All About Growing Artichokes

Growing artichokes as annuals that bear edible buds their first season requires an early start, but properly handled artichoke plants will prosper in a wide range of climates. This guide includes descriptions of the types of globe artichokes and tips for growing them in your backyard garden.


| December 16, 2013



All About Growing Artichokes

Artichokes aren’t the easiest crop to prepare in your kitchen, but their rich flavors are worth the work. Grow some in your garden to experience a real treat.


Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Native to the mild climates of the Southern Mediterranean, globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus) are half-hardy perennial thistles that are easily killed by temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Where winters are mild, you can grow globe artichokes as perennials, replacing plants every four years. In most areas, though, globe artichokes must be grown as annuals. Growing artichokes from seeds started in late winter will produce edible buds in midsummer and fall. The edible plant parts are the immature artichoke flower buds.

Types of Artichokes

Green artichoke varieties include ‘Imperial Star,’ the best variety to handle as an annual, and ‘Green Globe,’ a heavy-bearing perennial hardy to Zone 7.

Purple artichokes include ‘Violetta,’ an heirloom variety hardy to Zone 6, and the fast-maturing ‘Opera’ hybrid.

How to Plant Artichokes

Start artichoke seeds indoors in late winter, under bright florescent lights. The large seeds will germinate within a week at warm room temperatures, and seedlings should be potted into larger containers as they grow. Six weeks before your last frost date, start hardening off seedlings by gradually exposing them to bright sun, wind and cool temperatures.

Set artichoke plants out in prepared beds 3 to 4 weeks before your last frost date. Exposure to cool temperatures below 45 degrees is necessary to trigger flowering. Before transplanting artichokes, enrich each planting hole with a balanced organic fertilizer, and space plants 3 feet apart.

franny
5/20/2016 8:05:50 AM

I have planted two globe artichoke plants I have bought in winter. My mistake is that I have planted them close. I got a lovely artichoke on one of them but the other plant remained small compared to the one next to it. Thanks to the information on this website I know now the reason for this. I will wait for winter, unearth the small plant and place it further away from the thriving one. Many thanks for the useful information.






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