Rising artichokes for prickly backyard enjoyable

We don't give artichokes enough credit. They may be descended from thistles and have a funny name, but these are actually very interesting vegetables! Let's take a look at the wonderfully strange properties of this plant and you will soon be displaying it in your own garden.

Artichokes are actually unopened flower buds. They have pointed leaves, called bracts, that wrap around the artichoke heart and develop flowers. Depending on the variety, the bracts are usually blue-green and dark purple. When they bloom, the bracts open and show fluffy, thistle-like flowers in light blue-purple.

How do artichokes grow? The plant itself is quite large. It can fall 5 feet and reach 2-4 feet wide. Clumps of stems grow, adorned with serrated leaves and, in some varieties, with spines or thorns. Artichoke plants are often grown as part of decorative landscaping. They add a whimsical look that you just can't get with ordinary garden flowers.

In terms of taste, artichokes are delicious, especially when dipped in melted butter. They have a nutty taste and are surprisingly meaty in texture. Historically, the close relatives of artichoke plants were used medicinally. Today we enjoy this unconventional vegetable on pizza, in soups or all alone.

Did I convince you to try artichokes? If not, I would like to add one final note: they are low maintenance! If you live in the right climate, you can easily grow your own artichoke plants. So let's learn how to grow artichokes and make them a fun addition to your garden.

Good products for growing artichokes:

Brief instructions for care

When you grow artichokes, you get an eye-catching plant and tasty products. Source: Satrina0

Common Name (s) Globe artichoke, green artichoke, French artichoke
Scientific name Cynara cardunculus (Scolymus group)
Days to harvest 85-100 days
light Full sun
Water: Consistent; at least 1-3 times a week
ground Well permeable
fertilizer Balanced granular slow release fertilizer
Pests Aphids, army worms, artichoke feather moths, cabbage grinders, snails, whiteflies, spider mites, miners, flea beetles, lygus bugs, proba beetles
Diseases Damping / root rot, bract rot, powdery mildew, leaf blotch, crown rot, artichoke curl dwarf virus

All about artichokes

The artichokes we will focus on are a subgroup of Cynara cardunculus known as cardoon, an edible, lumpy weed sometimes grown as an ornamental plant. Artichoke falls under the Scolymus group of this species, which are less weed and commercially cultivated. If left to their own devices, these plants can return to their wild and weed roots.

Artichokes originally come from the Mediterranean region and date from at least the 5th century BC. They didn't make their way to the United States until the 19th century, but became a huge success. Today, over 3/4 of the commercial artichokes come from California, mostly from Monterey County. There is even an artichoke festival in Castroville every May celebrating this fantastic product.

So are artichoke trees? Artichoke plants are native to the Mediterranean region and prefer mild winters and cool, long summers. The ideal artichoke growing zone is 7-10, although many gardeners have success in zones 5 and 6 as well. It is possible to grow artichokes as annuals in colder areas, but they will not produce optimally until they are two years old.

Types of artichokes

New spring foliage on artichoke plantNew leaves develop on the plant in spring. Source: Godog

You have many types of artichokes to choose from, which vary in size, shape and taste. However, in terms of general care, they can all be treated equally. These types are divided into two categories: globe and oblong.

Globe artichokes are round and heavy with tightly packed bracts. You probably know that best Green globeThis is the type commonly sold in grocery stores. It has broad, green leaves and a great-tasting heart that is fantastic in a number of dishes.

The first choice for home growing is the Imperial star. It is similar to the Green Globe, but has thinner leaves and a sweeter taste. A third type of globe that we love is that Big heart, that's how it sounds. These are dense and heavy, and often weigh a pound or more.

Elongated artichokes are good elongated. They are a bit tapered until the wrapper opens, which makes them a little rounder. These species are often used as side dishes when they don't steal the show in your landscape.

The Violetta is an elongated artichoke plant that lives up to its name. This 5 inch long beauty has purple leaves that are green in color. Siena Artichokes, on the other hand, deviate from tradition with a wine-red color and smaller size.


You'll plant artichokes in early spring or late fall (if you live in zones 9-11). Whatever you choose, the soil temperature needs to be 50-85 ° F for these plants to really start off right. Artichokes grow well in containers, which is an excellent solution for those in cold areas. You can also start the seeds indoors in the middle of winter and then transplant them in spring.

Add some compost to your soil before planting. Plant artichoke seeds ½ inch deep and thin them to 6 feet apart. Transplants should be 3 to 4 feet apart. After planting, you may want to add some mulch to lock in moisture and regulate temperature.

Artichoke care

Artichokes on plantMost plants produce 4-6 artichokes. Source: Grongar

As long as you follow these simple guidelines, your artichokes should be pretty happy in your garden. With these plants you can expect a relaxed yet exciting growing season.

Sun and temperature

Give your artichoke plant full sun as it doesn't tolerate shade well. However, if you live in an area with consistently hot temperatures, move it to a place with indirect but bright light. Ideally, the average temperature for this plant should be 50-75 ° F. Artichokes are not frost hardy, so they should be planted in cold areas during the last frost at the earliest.

Water and moisture

Your growing artichoke plant will need a lot of water. The soil must be evenly moist, so water it deeply and often. You will likely water at least 1-3 times a week. Artichokes also prefer good humidity whenever possible.

If you're struggling to keep the soil moist, use watering tubes at the base of the plant. Mulch over the waterer tubes as this will reduce evaporation of the water you are using.


You can use different soil textures as long as they are well drained. Artichokes need a lot of water, but they don't have to drown. The soil should also have a good amount of nutrients available. We therefore recommend adding compost immediately before planting and treating it from the side if necessary.

Artichoke plants thrive with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0. However, they are known to tolerate alkaline soils well so you needn't worry about that.


At the time of transplantation, feed your artichokes with a balanced, granular fertilizer. Vegetable fertilizer is an excellent choice for giving these plants the nutrients they need. During the entire growing season, you can apply liquid fertilizer to the soil up to every two weeks if necessary. A diluted liquid fish emulsion can provide a large burst of nitrogen for foliage growth early in the season. Later switch to a higher amount of phosphorus for healthy artichoke development.


Artichoke leavesAn artichoke plant can get quite large and has distinctive foliage. Source: NicoledeB

If you plan to overwinter your artichoke plants, you'll need to prune them back after they are harvested. The best process for this is what is known as "stumping". Cut back bare sticks at ground level with a sterile garden knife or sharp scissors.

This will also reduce the likelihood of pests hibernating in your plants. Remove your plant debris from the growing area as it may contain some pest larvae.

Artichokes are not frost hardy, so the exposed base of the plant must be protected from the cold. A thick layer of mulch at the base of the plant can help. Cold frames are also extremely effective.As the weather warms up again, pull back the mulch so the plant can feel the heat and start new growth. You can remove the cooling frame as soon as the danger of frost has passed.


3-5 years after planting, the plant has grown so much that it produces smaller heads and can even die. At this point, you will need to divide the plant for the artichokes to come further. Cut the plant into two or more pieces, each with 3 to 4 stems, about 2 weeks before the last spring frost. You can either dig it up one at a time and cut it between the roots, or cut it into the ground with a spade. Replant each department in its own spot and continue their care as normal (but remember to add compost to the soil before planting!).

You can propagate artichokes outside of this 3 to 5 year period by removing a shoot or two with a spade. This method is great for sharing your plants with friends and family.

Harvesting and storing

Artichoke harvestHarvest your artichokes when the petals are close together. Source: JeepersMedia

Harvesting artichokes is very easy and there are many storage methods. Here's what you should know:


If artichoke flowers are not your goal, be prepared to harvest the heads before they open. With a mature plant, you can usually get sporadic yields in late spring and fall, as well as summer. Timing is crucial here, so pay special attention to the maturity of each artichoke.

Use the size to help determine when to harvest artichokes. For most varieties, the buds should be the size of a fist. The bracts become more colored, but still compact. When the artichoke plants mature, the bracts become tough and inedible. So don't postpone it!

Use a sharp clipper to cut the stem an inch or two below the bud. Most plants have 5-6 main heads as well as smaller cuttings.

When the growing season is over, be sure to prune the plants and prepare them for winter. If you want the temperature to be consistently cold, mulch the base and cover the plants with a large basket or woven plant sack. A cold frame can also help protect the plants.


Fresh artichokes keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can cook them by boiling, grilling, or roasting them in the oven. To eat artichokes, peel off each leaf and scrape the meat off with your teeth. The heart can be eaten whole, as can the inner stem. Discard the inner thrush, which is the fine hair-like part in the center of the flower.

The safest method for long-term storage is to blanch and freeze the artichokes. Do not freeze them uncooked as they will turn to mush when thawed. Instead, blanch them to bring them down to bad or al dente condition. You can then dry them off and place them on a tray in the freezer until they are set. You can then wrap them up for long-term storage.

While there are many recipes for pickled artichoke hearts or even whole baby artichokes, please don't try to eat these lovely vegetables. There are no legal and safe recipes for artichokes in the eat-in kitchen. There are many pickling recipes out there, but they are not intended for long-term storage. Instead, they should be eaten after the pickling process is complete!


Something about ripe artichokeIf you don't harvest right away, your thrushes will open. Source: Foshie

Most of the problems that can arise when growing artichokes can be prevented by keeping the plants clean. Here are some common problems that too much moisture and dirt can cause.

Growing problems

Underwater usually results in small, stunted buds with dark bracts. OverwateringOn the other hand, the roots can rot and cause disease. Avoid both of these problems by using well-drained soil and making sure you water properly (especially in high heat).

When your artichoke plants aren't Buddingthere can be a number of causes. First, it is very common for these plants to bloom in their second year of growth. Second, artichokes need a lot of water and soil nutrients. If your plant has a lot of leaf growth but no buds, you may be able to encourage flowering by pruning back some of the stems.


Aphids just can't leave us alone, can they? They suck the sap from the underside of the leaves and eventually cause the plant to yellow and wither. The easiest way to get rid of them is to spray them with a steady stream of water to knock them off your plants. Large infestations can be fought with insecticidal soap or pyrethrin. Prevent artichoke aphids with diatomaceous earth or neem oil.

A trio of caterpillar larvae are common on your plants. Army worms, Artichoke flag moth larvae, and Cabbage grinder Everyone likes to nibble on your foliage, leaving gaping holes or, in some cases, nothing at all. Bacillus thuringiensis, also known as BT, is an effective organic control against these pests.

Snails and snails Feel free to hide under leaves and dirt if they aren't chewing holes in your plants. Use organic snail and slug bait to keep them from engulfing your plants. You can also set traps, e.g. B. a shallow beer pan that attracts snails and snails and drowns.

The Sweet Potato Whitefly and the Spider mite with two spots are both sucking pests that can wreak some havoc. Their larvae also infest the plant and cause damage. For both of them, neem oil is an excellent preventative as it kills the pest eggs. If you have a major outbreak of either, neem can help, but an organic pyrethrin spray is far more effective.

A special type of leaf miner that Chrysanthemum Leafmineris an occasional pest of artichokes. Like all miners, the larvae live in the leaf and chew long tunnels through the leaf. Remove damaged leaves to get rid of the miners it contains and use organic spinosad spray to prevent further breakouts.

The Tingling weevil lays eggs at the base of your plants. While the eggs hatch, the larvae of this beetle move into the ground and chew on the root system there. Neem oil, applied to all plant surfaces, will suffocate the unhatched eggs and is an adequate prevention. Pyrethrin will kill adults. If there are larvae in the soil, the use of beneficial nematodes ensures that these are also killed.

Palestriped flea beetle are occasional leaf spoilers. These pesky little pests can be difficult to eradicate and cause great damage to very young plants. Older plants are somewhat tolerant of them, although they are still shedding leaves from the insatiable appetite of the flea beetle. Pyrethrin is effective in killing large breakouts.

An insect called Lygus bug Likes to feed on young leaves, especially newly planted artichoke plants. This pest pierces the leaf and sucks out the juice. It does this by injecting a toxin into the leaf, causing the surrounding tissue to become necrotic, leaving mottled brown pieces that eventually fall out of the leaf. Another that Proba bug, feeds similarly to the Lygus beetle and causes similar damage, but is most common in California.

The handling of these two errors is similar. Remove any weeds around the plants as these weeds can be the source where the insects came from. Monitor your plants to make sure this type of damage doesn't occur. If so, pyrethrin should eliminate the current attackers. At the end of the season, cut bare stalks at their base and remove them from the field. This "stump" process eliminates any larvae that may still be on the plant and prevents them from overwintering there.


Artichoke flowerArtichoke flowers are amazing, but you are sacrificing the wrapper for them. Source: sfbaywalk

The pythium fungus causes Attenuation off and Root rot in artichoke plants. Seedlings can wither and collapse, and the root and crown can both rot. These conditions occur due to moist soil conditions. Make sure your plants are adequately drained and that no water is pooling around them and you shouldn't experience these conditions.

Botrytis bract rot is another problem. It is caused by Botrytis cinerea and is often referred to as gray mold. While the gray mold can infect your leaves, it's worst when it reaches our desired product. The outside of the wrapper turns brown, and on the inside is the gray mold caused by botrytis.

Once botrytis gets into a wrapper, you will need to cut that wrapper and discard it as it will no longer be edible. Treating the plant with liquid copper fungicide kills the mold spores and prevents further spread.

Two different forms of mildew, Leveillula taurica and Erysiphe cichoracearum can affect the artichoke. Fortunately, both respond to standard neem oil treatments. In a severe outbreak, the liquid copper fungicide mentioned above can clear the mildew bloom.

A special kind of leaf spot Ramularia leaf spotbeats artichoke leaves. Through Ramularia cynarae, this causes circular brown lesions on both the top and bottom of the leaves and on the bracts. These brown lesions can also be the point where the white fungal spores develop. Treat this with a copper fungicide while it is still on the leaves so it doesn't get into the bracts. Cut off severely diseased material to prevent fungal spores from developing.

Crown rot is a bacterial rot (Erwinia chrysanthemi) that can be catastrophic for your plants. In the early stages, growth disorders or leaf wilting can occur. In more advanced stages, the plant can collapse completely.

The bacteria are believed to spread in two ways: by dividing diseased plants and replanting them, and by tools that are contaminated with the bacteria. In between plants, sterilize your tools with a solution of one part bleach and ten parts water and leave your tools in the solution for at least 20 to 30 seconds before rinsing them off. Unfortunately, there is no cure for bacterial crown rot. It is best to remove and destroy all diseased plants suffering from crown rot. Do not compost the plant parts when they are sick.

Artichoke dwarf virus is another difficult situation. Plants with this virus become severely stunted and can develop dark, necrotic spots on their leaves. The bracts produced by plants with this virus are deformed and inedible. Interestingly, all plants infected with this virus actually carry a second virus as well. Latent artichoke virusthat does not produce any visible symptoms in the plant.

There is no cure for the artichoke dwarf virus. Plants that contract should be removed and destroyed, not composted. It is not thought to be soil transmissible, but it is known to be transmitted when a diseased plant is divided for propagation.

frequently asked Questions

Q: Do artichokes come back every year?

A: Yes, under the right conditions. These plants can hibernate in zones 5-11 but may need some protection from the elements. Many people in colder climates plant them as annuals.

Q: How long does it take to produce an artichoke plant?

A: You can expect a harvest 85-100 days after transplanting.

Q: How many artichokes does one plant produce?

A: Each plant typically grows 5-6 artichokes.

Q: Can artichokes be grown in pots?

A: Sure! As long as the container is large enough and filled with well-drained soil, the artichoke plants should thrive.

Q: What do artichoke plants look like?

A: Simply put, the plants are large and lumpy with serrated leaves. They definitely look wild, and some varieties even have thorns.

The green fingers behind this article:
Rachel Garcia
Juicy fanatic
Lorin Nielsen
Lifelong gardener

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