- USDA hardiness zones:
While grown for its edible leaves, buds and hearts, this cool season perennial is also a beautiful addition to flower gardens both for its course foliage and lovely flower. Globe artichokes are perennial, thistle-like plants with edible flower buds. The flower buds are found at the terminal and lateral of the s... more »
While grown for its edible leaves, buds and hearts, this cool season perennial is also a beautiful addition to flower gardens both for its course foliage and lovely flower. Globe artichokes are perennial, thistle-like plants with edible flower buds. The flower buds are found at the terminal and lateral of the stem. An unopened flower bud resembles a deep green pine cone, 3-4 inches in diameter, round, but slightly elongated. Several pointed, leathery green bracts fold around a purple-blue flower. The base of each bract is the fleshy edible portion, along with the fleshy center of the artichoke on which the flower and bracts are borne. Buds that are left on the plant open to 6 inch purple-blue flowers. These are dried and used in floral arrangements. (less)
For crop uniformity Artichokes are best propagated vegetatively by root division (chunks of root with some basal stem attached), but they can be seed sown indoors 8 to 12 weeks before your last frost and then moved to a cold frame for hardening off. Seed propagated plants may have varying degrees of similarity to parent and exhibit much diversity in appearance from one another. Divisions may be planted as soon as danger of frost is over and soil temps have reached about 60F (15.5C) in rows 2.5 to 3 feet (75 - 90 cm) apart leaving 2 - 3 feet (60 - 90 cm) between plants. Flowers don't usually appear until the second year but can be encouraged by keeping starts at 35F to 50F (2C to 10C) for 10 days prior to planting. Fertilize with a low nitrogen fertilizer, high in phosphorous and potassium. In colder regions, prepare for winter by cutting back to 12 inches (30 cm), mound with leaves or mulch, cover with a box and then mound more leaves over that. Alternatively, roots can be dug up and overwintered in cold storage.
Size and growth:
- 3.0 to 6.0 feet
- 2.0 to 5.0 feet
Bloom / flowers:
Most of the U.S. crop of globe artichokes are grown in coastal California, near Watsonville.
Tight buds are boiled in salted water, without covering the pan. Stems and hearts are also edible. The active compound of artichoke, cynarin, is also available and beneficial if extracted as a tea; cynarin stimulates the liver and increases bile production. The fruit is a natural diuretic and it reduces "bad' cholestrol levels.
Frost-sensitive, these perennials are hardy only occasionally to zone 5: recent advances in breeding have resulted in development of several annual artichokes can be grown by northern gardeners and which produce in Year 1