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Artichoke Cynara scolymus

Growing Artichokes: Tips at a Glance

Easy-to-grow perennial vegetable globe artichoke is as pretty as it is delicious and deserves a spot in a flower border as well as in your edible garden. Give this 4-foot-tall plant plenty of room to grow.

  • Type Flowering vegetable
  • Lifespan Perennial
  • USDA Zones 6 to 11
  • Light Sun
  • Soil Sandy
  • Water 1-2 inches per week
  • Companions Alliums
  • Design Tip Flower border
  • Flowers Purple

Artichokes: A Field Guide

Edible artichokes are just as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat, and deserve a spot growing in an ornamental flower bed even if your vegetable patch isn’t  overcrowded.

A Mediterranean plant that people have eaten for thousands of years, Cynara scolymus belongs to the same family as thistles (which may not surprise you if you’ve ever seen the thistly choke at the base of an artichoke). The part we eat? That’s the immature flower, and the artichoke heart, stem, and leaves are all delicious. When you add artichokes to a menu, you’re also adding vitamin C and fiber to your diet.

Most artichokes in the US are grown in California, but you can easily grow your own as perennial plants (in USDA zone 6 or warmer) or as annuals. Artichokes like cool, moist weather, well-drained soil, and a sunny spot.

Favorite varieties to grow? Italian green globe artichokes are ubiquitous in markets (probably because they’re the prevalent variety grown in California), but you can also grow purple artichokes: ‘Violet de Provence’ and ‘Purple of Romagna’ can be started from seed in spring.

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Planting, Care & Design of Artichokes

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