the flowers on male plants are longer than the flowers on female plants. Second, the male flowers have six stamens around a pistil, whereas female flowers have six pistils and one stamen.

For more information, check out this article about asparagus flowers on garden.eco.

Of course, you can always take a look at the asparagus spears themselves – they will usually be thicker and more numerous on male plants.

How Do Asparagus Plants Reproduce?

There are two ways that asparagus plants can reproduce: by flowers and seeds (flowering), or by root cuttings (vegetative).

Asparagus Reproduction By Flowers and Seeds (Flowering Reproduction)

This type of plant reproduction is the way that most people think of. However, asparagus is unusual in that it has two separate genders of plants, instead of having both male and female flowers on the same plant.

Asparagus reproduction begins when a pollinator (such as a bee, a hummingbird, etc.) travels from flower to flower in search of nectar. In the process, the pollinator gathers pollen on its body from one flower and spread it around to other flowers.

Bees and other pollinators can help asparagus plants to reproduce by flowers and seeds.

When a male pollen grain lands on a female stigma, fertilization may occur. If successful, a berry will eventually form on the female plant where the flower was. At the end of the growing season, the stalks of the female plant will fall over.

The berries will land on the ground, some of them being buried by wind, rain, or animals. Eventually, some of the seeds inside the berries will germinate underground and produce new asparagus plants.

For more information, check out this article on pollination from the University of Georgia.

Keep in mind that when you propagate (reproduce) asparagus plants by seed, there is no guarantee that the resulting plants will be the same as the mother plant. This is because the seed has genetic material from both parent plants, and the resulting offspring can be a completely different asparagus plant.

Asparagus Reproduction By Root Cuttings (Vegetative Reproduction)

On the other hand, if you want to propagate more asparagus plants that are the same as the parent plant, then vegetative production is the way to go. In vegetative reproduction of asparagus plants, you wait for new plants to sprout underground, since the root systems do not die back in the winter.

Usually, gardeners buy asparagus crowns from nurseries. These crowns were grown from seed, and are one or two years old. You can start harvesting spears from these plants when they are three years old.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asparagus

There are a few more questions you might have about asparagus, so let’s try to answer them here.

How Long Does It Take For An Asparagus Plant To Produce Seeds?

A mature asparagus plant (3 years old or older) will produce tender, edible spears for 4 to 8 weeks in the early spring. After that, the spears will become tougher, especially at the bottom, and the tips will open up and develop into what look like ferns.

This fern-like growth will yield berries on female plants in the summer or fall. If the weather is especially hot and dry, female asparagus plants may start to produce berries earlier.

How Do I Harvest Asparagus Seeds?

To harvest asparagus seeds, wait until a female plant produces berries. When the berries turn red, pick them from the plant and remove the seeds.

Clean the seeds off and let them dry out before putting them in a jar for storage. They may be viable for 2 or 3 years, but it is best to plant them the next year.

Remember that these asparagus seeds may not produce plants that are the same as the parent plant. You may want to consider buying asparagus seeds from a reputable seed company instead.

For more information, check out my article on the difference between organic and heirloom seeds, and my article on the pros and cons of hybrid seeds.

Should I Remove Female Asparagus Plants From My Garden?

If you want to increase your harvest of asparagus spears, it might make sense to remove female plants from your garden. This frees up space for all-male hybrid varieties, which produce larger and more numerous spears.

Removing female asparagus plants also prevents the berries from falling and producing new plants from seed, which may compete with existing plants. Scroll back up for more information on how to tell male and female asparagus plants apart.

Are Asparagus Berries Toxic?

Yes, asparagus berries are toxic to humans, dogs, and cats.

Asparagus berries are toxic to dogs, so keep them away!

For more information, check out this article on asparagus berries from garden.eco.

Conclusion

By now, you have a better idea of why you are seeing red berries growing on your asparagus plants. It is not a cause for alarm, but it does mean that some of your plants are putting energy into reproduction instead of producing asparagus spears for you to eat.

I hope this article was helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice of your own about asparagus plants, berries, or seeds, please leave a comment below.

Planting Asparagus Seed – How Do You Grow Asparagus From Seed

If you are an asparagus lover, chances are good that you would like to include them in your garden. Many gardeners buy established bare root stock when growing asparagus but can you grow asparagus from seeds? If so, how do you grow asparagus from seed and what other information on asparagus seed propagation might be helpful?

Can You Grow Asparagus from Seeds?

Asparagus is often grown from bare root stock crowns. The reason for this is that growing asparagus requires patience. Crowns take three growing seasons before they are ready to be harvested! Even so, this is significantly faster than if you try growing asparagus from seeds. That said, yes, asparagus seed propagation is very possible and a little cheaper than buying crowns.

Asparagus seeds, or berries, turn bright red in autumn. Once the tops fall over, the tops can be collected and hung upside down in a warm, dry area for about a week or so to ripen. To catch the seeds once completely dried, keep a bowl beneath them or gently tie a brown paper bag around the tops when hanging. These seeds can then be used for planting asparagus. Likewise, you can purchase them from reputable suppliers.

How Do You Grow Asparagus from Seed?

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a hardy perennial suited to USDA zones 2-8 and is native to Western Europe. This perennial can remain viable for 10-20 years, so choose your garden site carefully. Asparagus needs a soil pH of between 7.0 and 7.2 in fertile, well-draining soil.

So how do you go about planting asparagus seeds? There’s no trick to growing asparagus from seeds, just be patient. It’s recommended that you start asparagus seeds indoors or in a greenhouse in mid-February to May under bright lighting. Soil temperatures for seed germination should be between 70-85 degrees F. (21-29 C.). Soak the seeds for a couple of hours, then plant each seed ½ deep in sterile soil in individual 2-inch pots. They should sprout anywhere between 2-8 weeks from planting asparagus seeds.

Seedlings are ready to transplant when they are 10-12 weeks old and all danger of frost in your area has passed. Space the transplants 18 inches apart in rows set 3-6 inches apart. If you want thinner spears, space the transplants 8-10 inches apart with the plant set 4 inches deep. If you like thicker spears, plant them 12-14 inches apart and set 6-8 inches deep. Consider planting your new asparagus babies near your tomatoes. Asparagus repels nematodes that attack tomato plants while tomatoes repel asparagus beetles. A very symbiotic relationship indeed.

As the plant grows, cover the crown with soil and keep it moist (one inch of water per week). Fertilize in the spring with 1-2 cups of complete organic fertilizer per 10 foot of row and dig in gently. Remember, don’t harvest the plant until its third year; allow the plant to set ferns and redirect its energy back into the plant. Cut the ferns down to 2 inches tall in the late fall.

In the plant’s third year, you can begin regularly harvesting the spears. The season usually lasts around 8-12 weeks. Cut the asparagus spears 1-2 inches below the ground and at least 2 inches above the crown using a sharp knife or asparagus harvesting tool.

What’s The Difference Between Male And Female Asparagus Plants

We all know that some plants have male reproductive organs and some have female and some have both. How about asparagus? Are there really male or female asparagus? If so, what’s the difference between male and female asparagus? Keep reading to get the scoop on male vs. female asparagus.

Are There Really Male or Female Asparagus?

So are there male and female asparagus plants? There isn’t an obvious asparagus sex determination is there? Yes, there are male and female asparagus plants and actually there are some signs as to which sex the asparagus might be.

Asparagus Sex Determination

Asparagusis dioecious, which means there are both male and female plants. Female asparagus produces seeds that look like little red berries. Male plants produce thicker, larger spears than females. The flowers on male plants are also larger and longer than those on females. Male blooms have 6 stamens and one small useless pistil, while female blooms have 6 small nonfunctional pistils and a well-developed, three-lobed stamen.

Male vs. Female Asparagus

In the battle of the sexes, is there a difference between male and female asparagus? Since female asparagus produce seed, they expend quite a bit of energy on that production, so while the female produces more spears, they are significantly smaller than their male counterparts. Also, as the seeds drop from the female, new seedlings are sprouted which causes overcrowding in the bed.

In this one case, male asparagus seems to have a benefit over female. In fact, male asparagus is favored so much more that there are now new hybridized male asparagus plants that produce larger yields. Some of these include Jersey Giant, Jersey King and Jersey Knight. If you want the largest spears, these are your best options. These newer hybrids also have the added benefit of being cold tolerant and resistant to rustand fusarium.

If you have planted an older variety or are unsure what sex your crowns are, wait until they flower to make a distinction. Then if you want, you can remove the less productive female asparagus and replace it with more productive male crowns.

What is the difference between male and female asparagus plants, and is it important for growing?

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The Queen, Kate Middleton, and the Duchess of Cornwall wore tiaras to a Buckingham Palace reception. Here’s why only some members of the royal family are allowed to wear them

  • The Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen, and the Duchess of Cornwall wore tiaras to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
  • It wasn’t the first time the royal ladies have worn the regal accessory, however, you might have noticed they only wear them on certain occasions.
  • There are rules surrounding which members of the royal family are allowed to wear one — and when and where they’re allowed to wear it.
  • We asked royal experts to break down the etiquette surrounding the use of tiaras and crowns in the royal family.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s easy to assume that tiaras and crowns are reserved for royalty, but there are even rules surrounding which members of the royal family are allowed to wear one — and when and where they’re allowed to wear it.

The Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen, and the Duchess of Cornwall wore tiaras to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, and the Duchess of Cornwall were in attendance. Victoria Jones/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images. Middleton opted for Princess Diana’s Lover’s Knot tiara, one she has chosen to wear to several other receptions and State Banquets throughout the years.

She paired the tiara with a necklace borrowed from the Queen, and an Alexander McQueen evening dress.

Middleton wore an Alexander McQueen gown. Victoria Jones/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images

The Queen paired her Vladimir tiara with a matching emerald necklace, while Camilla wore hers with a pearl necklace and drop earrings.

Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Jones/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie both wore tiaras borrowed from the Queen on their wedding days — but this doesn’t mean they can sport one any time they please.

Similarly, despite popular belief, it’s not just the Queen who is allowed to wear a crown.

Insider spoke to royal experts Grant Harrold and Richard Fitzwilliams about the ins and outs of tiara and crown etiquette — and it’s certainly pretty old-school.

You have to be married or hold a certain royal title to wear a tiara

Meghan Markle wore a $600,000 tiara for her royal wedding. Max Mumby/ Indigo/ Getty Images

According to etiquette expert and former royal butler Grant Harrold, there are two types of women who can wear tiaras: those who are married, and those who are born princesses.

Harrold, a director at the Royal School of Etiquette, told Insider: ‘Traditionally, tiaras are a sign of marriage. So typically they could be worn by a bride on her wedding day, or after she is married, she can wear one to any white tie event.

“Single ladies don’t typically wear tiaras, unless they are born into the Royal Family as a princess.”

Therefore, if the royals are following this tradition, those who married into the family, such as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, are entitled to wear one.

Kate Middleton wore this tiara, borrowed from the Queen, for her 2011 nuptials. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Middleton was first seen wearing a tiara at her wedding to Prince William in 2011. Since then, she’s been photographed wearing them on multiple occasions.

Traditionally, single royals who weren’t born with the title of princess don’t wear a tiara.

Lady Gabriella Windsor is the daughter of Prince Michael of Kent, the first cousin of the Queen. But despite being born the daughter of a prince, Gabriella was not given the title of a princess.

Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston. David M. Benett/ Getty Images

The royal was photographed wearing a tiara for the first time at her royal wedding to Thomas Kingston earlier this year — an indicator that this rule could hold true.

However, we cannot be certain how much weight these older traditions hold, as they have never been confirmed by a member of the family.

Royals can only wear tiaras after a certain time of day

Princess Eugenie wed Jack Brooksbank in 2018. Reuters

Simply being married or being a princess doesn’t give royal ladies free rein to wear tiaras whenever they please. They must only be worn at a particular time and place, according to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, former editor of “The International Who’s Who.”

Fitzwilliams told Insider: “Tradition dictates that tiaras are not worn before 6 p.m., though weddings are an exception. They are worn on formal white tie events and state occasions such as state banquets. The decision on whether to wear a tiara is linked to the dress code of a particular event and also to personal preference.”

This seems to be a tradition the royals are following through on, as other than at her wedding Middleton has only ever worn a tiara to white tie events.

Kate Middleton wearing Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot tiara. John Stillwell/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images

She made headlines after wearing Princess Diana’s Lover’s Knot tiara to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2018. She wore the same tiara at a state banquet with Donald Trump earlier this year.

Anyone in the royal family can wear a crown, but they are often saved for one particular event

Queen Elizabeth II has worn many tiaras and crowns during her reign. Sean Gallup/ Getty Images

Many believe that the Queen is the only royal who is allowed to wear a crown.

However, other royals are allowed to wear coronets, which is a small crown often worn at a coronation — and they don’t have to be the monarch to do it. In fact, Her Majesty wore one long before she became Queen.

In the 1937 photo below, the newly crowned King George VI and the Queen Mother both wore crowns, alongside Princess Margaret and our future Queen, the then-titled Princess Elizabeth, who both wore coronets.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with the king’s mother, Mary of Teck, and Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth. Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty

Similarly, Prince Charles was spotted wearing a gold coronet during his investiture in 1969.

The newly-titled Prince of Wales was photographed taking a carriage ride with the Queen after the ceremony at Caermarfon Castle.

Prince of Charles with Queen Elizabeth II after his investiture. Keystone-France/ Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Despite celebrating the 50th anniversary of his investiture in March, Charles has not worn a crown since.

“While princesses can wear tiaras, dukes and earls can wear coronets. You can see them all wearing them in pictures of the Queen’s coronation — all the males were wearing them,” Harrold explained.

“From what I know, male aristocracy only wear coronets at coronations. Prince Charles hasn’t worn the golden coronet since his investiture in 1969.”

So that settles it — while you may have assumed royals can wear crowns or tiaras without limitation, like everything, there is a set time, place, and occasion.

Kate Middleton was spotted wearing one of Princess Diana’s favorite tiaras — and she looks stunning

Kate Middleton wore a mermaid gown with one of Princess Diana’s tiaras and she looked like a real-life Cinderella

Meghan Markle said the Queen helped her choose her diamond and platinum wedding tiara, and bent the rules to let her bring Prince Harry too

Male Prom Queen Challenges ‘Gender Norms’

Northwood High student later passes crown to girlfriend of dance’s king

By Caitlynn Peetz Follow @CaitlynnPeetz14 | Published: 2019-05-21 14:00

Northwood High prom royalty. Kramer is second from left.

Photo via Northwood Principal Mildred Charley-Greene

In an unprecedented move at a Silver Spring high school, the student body elected its first-ever male prom queen on Saturday.

Brian Kramer, a 17-year-old senior at Northwood High School, earlier this year decided to run for prom queen after realizing he likely wouldn’t be elected king in a competitive field.

His goal, he said, was to challenge “gender norms” and it quickly became clear he had support from students.

“We spend all our time worrying about this societal norm that exists for some reason, and what I wanted to do was show people it’s OK to do something just because you feel like it, even if it isn’t what you’re told you’re supposed to do,” Kramer said. “Just do it because, realistically, it doesn’t matter.”

Although unusual, Saturday’s selection at Northwood isn’t the first time Montgomery County students have taken a unique approach to selecting homecoming or prom royalty. In 2016, students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School elected a “gender-neutral homecoming court,” allowing students to elect either the traditional male and female court or two males, two females or transgender students, according to a school system spokesman.

Up against about 10 other girls for queen, Kramer said he hasn’t received any negative feedback from students or parents. Rather, he’s received an influx of positive feedback, Kramer said.

Northwood has a student enrollment of about 1,700 students.

“Everybody was going insane,” Kramer said of the moment he was announced queen, the same day the school system hosted its first-ever forum focused on LGBTQ issues. “All I could think was, ‘Wow, this is wild.’ ”

Kramer didn’t hold the crown for long, though.

After taking a few pictures, he handed the crown over to the girl who received the second-most votes. She was the girlfriend of the boy who won king, Kramer said.

“It wasn’t necessarily about winning, but the amount of time we spend thinking about labels and what they mean, and the standards people set for us, we’re wasting our time,” Kramer said. “We’re not here that long, so it doesn’t really matter what the label is. You can run for or do whatever you want.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at [email protected]

pheasant egg & asparagus, team brought out the blue pheasant egg to show me that it’s truly blue – Picture of Lyle’s, London

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