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Globe artichoke    

Cynara scolymus

Globe artichoke is a plant which belongs to the Cynara genus.

A perennial species of thistle that produces edible flower buds with thick, fleshy scales1. The leaves are large, blueish-grey green1. The edible portions of the buds consist primarily of the fleshy lower portions and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the “choke” or beard. These are inedible in older, larger flowers1. Artichokes are very high in antioxidants. It is native to the Mediterranean area1 3. They thrive in humid, sub-topical areas (zones 10/11) with mild winters and cool, foggy summers (~24dC days, 13dC nights), where they may perform for up to 5 years. In cool areas, such as zones 8 and 9, they may survive overwintering. In colder areas, you may have to treat it as an annual2.

The plant adds an interesting structural element to the garden, and the purple flowers can be quite ornamental if left to bloom rather than harvesting.

Not to be confused with the Jerusalem artichoke, which is an edible root vegetable3.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Blue-violet. When mature, blooms are roughly 12.0 cm (that's 4.68 inches in imperial) in diameter. The mature flowers are of a brush & thistle form. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Crayola green. Leaves appear approximately as a   Dark sea green

Globe artichoke grows as an annual/perennial and is a flowering edible vegetable / ornamental. Being an annual / perennial plant, it tends to grow either as a single season plant, or a plant that can stay in your garden for many years.

Globe artichoke is known for its bush-like habit and growing to a height of approximately 1.50 metres (4.88 feet). This plant tends to bloom in early summer, followed by first harvests in mid summer.

Try planting Globe artichoke if you'd like to attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

Popular varieties of Globe artichoke with home gardeners are Green Globe, Imperial Star, Purple of Romagna, Violetto and Emerald.

Globe artichoke is normally fairly low maintenance and is normally quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Globe artichoke have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Globe artichoke

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

Required fertile soil, well manured in the autumn before planting out. Working compost into the soil helps retain moisture. Fertilise with a liquid fertiliser monthly, once the plants are established2. Apply a liquid high-potassium fertilizer (potash) every 2 weeks during periods of active growth to encourage flower buds to form2. They like light, fertile, well-drained soil (sandy-loam). Keep moist (but not wet) throughout the growing season2. Mulch thickly, but as buds begin to form, replace the mulch with a thick (4 inch/10cm) layer of compost, extending 12 inches (30cm) out from the base2.

In cool coastal areas, budding periods may be extended3. They can withstand temperatures in excess of 30dC but choke quality is adversely affected3.

They can develop deep (up to 120cm) root systems. They tolerate a variety of soil conditions, but produce best on deep, fertile, well-drained soils3. Lighter soils that have excessive drainage and poor moisture-holding potential should be avoided.

Artichokes are moderately salt tolerant3. Manure or compost should be worked into the top 25 cm of soil before planting, along with some dolomite lime, dried, ground eggshells, or ground oyster shells for supplemental calcium3. Artichokes can handle alkaline soil conditions better than most garden vegetables.

Artichokes may be bothered by slugs, snails, aphids, artichoke plume moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla_), weevils, caterpillars, proba bug (Proba californica_), two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae_), chrysanthemum leafminer (Phytomyza syngenesiae_), field mice, gophers, powdery mildew (Leveillula taurica_), ramularia leaf spot (Ramularia cynarae_), verticilium wilt (Verticillium dahlia), botrytis rot (Botrytis cinerea), bacterial crown rot (Erwinia chrysanthemi) and black tip3.

Plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to water moderately. Zone 7 to 10 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Ensure your soil is loamy and sandy and has a ph of between 6.5 and 7.0 as Globe artichoke is a weakly acidic soil - neutral soil loving plant. Keep in mind when planting that Globe artichoke is thought of as half hardy, so remember to protect this plant from frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Globe artichoke to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Globe artichoke from seed

Sow in pots in early spring and cover lightly with vermiculite, place under protection at 15C germination take up to 10 days with this method.
Sow in open ground when soil temperature does not fall below 7C at night. Germination take up to three weeks with this method

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 1.95 feet (60.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.2 inches (0.5 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 18°C / 64°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Globe artichoke about 48 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Globe artichoke

Plant out after all threat of frost has passed

New plants can be made by removing offsets in the spring as the plant begins into growth. Pull the shoot away from the parent plant with some of the stem/root tissue. Pot up and place in a cold frame or sheltered position until rooted well. Plant out when strong roots are seen at the bottom of the pot

Ensure that temperatures are mild (minimum night temperatures should be around 7°C / 45°F) and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Globe artichoke is a half hardy plant.

Harvesting Globe artichoke

Harvest before the bracts begin to spread open or before the internal pappas (fibrous central part of the bud) grows up above the top edges of the cup-shaped receptacle.3 Harvest buds while they’re tight and firm and hopefully at least 3 inches in diameter; if buds begin to open, they lose their tenderness. Fully open buds are inedible but produce striking, large, lavender flowers2. Cut a 1- to 3-inch section of stem with each bud to make it easier to handle. When you have harvested all buds on a stem, cut the stem to the ground. For large, established plants, prune the entire plant back by a third to spur a fall harvest.

Harvesting actually depends a lot on the cycle of pruning. For autumn/winter/spring harvests, plants are cut back from mid-autumn to early-winter3. For summer harvests, plants are cut back in late winter/early spring3.

The terminal or primary bud is harvested first and is the largest in size. Secondary and tertiary buds are harvested as they reach maximum size, but won’t grow as large as the top bud3.

The bracts of some seeded artichoke varieties do not spread open with increasing maturity as readily as do those of the perennial Green Globe. This makes it more difficult to know when to harvest a particular bud. Subtle differences in the colour and appearance of the buds as they mature are the only outward clues as to when to harvest3. Overmature buds have an internal pappas, turn purple inside, become bitter and woody and have less fleshy tissue that is edible. Cutting a few buds in half, from the stem to the tip of the bud, to observe the level of maturity in relation to the bud’s external colour and appearance can help a grower decide when to harvest.3

Seed Saving Globe artichoke

Seed viability is ~3 years

How long does Globe artichoke take to grow?

These estimates for how long Globe artichoke takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Globe artichoke to germinate?
21 days

Average 21 days | Min 4 days | Max 22 days (51)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Globe artichoke?
+ 32 days

Average 32 days | Min 15 days | Max 51 days (11)

Days to Maturity How long until Globe artichoke is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 78 days

Average 78 days | Min 45 days | Max 293 days (2)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Globe artichoke?
= 131 days

When should I plant Globe artichoke?

Our when to plant Globe artichoke estimates are relative to your last frost date.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

When to sow The number of days to sow Globe artichoke before or after your last frost date.
48 days before Last Frost Date

Globe artichoke Folklore & Trivia

Cynarin, the main constituent, is thought to be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels by stimulating bile and fat-digesting enzymes3. The plant contains significant levels of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fibre3.
Artichoke is also a diuretic

Other names for Globe artichoke

Artichoke, Heartichoke, green artichoke

Cynara scolymus L., Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus

Latest Globe artichoke Reviews

  • I pulled the artichoke today. It did well in the bed along the north wall and it would probably come back in the spring, but I wanted to change the layout of that space and it no longer fit into my plans. Even though it produced a couple edible portions

    3 stars

    sparkynm about growing Globe artichoke 'Green Globe'
  • It’s getting big!

    0 stars

    CasandraAnn about growing Globe artichoke 'Green Globe'
  • It’s finally getting to a size where it will make heads. Starting from seed takes a lot of patience!

    5 stars

    funkisockmunki about growing Artichoke

See all Globe artichoke reviews and experiences »


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