Home Gardening How to Grow Artichoke Plants

How to Grow Artichoke Plants – GIY Plants

How to grow artichoke plants. Artichoke plants growing in garden outside.

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is an intriguing plant known for its edible flower buds. Offering a unique taste and texture, these buds, commonly called artichoke hearts, add a delightful flavor to your dishes. This perennial vegetable, characterized by its bold silver-green foliage, adds aesthetic appeal and culinary utility to your garden.

Artichoke Origin

Artichokes originate from the Mediterranean regions, particularly Southern Europe and North Africa. Historically, the ancient Greeks and Romans held the artichoke in high esteem for its culinary and medicinal qualities. “artichoke” is derived from the Italian word “articiocco,” reflecting its importance in Italian cuisine.

Size and Appearance

Artichoke plants grow quite large, reaching 3 to 5 feet in height and spread. Hence they require plenty of space to grow as large as possible. Its leaves are deeply lobed with a silver-gray hue, presenting an arching, fountain-like appearance. The plant produces buds per plant, which are harvested and consumed as a vegetable.

Artichoke Plant Care

Artichoke plant care when growing in garden.


Artichokes thrive in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Enrich your soil with compost to provide adequate nutrition for these heavy feeders. A slightly alkaline pH range of 6.5 to 8.0 is most conducive for growing plants.


Artichokes require regular watering, particularly during the growing season. While the plants tolerate some drought, insufficient water can impact bud formation. Check soil moisture by feeling a few inches down. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.


Artichokes do well in full sun, receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. This ensures healthy growth and maximizes bud production.

Humidity & Temperature

With roots in the Mediterranean, artichokes enjoy mild winters and cool, foggy summers. They grow best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 10. Ideal temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.


A balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 NPK ratio, works well for artichokes. Apply it around each plant in late winter or early spring to support vigorous growth throughout the growing season.


Artichokes can be grown from seeds or vegetative means. For the latter, divide established plants in late winter or early spring. Each new artichoke plant should have at least one developing shoot and a portion of the root system.

For propagation from seeds, sow artichoke seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Plant artichoke seedlings outdoors after the risk of frost is over.

Diseases and Pests

Artichokes may encounter certain plant diseases and pests. These include artichoke plume moths, aphids, and slugs. Root rots and fungal leaf diseases can also occur, especially in poorly drained soil.

Regular monitoring, handpicking pests, using organic insecticides, and ensuring good soil conditions can help manage these issues.

Flowering Artichoke

Artichoke plants produce large, round buds with overlapping, tough green petals. If left unharvested, these buds bloom into striking purple flowers, adding ornamental value to your garden.

Harvesting Artichokes

Three artichokes that have been harvested with white background.

Artichokes are ripe for harvest when buds are firm and unopened, typically in spring. The size doesn’t indicate maturity; focus on the bud’s leaf tightness. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem about 1-2 inches below the bud. Harvesting this way encourages more buds per plant.

Store fresh artichokes in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Post-harvest, trim plants back to 6 inches in late fall to foster a more bountiful yield next season.

Artichoke Growth Stages

Seed Stage

Artichokes can grow from seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost. At this stage, use a pot and plant seeds 0.25 inches deep.

Seedling Stage

Artichoke seedlings emerge 8-14 days post-seeding. Grow them indoors under bright light until the frost risk passes.


Plant seedlings outdoors after the last frost. Ensure plants are spaced 3 to 5 feet apart to accommodate their large size.

Vegetative Growth

This stage sees plants grow large and leafy. Regular watering and fertilizing ensure optimal growth.

Bud Formation

Buds form at the plant’s center. This critical stage requires ample watering and nutrients to ensure sizeable, firm buds.

Harvest Stage

Harvest buds when firm and leaves are tight. Harvesting at this stage maximizes the bud’s edible portion.


After the harvest, cut back plants to 6 inches to encourage more growth in the next season. Artichoke plants can produce for many years if cared for properly.

Artichoke Varieties

Green Globe

This is the most commonly grown artichoke, known for its large, round buds. It is hardy and productive, suitable for zones 6 and above.

Imperial Star

This variety is designed for annual production. It offers quicker bud formation, suitable for colder climates where artichokes are grown annually.


This variety originates from Italy and is known for its purple, elongated buds. It’s smaller than Green Globe but has a distinct flavor.

Big Heart

This variety is thornless and heat-tolerant. Ideal for warmer climates, it produces large, meaty buds.

Each variety has its unique features and growing needs. Choose one that best suits your garden’s conditions and your culinary preferences.

Artichoke Companion Plants

Artichoke growing in garden with companion plants.

Companion planting can enhance artichoke growth, deter pests, and utilize garden space efficiently. Here are a few companion plants for artichokes:


These tall, sturdy plants provide some needed shade to artichokes in hot climates.


When planted around each artichoke, this herb can deter pests and enhance growth.


Cilantro is beneficial in attracting beneficial insects, aiding in natural pest control.


Given their similar growing conditions and water requirements, cabbages can share space with artichokes.


Corn and artichokes can be grown together, as the tall corn plants provide some shade, helping artichokes tolerate heat.

Choosing suitable companion plants can make your artichoke growing experience more productive and enjoyable. Remember, it’s crucial to consider each plant’s needs and ensure they’re compatible for successful cohabitation.

Comparison with Similar Plants

Artichokes are part of the Asteraceae family, similar to sunflowers and daisies. Unlike these relatives, the artichoke is appreciated for its edible buds rather than its flowers. Another unique feature is its perennial growth, allowing it to produce harvests for up to 5 years, given optimal growing conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many artichokes per plant?

A mature artichoke plant can produce around 12 to 15 buds per plant each season. The number of buds varies based on factors like the variety of the artichoke, growing conditions, and how well the plant is maintained.

Do artichokes come back the next year?

Yes, artichokes are perennials, meaning they grow back each year. When you plant and grow artichokes, you can expect them to produce fresh artichokes for up to five years or even longer, given the right care and conditions.

How long does it take for an artichoke to grow?

From seed, artichokes typically take about 100 to 150 days to reach maturity and produce their first artichoke bud. The process can be quicker if grown from established artichoke seedlings, with artichokes ready for harvest in as little as 60 days.

Can artichokes grow in pots?

Artichokes can be grown in pots, although it’s essential to choose a pot large enough to accommodate their size. A large pot, at least 24 inches in diameter and depth, would be suitable. The potted artichoke can then be placed in a sunny spot, providing the same growing conditions as garden-grown plants.


Learning how to grow artichokes provides a rewarding experience, both in terms of garden aesthetics and culinary benefits. With these comprehensive guidelines, you can easily grow artichokes in your garden and enjoy fresh artichokes straight from your vegetable garden.

Their unique features and intriguing historical background make them a worthwhile addition to any garden space. Despite their large size and specific care requirements, artichokes are relatively easy to grow and yield a substantial harvest for many years.

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