Growing Artichokes

artichoke plant buds in garden landscape

Artichoke plants produce one large bud on a stalk and several smaller buds below it.

Globe artichoke is an heirloom vegetable grown for its tender, edible flower buds. With their large, silvery-green leaves and thick stems topped with pinecone-like flower buds, artichoke plants add a strong architectural element to vegetable garden plantings.

Thomas Jefferson reportedly raised artichokes at Monticello, his Virginia home, as early as 1767. Today the majority of commercial artichoke production is along coastal sections of Central California, where the weather suits them perfectly.

Here are some things you need to know about growing artichokes. Artichoke plants thrive best where mild winters and cool, foggy summers prevail. In such growing conditions, they are perennials, yielding harvests for up to 5 years. Where winters dish up only a few frosty nights, plants will sometimes overwinter when pruned and mulched (zones 8 and 9). In colder regions, you have to treat artichokes as annuals planted in spring. They are best planted in fall in the humid, subtropical, frost-free areas of zones 10 and 11.

Soil, Planting, and Care

In zones where artichokes are perennial, select your site considering that plants will be in place for up to 5 years. Give plants room to spread, since mature plants can reach 3 to 4 feet tall and up to 4 feet wide. Artichokes thrive in full sun to partial shade. They also need light, fertile, well-drained soil—sandy or loam is ideal. Prepare the soil by working 5 inches of compost into a trench 8 inches deep and equally wide. Two reasons artichoke plants fail are summer drought and winter soil that’s waterlogged. Adding compost improves soil’s ability to retain water in summer and drain in winter.

Plant artichoke seedlings atop the amended soil, spacing plants 4 feet apart. In zones 6 and colder, you can plant artichokes more closely, 2 to 3 feet apart, because frost will prevent the plant from reaching its mature, established size.

After artichokes are established and unfurling new growth, fertilize plants once a month with a liquid fertilizer such as Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food. Keep soil moist throughout the growing season. You can apply a liquid high-potassium fertilizer (often called a potash fertilizer) every 2 weeks during periods of active growth to encourage flower buds to form.

Keep weeds out of artichoke beds. Give plants a thick mulch, especially in northern growing areas. Mulch with an organic material, such as dry grass clippings, straw, aged manure, or a mixture of these. As buds begin to form, remove mulch, and apply a 4-inch-thick layer of compost around each plant, extending from the base of the plant outward 12 inches.

Troubleshooting

Artichoke has few problems. Slugs may attack young foliage, and botrytis blight can coat older leaves. Beat slugs with slug bait or slug traps. If only a few leaves are infected by botrytris blight, remove and destroy them. Treat the plant with a fungicide such as neem oil.

Harvest and Storage

Artichoke buds that are opening on the plant will not be as tender as artichokes harvested when the bud is tight.

The large buds on this artichoke plant are beginning to open and should have been harvested sooner for better flavor and tenderness. If buds are left to open on the plant, they can’t be eaten but they do make beautiful flowers in the garden.

Flower buds form in early summer atop tall stems that soar out of the center of the plant. Each stem forms several flower buds, with the top bud ripening first. 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 flowers. Cut a 1- to 3-inch section of stem with each bud to make it easier to handle. The lower buds that develop later won’t grow as large as the top bud. 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.

Artichokes keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Uses

artichoke plant blooms with purple flowers in landscape garden bed beside house

These artichokes are left to bloom for ornament. This is especially useful in areas where they are perennial.

Because harvest increases with plant age, it’s best to try to overwinter artichoke plants. Some gardeners have reported success at overwintering plants as far north as Zone 5 using the techniques described below for zones 6 and 7.

For zones 8 and warmer: Following fall harvest, cut plants back to ground level or slightly below ground level. Cover with 3 to 4 inches of an organic mulch such as straw or shredded leaves.

For zones 6 and 7: Cut plants back to roughly 12 inches tall. Mound organic mulch over the plants, then cover plants and mulch with an inverted bushel basket. Feel free to use compost as this first mulch layer. Add a layer of mulch (straw is great at this point) over and around the bushel basket. Drape a rainproof cover over the mound, taking care to anchor the edges.

In spring, after the ground is no longer frozen and before growth begins, remove the winter covering. When new growth begins, fertilize plants again with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food and add a 1-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure around the plant.

FAQs

How do I water artichokes?

Artichokes need watering about once a week, but that can vary. If your soil is heavy and holds moisture well, water less often. For hot regions, water more frequently. Don’t allow artichokes to stand in water; plants won’t survive. Too little water results in loose buds with poor taste.

Should I remove the shoots that have appeared at the base of my artichoke plants?

If you garden in Zones 4 to 6, where artichokes are treated as annuals, remove suckers as soon as they appear, snapping or clipping them from plants. In warmer regions, where artichokes are perennials, if you allow stems to develop, you’ll have a few transplants you can use to enlarge your artichoke patch or share with friends. In this case, remove only the weakest shoots, permitting heartier ones to grow. If you don’t want transplants, remove all the shoots.

How do I know when to harvest artichokes?

As soon as flower buds begin to form, check plants daily. You want to pick buds just before the petals begin to open. If you wait too long, the buds become fibrous and stringy – impossible to eat. If your plants have experienced ideal conditions, buds may be as large as 3 inches across. The center bud ripens first. Once you harvest that, check plants daily as the side shoots develop. Side shoot buds don’t grow as large as the center bud. Remember to cut buds with 1 to 2 inches of stem below the base. Handle buds carefully; they bruise easily.

Can I do anything to improve my artichoke harvest?

The area in California where artichokes grow best experiences those famous fogs that roll in off the ocean. You can mimic those growing conditions in two ways. First, plant artichokes where they’ll receive some afternoon shade. It also helps to mulch roots as summer temperatures soar. Aim for a 4-inch-thick layer of mulch. Second, install an auto mister programmed to create a fog around plants in early morning. It’s wise to give plants as ideal growing conditions as possible. Artichokes raised in hot, dry conditions mature buds so quickly that they easily become over-ripe and tough.

118 Comments

Jessica

My artichoke plant is in it’s second season and both years the artichokes never get all the way green. The leaves are purple half way down. They are Golden Globes that I grew from seed. They are small and when I cook them they are tough. I live in Portland, OR so they are getting plenty of water. They are in a location that gets lots of sun when we have it.
Any suggestions?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Jessica,
A lot of artichoke varieties are not entirely green, but have a purplish caste or base to them. There are heirloom varieties that are entirely purple :) To grow the best artichokes requires giving the plants the most ideal conditions – a nice, fertile, loamy soil; a weed free bed; sun; and fertilizer to keep them going throughout the season! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

ruth roberts

I live in the Estancia Valley, Near Moriarty, Nm. I have been growing artichokes for 5 years and I have had good luck until last year. Last year I bought 10, 6 inch seedlings . I planed 6 and gave the others to two friends. The plants were beautiful, bu I didn’t get once single choke. Neither did my friends. I just let them die on the vine so to speak. Since we have many winter nights in the single digits and lower, I treat my artichokes as annuals, replanting every year. Yesterday I noticed a some growth on the old plant. How should I coax them back to life. or will they never produce, if they didn’t the first year.
Thanks you
Ruth

Danielle Carroll

Hello Ruth,
How awesome! Treat your artichokes as if you had just planted them. Be sure and fertilize according to your garden soil test or apply a liquid fertilizer monthly. Potassium fertilizers will help with flower bud formation. Keep the weeds away so they will not compete with the artichokes for water and nutrients. Dry spells put a damper on artichoke production so be sure and water if the weather turns dry. Keep us up date. Would love to see some pictures of your artichokes on the Bonnie Plants facebook page. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

russ marsh

I am really enjoying growing artichose. I need details on when to harvest. My firast ones seem to grow in clusters, the first one being larger. Should I go ahead and pick it and wait for the others to catch up wrt sizet?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Russ,
You should go ahead and harvest it – the first bud will be the largest. If you wait on the others, the top artichoke may begin to open, and you will want to harvest and eat it before then. Take a look at the harvest and storage tab on this page for more harvesting tips. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Orry

Would I have any luck with them in New York…we live near the Rochester aerea….saw your plants at Home Depot but was concerned with our weather conditions…Thank you

dan

i have had a artichoke plant going on year 5 in antelope valley ca. how do i keep them from flowering to get big enough to eat

Danielle Carroll

Hi Dan,
Offer the artichokes some afternoon shade in the hot, dry regions. Mulch roots well as summer temperatures soar. Some home gardeners go to the gardening extreme and install auto misters to create a fog around plants in early morning – mimicking the California region where they grow best. I have artichoke plants in my Southern garden, but ideal conditions do not exist, but the flowers are beautiful. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

A

Hello
I was wondering how much sun an artichoke plant would need in the East bay region of California (by San Francisco).
Thanks!

Danielle Carroll

Hello,
Wow – that’s a great region for growing artichokes. Artichokes will thrive in full sun in the cool, coastal areas. When growin in areas with hot, dry summers – afternoon shade helps! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

greg

I’d like to know if why my artichokes are not getting very big?? this is the second season for these plants but they are opening too son and not growing very large..
Will they get larger in the fall or is there anything that I can do.??? Greg

Danielle Carroll

Hello Greg,
I am not sure what area you are gardening in but artichoke plants thrive best where mild winters and cool, foggy summers prevail. In areas with drier, warmer conditions, artichokes will not get grow as large as artichokes grown in the cool, foggy areas. Moist (sandy, loamy) soils, enriched with organic matter are ideal for best prodcution. Some gardeners install mist systems to mimic the weather where artichokes grow best. There are more tips on the FAQ tab under the growing artichokes article. My weather is such tht artichokes are often very small (and tough), but I do enjoy letting them flower – an awesome attraction to the garden. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Dale Johnson

I live in Clinton Mississippi and bought one of your artichoke plants last spring. I got it through our hot summer and it grew like crazy all winter. I have harvested 5 chokes and count 14 more. Its about 5 feet tall and looks great. I want more but can’t find them anywhere and I have looked! I have read about cutting it back in the winter but mine thrived through the winter. To cut the stalks, do you just reach as deeply into the plant and cut? There is no local help on the topic of artichokes.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Dale,
You can cut the plants back to soil level after they have been harvested. You will see new shoots grow start to grow. These shoots will overwinter, but if the temperatures starts dipping below 25 degrees F, you may want to grab them a blanket! You can also try for a fall harvest by cutting the plant back 1/3, but summer heat in the South usually does not allow the a second harvest. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Jan Stephens

I live in Phoenix Arizona and my artichoke plant is now in its second year. It started producing in its first year and we have had about 16 artichokes so fall this year. At the end of the growing season, which will be possibly in July (judging from last year) should I prune my plant or let it just die back? If yes to pruning, how far back?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Jan,
After harvest pruning of artichokes is detailed here on the harvest and storage tab. Sounds like your artichokes are producing well for you! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Jerry

Just bought 3 of your large peat pot artichokes from el WalMarto. I live in Alabama zone 7b. I have learned by experience that when growers say “Full Sun” on the plant tag, they don’t mean a Full Alabama Sun on a summer day. TOOOOO HOOOT!!
Would about 4 hrs of AM sun, A couple of mid-day sun/shade hrs, ended by about 7-8 hrs of deep shade be ok for these plants? IF no, please give suggestions.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Jerry,
I agree that partial afternoon shade is needed for some veggies! Deep shade may not be the best, but sometimes we do not have a choice! Let us know how everything goes. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

Dennis Gerber

Can I grow artichokes in Florida, in containers. I have had a lot of success with the various Bonnie Plants I have purchased. Wal-Mart rarely has anyone that really knows anything much about the plant – but your website is extremely useful. Also only carries traditional types – tomatoes, peppers, eggplants – nothing to exotic, but they keep the plants in good shape and it makes transplanting very easy with the containers that come from Bonnie Plants.
I live in St. Augustine Fl, and I know our summer nights are a little warm for Artichokes – but I get a very good ocean breeze at nights. My planting site only gets about three hours of direct sunlight, it is bright and airy the rest of the time.
As asked, can I grow artichokes in containers (outdoors) in this environment – and does Bonnie Plants have a variety of artichoke you grow for transplanting – and of course, is there a store that carries them in this area at all?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Dennis,
Wonderful to hear about your gardening success!
This is everything you wanted to know about growing artichokes in Florida. Hot weather in southern Florida causes the buds to toughen and open quikly. Some home gardeners still plant them, in very early Spring. The weather is getting too warm to plant now. I hope this helps! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Kim Tidwell

Once the artichoke is ready to be picked, how do you make sure all the little critters are out of the food, before you cook it.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kim
Use cold water when washing the artichoke. Gently rinse in between the leaves and give the artichoke a good shake. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Nancy,
How old and how tall are the plants? If they are falling over because they are crowded and being ‘pushed’ around, you can try staking the plants. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Cathy Boudreau

I, too love your site as well as your plants !!!
Ok, to my question, my daughter brought home two of your peat pots of artichokes, not really sure where or how to plant them. I live in zone 6 (north west Rhode Island) – will it survive outdoors throughout the winter or do I bring it in. Is there anything special I need to do to care for it and can I expect to actually harvest?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Cathy,
Artichokes overwinter in zones 7 – 9 when mulched properly. In your gardening zone, it is grown as an annual. To care for them, start with a good soil and follow up with fertilizer. Remember to water too – one of the reasons artichokes fail is summer droughts! The care tips are outlined here under the soil, planting, and care tab. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

josh

Hello! Thanks for the awesome info and all of the great help that you provide to everyone.

I too have some questions like many, many others. I live in Modesto CA which is the Central Valley and our summers are pretty gnarly. Our summer temps get as high as 115+ our winters come with a hand full of freezing nights. I have 6 globe plants and they’re about 8 months old and over this past winter I let Them grow and during our freezing days I protected them with a frost blanket, its now April and they are all producing except 1 plant. I was wondering what’s the best thing to fertilize them with? Once a week I’ve been using miracle gro to fertilize them. What else could I use to give them more nutrients? I also would like to know about mulching to help keep the soil moist because my soil isn’t very “loose” it becomes pretty hard once water settles in it. And I notice it seems to dry up pretty quickly so I was wondering how you mulch your plants? I have steer manure and grass clippings. Do I just mix it and toss it around my plants? And if yes, how close to I get to the plant its self? Do I go all the way to the “stim” of the choke plant? Oh and what do you use to stop pests? I’m noticing quite a bit of ants and snails and these little black bugs with little spots of white on their backs. Thank you for all of your help.

-Josh

Danielle Carroll

Hello Josh,
Mulches are a necessity in the veggie garden – weed control, soil moisture, and for soil temperatures. Manures and grass clippings make good mulches, but they should be composted first. Mulches are usually a couple of inches thick and placed around and up to the vegetables. These are fertilizer and pest recommendations from your home state of California extension. Hope this helps – sounds like you are really enjoying gardening! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

sandy

i planted an artichoke plant last year and it just started producing artichokes. I started with one plant and it divided into 4 seperate stalks. i used the bonnie fertilizer in the green container year round so don’t lose hope it will eventually grow as i live in stockton,ca

Gerry

Hi I live in middle Georgia. My yard is part sun and shade. One area gets more sun after 3:00 till about 7 or so. I have areas with full sun,,filtered sun,,filtered morning sun and afternoon /evening sun plenty of humidity as well as heat! Where in the world should I plant my artichoke?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Gerry,
In the hot regions, artichoke will grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Do you have a spot like that? – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Julie P.

Thank you for all the great information! I have a number of friends up North of Seattle who have been growing these for a while now so I am going to try :) I have a question about complimentary plants. Do you have any suggestions for other veggies/fruits that would help these grow — or more importantly that wouldn’t hinder their growth?
Thanks!

Danielle Carroll

Hello Julie,
To help artichoke growth, give plants a thick mulch, especially in northern growing areas. Mulch with an organic material, such as dry grass clippings, straw, aged manure, or a mixture of these. Artichoke plants get huge. I would plant some of the more shallow rooted veggies like lettuce near the artichokes. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Bette Rothermel

I live in Bosque County Texas, south of Dallas and North of Waco. I planted my first Artichoke last fall on top of a mound of organic mushroom dirt almond with a fe little Johnny Jump ups andbCorriander,herbs ect. I measured my artichoke this morning and it is over 6 feet wide and over 6 feet long. I guess it is will be Ma or June before I will see fruit set but boy am I surprised how large it got. Guess it likes mushroom dirt.

Janet Robinson

Hello,

I live in Central CA, not near the coast, though. I bought an artichoke plant about a month ago from a national store. Unfortunately, I decided (in my haste to harvest instead of reading up on all my plants) to plant my artichoke plant in an 8X4 raised planter bed. I tried to give it room, but the plant is getting big and I’m concerned I won’t get anything at all. The summers here get up to 100+ degrees and the plant is in full afternoon sun. Are there any suggestions to help my plant produce? It’s still early enough (I hope) to transplant it to another area in my yard that at least gets afternoon shade.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Janet,

Artichokes grown in climates with hot, dry summers will benefit from afternoon shade. If planted in full sun, it doesn’t mean you will not get a crop. Since the artichoke plant is already growing and seems to have transplanted well for you, you may try a shade cloth to prevent transplanting again. If you feel that you need to transplant the artichoke…get as many of the roots with the plant as you can when you do, and expect the plant to droop for a a few days. I am not sure what your weather is like now, but it is harder to transplant actively growing plants. Here are other helpful hints from the FAQ above: It also helps to mulch roots as summer temperatures soar. Aim for a 4-inch-thick layer of mulch. Second, install an auto mister programmed to create a fog around plants in early morning. It’s wise to give plants as ideal growing conditions as possible. Artichokes raised in hot, dry conditions mature buds so quickly that they easily become over-ripe and tough.
Good Luck,
Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Ida Simmons

I live in SE North Carolina, in area 8, I just purchased my artichoke plants from Wal-Mart, it is April and frost is now past, I have part shade areas that I can plan them in, can I keep the Plants mulched with Pine needles, my soil in sandy loam?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Ida,
Pine needles make a great organic mulch. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Marcia

I am in Phoenix Arizona. My Artichoke plant is about 3 years old and has been producing the last two years. This year for the first time, it seems to be weeping a lot of “oil” on the leaves and down on the ground below. Is this normal, or do I need to treat it. It has many leaves and looks otherwise healthy.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Marcia,
I’m not sure what you mean by weeping oil. Have you checked the plant out for insects that may be excreting the plant juices they ingest?
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Alisa

Love this site, although my artichokes should not be growing and producing according to our weather. Over 125 in the summer here. I was actually surprised to see last year’s and my first plant starting to grow again in the bed. I haven’t watered it all winter because I had no idea that I had plants still in the garden. I picked up a shade cloth that had blown over the bed,,,and there it was . I guess neglect is working for them.

My question is how big should I expect them to get?After reading postings, I feel very lucky that I had several harvestings last spring/early summer but they were no way as close to being as big as the ones that you see in the store.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Alisa,
You are right…sometimes we love our plants too much:) I think in your weather, you can reasonably expect them to get about 1/4 – 1/3 the size they normally would. The artichokes bought in the store are shipped from commercial places that have ideal weather conditions for growing artichoke. My broccoli is never as big as the broccoli heads in the grocery store, but they sure are tasty. Way to grow!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

noura slvis

Hi, I live in southern Oregon & just moved & am trying g to take my artichoke plants from my raised bed to the house we bought. I removed as much of the roots with each of the 4 plants as I could fit I to the 18″ pots & packed the rich soil from the beds and now its been 2 days and they do not look happy at all. I need to know how I should prepare the ground for them to be put in & how long I should wait. I read on another site to keep them out of direct sunlight for a week or so while they adjust to the new area. They are sitting under my carport at the moment. I might add that they are rather large already 2-3 feet across tip to tip and have only been watered by mother nature so far this year. They are very droopy and sad looking. Should I give them sun, water, or anything else? Thanks in advance.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Noura,
Congratulations on the move. At this point, I wouldn’t fertilize the artichokes. They are drooping because part of the roots were cut away and damaged. I know why you wanted to take them with you though, artichokes are fun to grow. Not sure how long you have had the plants, but they usually are replanted or divided after 4 or 5 years. From the above article, “they also need light, fertile, well-drained soil—sandy or loam is ideal. Prepare the soil by working 5 inches of compost into a trench 8 inches deep and equally wide. ” This is also an article from Oregon State Universty on growing artichokes in your area. How cold is the weather there now? Sometimes artichokes do not make it through the winter when they are not mulched well. Make sure the roots are not exposed to the freezing temperatures. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Jennifer

Hello,
I live in zone 14 in the SF Bay area. I have an artichoke plant in a 3 inch pot at the nursery. Where shall I plant in my yard? Just wondering about the heat of the summer and how much sun is needed?
Thanks!

Mary Beth

Hi Jennifer,
You are in the artichoke area of the U.S.! Many are commercially grown in your region, as the climate is perfect for it. Choose a full-sun spot in your yard, or one with light afternoon shade. Make sure you read the page in its entirety, including the Troubleshooting and Harvesting tabs. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Helmuth R. Sens

Hi ! We are expats in Portugal and came across your Website.Well put together !!! Read most of your recomendations. Except that I could not find any info, if artichokes have a limited producing period or not. Did I overlook something ?? They should be doing well here in Portugal. At this time of the year, they look leafy and healthy. But no indications yet if we are going to get any fruits. As a side comment, Avocados are doing well here. Had a decent very good crop on 2 trees, about 2-1/2 years old. We wish you a good 2013.

Mary Beth

Hi Helmuth,
Thank you for your kind comments on the site. Sounds like you have quite the garden in Portugal. We do have a tab in this article marked “Harvesting and Storage” that details when artichokes will produce and how to harvest them, as well as the “baby” chokes along the stem. Be sure to click that. Also, the variety we grow will mature to produce artichokes in 120 days, if that gives you a better indication. Hope that helps. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

John Cifone

I am in central Fl Jan to May & in Nov. Want to plant artichoke plants. Can you give me any tips as time to plant, when harvest, where to buy plants?

Thanks
John

Mary Beth

Hi John,
It sounds like your timing there may be just right for enjoying potential harvest. After May, Florida is just too hot for the plants that thrive in 60-70 degree temps. A fellow gardener wrote this blog post after trial and error in growing artichokes in Niceville. You can locate what local stores in your ZIP code will be carrying Bonnie Plants using this link. Ask the local garden center manager when they will receive inventory for what you’re seeking, as it changes week to week in season. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Lila

Hi,

I love your site! I often end up here when Googling tips for growing different veggies. Thanks for all the free info!

I live in Hawaii, and am wondering how artichokes would do here. I haven’t seen other people growing them. Daytime temperatures are usually between 70 and 85 degrees, (low 70s in winter, mid to high 80s in summer), but it is quite humid. Nightime temps are usually only 5, possibly 10 degrees cooler. What do you think? Should I give it a shot?

Mary Beth

Hi Lila,
Thank you! We love that you love our site. Please come back again and again. Join our Facebook community too, where we share photos, recipes, and gardening tips and have a lot of fun. Reading your message, I at first must caution you that artichokes may not be successful where you are. They do need a cooler period in which they can be dormant. From vacationing in Hawaii, I know all too well how drastic climate changes are if you simply climb up in altitude to chillier, foggier areas. Now *there* may be your ticket. If you are in upper elevation of Hawaii, this encouragement from a fellow gardener may help. By the sound of your current weather, though, it sounds warmer year-round. Of course, there is no harm in trying and you just might find success in planting in afternoon shade and a happy microclimate. Keep us posted if you try. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Tom

Aloha,
Saw your question, I live above Hilo and have had success growing artichokes. Before I built small green house I had them in outdoor garden area. They grew very well and for two years gave me the best artichokes I have ever eaten, however small red worms and snails eventually ate thru the stalk no matter what I did. Now I have them in greenhouse in very large pots, growing good but no fruit yet after second year.
But I would give it a try here in Hawaii, I sprouted mine from seed.

Mary Beth

Hi Firomsa, Our instructions in this article show you spacing for planting our established artichoke seedlings. Be sure to read the main article and the tabs on Troubleshooting and Harvesting for a step-by-step guide. If you need information on how to start artichokes from seed, this Extension document can help. Note that it’s from Oregon, so consult your local Extension office for any regional advice, though 99% of this article will be helpful to all growers. You will need to start seeds very early indoors, such as February, to have small seedlings that can get a healthy headstart at the right time. Or, look for Bonnie Plants next Spring. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mary Beth

Hi Raymond,
Most resources will tell you that artichokes can be attempted everywhere except the hottest regions of Florida. In order to form buds, new artichoke plants require “vernalization” or “chilling.” This occurs just after planting, with seedling exposure to cool temperatures (eight to ten days or 190 to 240 hours of 50ºF or less) required for plants to initiate buds. Hot summer temperatures may reverse accumulated chilling hours, resulting in fewer plants producing buds. For Zones 10 – 11, it’s recommended to plant artichokes in the fall and treat them as an annual. I don’t know that your plants will successfully form buds, given the heat where you are. As our article states, the ideal places have foggy, chilly nights and vernalization/chilling days. However, if you are one of those gardeners who want to test Mother Nature and beat the odds, let us know how it grows! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mary

I planted 8 Artichokes from seedlings in my community garden in a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota in mid to late June. July was so hot and dry I wasn’t sure they would make it, but kept watering and 6 survived and are thriving, 4 or 5 feet across, but no buds. I dug in lots of organic compost before planting and mulched with wood chips only about an inch or two in depth. I continue watering daily or every other day about a gallon per plant. Soil is sandy loam. No weeds, plants are well spaced. By Oct 15th I have to take my fence down and the city plows everything up a week or so latter. If I throw down some more compost and some potash and mulch higher, do you think I could get these to bloom and produce some artichokes before they get plowed under? If a dig up a couple and transplant into my flower bed at my house is that a better solution? Is there any hope of survival if I dig up a couple and keep them in my 40 degree or s0 low temp garage. or in my garage refrigerator?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Mary,

I’m sorry to hear that your community garden is being plowed over! I hate to tell you, but your artichoke plants are unlikely to survive your Minnesota winters, no matter what you do. These plants will only overwinter in zones 7-9 where winter brings only a few frosty nights. Artichokes are worth a try, for sure, but they are really hard to grow for gardeners in most of the country, anywhere except the California coast, where they thrive. Also, adding compost now will force the plant to produce bulbs by mid-October.

I do hope you’ll continue growing vegetables whether in your own home garden or another community garden. You might look at our list of vegetables that can take a chill to know what would survive your chilly fall season.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tracy McCormick

I love this helpful site, thanks. We live in central Washington, I have grown 3 artichokes this year, they are full, about 3 feet tall as pretty as you could believe but not a artichoke on any of the 3. I am hoping that I can keep these gorgeous plants alive this winter. We are zone 6 and please I need all the help and knowledge and hope, Please can you tell me do I cut the leaves down and do a mulch over the top of the ground? I have tomato cages still in place, we had so much wind this year I was afraid of leaving them without any support! Can you please tell me points that I need to do to have the best chance of having Artichokes next year? Thanks, T

Mary Beth

Hi Tracy,
Here’s the response to your question from a Cooperative Extension agent with whom we work on Ask An Expert: In order to form buds, new artichoke plants require “vernalization” or “chilling.” This occurs just after planting, with seedling exposure to cool temperatures (eight to ten days or 190 to 240 hours of 50ºF or less) required for plants to initiate buds. Hot summer temperatures may reverse accumulated chilling hours, resulting in fewer plants producing buds. The good news is that artichokes are perennial, so you may end up with a bumper crop next year, if they make it through the winter. Prune them down to 6 to 8 inches and cover them with an organic mulch, such as straw, and they may make it through the winter. In zone 6 their survival over the winter depends on how bad winter is, but the mulch will insulate the plants and hopefully keep them from getting too cold.

Dawna

I hope you got a chance to dig them up and winter them over in pots somewhere. I grew artichokes from seed this year and plan to cut them back and winter them over, I live on the Oregon Coast. Everyone I know throws their potted plants out come winter but I move all my pots up next to the barn (out of the open wind) and usually stuff them full of grass clippings then toss a tarp or piece of plastic over them when the frost hits. I save a good 90% of my annuals this way, as well as other plants.

A friend had some plants in pots she thought she had killed so she dumped them out when she moved. I found one of them a week later, bone dry and appearing dead but took it home anyway, that was a month ago and it has a bunch of leaves!! I also found a bunch of rhizomes in a pile of soil, I wasn’t sure what they were, planted them anyway, now I now have a small patch of asparagus growing!! Awesome!

nick

hi Mary, i live in rhode island and i grew my artichokes from seed and did not bear any buds the first year, thats fairly normal when growing from seed. because of our cold winters i grew them in pots and placed them in the garage. the next spring i had these beatiful chokes for the first time, i felt like a proud papa when they sprouted. so yes they can overwinter if they dont freeze. just cut back leaves above the crown and dont water them when dormant, they will rot with too much moisture. good luck Mary. if you like a pix of my results, send an email

Mary Beth

Thank you for your helpful reply, Nick. Mary, I know you wanted to transplant yours into your in-ground beds, but if you have garage space for overwintering pots, it sounds like Nick can give you encouragement and share successful tips. Keep growing and thanks for sharing. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bob Conner

This is the first year I have successfully grown artichokes. The plants are about 4 feet high but have not produced any fruit. I live in Northeast Ohio and have read that the cold weather we experience is probably going to kill these plants, even if I mulch them. Does it make sense to pull this plants out of the ground and store them in a cool and dry place over the winter and then replant them in the early spring? If I do that should I cut the tops off and just plant the roots?

Thanks.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Bob,

Yes, artichoke can survive a mild winter if mulched well, but in your area, it’s unlikely to survive the cold weather. I think that it would be better to try mulching heavily outdoors than to bring indoors, though. See this article from the University of Virginia, specifically the section on Overwintering, which suggests cutting the plant to 6-8 inches and then applying a heavy layer of organic mulch. It’s worth a try!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jewell

I was given a dozen artichoke plants earlier this year; they sat in the greenhouse until the ‘gifter’ began harvesting artichokes from the plants she’d kept, and I figured I needed to get them out…
They are now 3+ feet high, and showing no signs of budding – but DO seem to be very happy/healthy. I’m in WV, and while most of our weather is unpredictable, morning fog is one thing we have in spades.
Anyway, I’m trying to decide which of the many options I’ve read about is best for the winter: A) pot them up and move them back to the greenhouse, B) Mulch like crazy (zone 6a) C) build a cold frame over them, or D) cut the tops, dig the roots, and store them under refrigeration until spring. Your recommendation, given my location?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jewell,

As I suggested to Bob (below), I think that mulching heavily is your best bet, along with a cold frame. Read the Overwintering section of this article from the University of Virginia for specific advice. It’s not guaranteed to work but it’s worth a shot!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

karen

Hi. i just purchased some globe artichoke plants from the local garden center. I keep reading that they are to be planted in spring, yet they were available, so I bought 2. I live in CA zone 8ish, mountains. How should I handle these?

Mary Beth

Hi Karen,
You’re in the right place. Follow the instructions on Planting, Troubleshooting, Harvest and FAQs found within the tabs on this page. For those areas that are more humid and hot, it is a good idea to plant in the fall. Make sure to amend the soil with plenty of compost and mulch well after planting. You are in the prime area for artichoke growing, as California is lucky to have great conditions for them. For regular tips on gardening and growing, sign up for our e-newsletter and join our Facebook page. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Josie Herrera

Hi, I bought two potted artichoke plants from Lowes and put them in an 18 inch raised bed, well fed, watered and sunned in Vermont in early spring this year, but never got a flower bud. It is now late July. When should I expect buds?

Mary Beth

Hi Josie,
Artichokes grown in Vermont might require a little more trial and error in creating the preferred environment. They do need at least 4 months to mature, for starters, but it sounds like you planted early enough for that. They also don’t like to be waterlogged, so make sure the soil can drain quickly. Sometimes artichoke varieties will not bloom until the second year, but artichokes are likely an annual where you live. Here are two suggestions for troubleshooting what you are experiencing: a locally-published article by a neighbor of yours, and our FAQ on replicating the ideal California environment: The area in California where artichokes grow best experiences those famous fogs that roll in off the ocean. You can mimic those growing conditions in two ways. First, plant artichokes where they’ll receive some afternoon shade. It also helps to mulch roots as summer temperatures soar. Aim for a 4-inch-thick layer of mulch. Second, install an auto mister programmed to create a fog around plants in early morning. It’s wise to give plants as ideal growing conditions as possible. Keep us posted! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Addie Mullennix

I planted three artichokes plants back in May and I now realize they are much too close together. Can I transplant at this point or should I just pull the one in the middle out?
Also, are there good companion plants to artichokes?
Thank you.

Mary Beth

Hi Addie,
If you are careful with the rootball, I think you will be fine to attempt transplanting one. You’re right; it’s probably best to simply move the one in the middle and leave the two as they are (if that leaves them 3′ apart). Transplanting anything in the summer is not ideal due to heat and natural stresses, so be sure to keep it watered regularly and in soil with great drainage. Artichokes are natural focal points in the edible landscape; their stature and silverly foliage add great height and eye-catching architecture. Try interspersing with purple basil to pick up the purple in the bloom (if you don’t harvest it for food first!), or a variety of lettuces in bright greens and purples (Red Sails). Anything that blooms yellow would be a nice contrast, too. The great thing about artichokes is that they are perennial, so you can change out the plantings with various annuals and edibles. Let us know how it goes! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Addie Mullennix

I planted three artichokes back in May and I now realize I planted them too close together. It’s just the end of July but they are already getting big. Should I try digging them up and moving them or does transplanting only work once they are more mature?

Ashlee Barnett

I tried growing some artichokes from seed. I started them inside and transferred them into a raised bed. I live in Texas, DFW area. My plants never grew. They had like 3 leaves each. I am thinking its just to hot? I’ve watered them every day, sometimes twice a day, and it drains well. I don’t know. I gave my friend one of the seedlings and hers did the same thing in her garden. My question is, is it even worth trying again next year? Should I let them chill in the garden over the winter and see if they come back next Spring, or just pull them up and plant something else in its place? From the other questions and comments I read, it sounds like they are a delicious and beautiful plant, but kinda high maintenance if you’re not in California. Not putting down artichokes of course, just saying that I would literally have to change the climate in my backyard to grow them. But part of me says, just hold on until next Spring. Maybe they’ll come back stronger?

Mary Beth

Hi Ashlee,
We sell transplants of artichokes, as some gardeners find it’s easier to succeed with a new plant that has a headstart. Look for those in garden centers next spring. For your seedlings, it wouldn’t hurt to leave them and see what happens, but I think they probably got too hot. They should be started in late summer and the potting soil temperature shouldn’t exceed 85. It won’t hurt anything to keep them where they are and you can always look for plants next year. If you want more information than what we have in this article, here’s a link from the Texas A & M Extension Service on growing artichokes. Keep us posted! Also, sign up for our e-newsletter if you’d like regular tips on growing your own food. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

JoAlice

I recently purchased some artichoke cuttings from a florist. The artichokes are about 2-3 inches long and have the purple petals at the top. What stage is this? I ask because I wanted to try planting one to see if it would grow. If so, how should I go about it? What does the artichoke look like when the seeds are ready for planting? Nonetheless, I am going to purchase plants from Bonnie’s website and I am happy to learn that the site exists!
Thank you.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi JoAlice,

It sounds like the artichoke is in the flowering stage, beyond budding. I’m having a hard time finding information on how to collect artichoke seed. Many sources, such as this article from Cornell University, don’t recommend growing from collected seed because the second generation could be wildly different from the parent. So you are probably better off growing from one of our artichoke transplants or from a division taken from a friend’s established artichoke plant. Maybe you could ask the florist where he/she got hers! I hope this helps. Let me know if you figure out the collection method, and happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jennifer Witte

Hello, I have four plants and the gave me lots of delicious artichokes but since its gotten super hot this summer they have stopped producing and the leaves have turned yellow and dry so I think their season is over for the year. Should I cut them to the root and hope they come back next year?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jennifer,

Summer drought it one of the main reasons that artichoke plants fail. Cut the stems to the ground, mulch well around the plants, and hopefully they can be saved to produce again next year. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tracie

My artichoke plant is growing small, (like 2″ is the largest one), and there are aphids (I see little black & green dots all over them) and ants all around them. Do I use the same things you recommended above? Do you know why the ants would be in there? Also I just picked the largest bud as it was beginning to open- what do I do about all the smaller ones on there now?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Tracie,

Ants are sometimes an indication of other pests or problems. Try using the same recommendations mentioned for aphids in a previous reply and see if this helps with both aphids and ants. Your plant’s lower buds won’t grow as large as the upper buds but they can still be harvested. Read the Harvest & Storage tab in the article above for more information on harvesting your artichokes. Also be sure to read the Soil, Planting, and Care tab, which includes information about fertilizing that might help increase the size of your artichoke buds. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Donna

I have several artichoke plants in my flowerbeds. They are growing quite well but not producing any artichokes. One plant is on its second year and no artichokes. What am I doing wrong? I also have a sprinkler system that waters them once/day for about 12-15 minutes. We are in south Louisiana and it is in the high 90’s now.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Donna,

It can be difficult for gardeners outside of the perfect conditions in California to grow artichokes well, but it is possible and so we keep trying! The extreme heat your plants experience in south Louisiana could be part of the problem. Artichoke prefers a milder climate without temperature extremes such as high heat. It sounds like you’re keeping your plants watered well, though, which should prevent problems associated with drought. Have you fertilized your plants much? In the Soil, Planting, & Care tab above, we suggest that you fertilize plants once a month with a liquid fertilizer such as Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food and apply a liquid high-potassium fertilizer (often called a potash fertilizer) every 2 weeks during periods of active growth to encourage flower buds to form. We also suggest side-dressing the plants with a 4-inch layer of compost to provide extra nutrients as buds beging to form. Try these fertilizing methods with your plants and hopefully you’ll see buds that growing into tasty artichokes. Let us know how it grows!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

chris

Aphids are eating my artichokes. What to do?

I planted from seed and they are not letting the leaves grow.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Chris,

You can spray aphids with an insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil. You should be able to find this at your local garden center. Apply according to label directions and avoid spraying when bees are out. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

chris

Thank you. I’ll try that this weekend. I’ve been picking them off.

chris

I have several artichoke plant started from seed and they’re all getting beat up by aphids. Any advice?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Chris,

Aphids have a few natural enemies, including ladybugs and lacewings. If you have enough of these beneficial insects in your garden, they may take care of the aphids on their own. If you see a lot of aphids, you can spray with an insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil. Act quickly, as aphids multiply very rapidly. Fortunately, they are easy to kill if you spray properly. Always use pesticides according to the label instructions. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Alice Carrison

I’m very lucky with my 5 artichoke plants. I am just 3 blocks from the ocean. We manage to harvest enough for me and my daughter and her boyfriend.
Thanks for your question – answer and thoughts, Alice

Kimberly

I have an artichoke plant that is now 5′ tall and I have not done anything special to it. It seems to be sprouting new buds constantly which I find amazing as I rarely remember to water it. Is there any special care I should be doing? I’m thinking “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” but would appreciate any advice. I live in Seattle, WA.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Wow, Kimberly, that is great! You must have a perfect climate for growing artichoke. You can make sure the area around the artichoke stays weed-free and well-mulched, and you can also side dress (add near the roots, under the mulch) with compost as buds begin to form to keep the plant getting the nutrients it needs. Some gardeners will divide artichoke plants that get overgrown. Otherwise, your “if it isn’t broke” advice is the best! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Lois

I have 2 articuke plants that are 5 yrs old and are thriving, however, this year I have to boil them for 2 hrs and the leaves are still not soft, also there is a hard ‘bump’ on the end of the leaf. I am pretty sure I am over watering.

Kelly Smith

Hi Lois,

If you harvest the buds after they have already started to open, they can be tough like you’re describing. Could that be the case here? Read the Harvest & Storage tab above for more info. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Maple Girdler

I want to grow my artichoke plants in raised beds, but I don’t know how deep the roots grow. How tall should I build my planters? Thank You

Kelly Smith

Hi Maple (what a lovely name, by the way!),

Artichokes like deep, fertile, well-drained soil, so you should build planters at least 18 inches deep and also allow enough room to space plants 4 feet apart (or 2-3 feet apart in Zone 6 and colder). Add plenty of compost to the soil. You can find a few plans for building raised beds in our Raised Beds section. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Laurel Hon

Why does the main (largest) artichoke on my plants only
reach about 1/2 – 2 inches across. Of course, the secondary artichokes are even smaller. Any suggestions? I live in zone 7, North Carolina.

Kelly Smith

Hi Laurel,

We frequently get questions from gardeners who want to grow artichokes like those amazing ones they get from California. The reality is that artichokes grow best in the specific, foggy conditions of coastal California and not always as well in other areas. Your best bet to improve the quality of your harvest is to mimic those conditions a few ways. You can read more about this in the FAQs tab above. Click on the question “Can I do anything to improve my artichoke harvest?” I hope this info helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Angela Campbell

I had read that you can take part of a root stem?? of a currently growing artichoke plant and replant in another area and it will grow a new plant is this correct??

Kelly Smith

Hi Angela,

Yes, established artichoke plants will send out rooted shoots in late winter to early spring, and you can divide these shoots to create new plantings. You can find more information about this method online.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

charlotte richardson

I have an artichoke plant that I let go to seed. Do I cut the artichoke off as usual and plant that whole piece into the ground, or what? I would like to see if letting it flower I can make new plants. This is the second year for my plant and it was huge, and put on many artichokes to eat. I did notice that some of the times the center would be darkened. I did see slugs in my garden on them, so could that be why they turned color? What would be a good thing to use against the slugs?

Kelly Smith

Hi Charlotte,

Artichokes do not often grow true to seed, so many gardeners will divide their plants from the roots after a few years in order to multiply plantings. If you’d like to collect the seed, though, you can try cutting off the flower stalk and letting it dry in a paper bag, then collecting the seed. Or, of course, you can always purchase another of our Green Globe artichoke starter plants. Were the dark parts on the tips of the buds, rather than the edible part? If so, this could be a problem called black tip, which occurs during sunny, hot, and/or windy conditions. Making sure your plants have consistent moisture, about 1-2 inches per week, will help. Watering at the base of the plant with drip irrigation or soaker hoses is best.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Elaine

I planted the artichoke plants in well drained soil, amd after two weeks they look like the leaves have melted and then turn brown. What should I do?

Kelly Smith

Hi Elaine,

This could be many things, including overwatering. For the best answer, please submit your question, preferably with a photo, to our Ask an Expert service. I hope you get the answers you need!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Andrea

Hi, I have planted a bought artichoke plant as an ornamental plant in a raised bed of free draining soil. It has only been planted a couple of weeks and is about 9 inches high, but the leaves are already looking droopy. The garden is west facing so the plant gets plenty of sun in the afternoon, although I am in the south of England, so it’s not sunny by Californian standards! I have kept it well watered. All the other new plants in the bed are thriving. What am I doing wrong and should I move it elsewhere? I don’t want to lose it so soon!

Kelly Smith

Hi Andrea,

Artichokes really do like well-drained soil, not water-logged soil. Could you be watering it a little too much? Artichokes only need an inch to an inch and a half of water a week from either rainfall or irrigation. You might also try fertilizing your plant to give it a boost.

Hope this helps!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Matt

The artichoke on my plant keep opening when they are extreamly small and have sharp pointed leafs any suggestions also I water once a day and keep the soil farly moist I live in Fresno, California

Kelly Smith

Hi Matt,

Artichokes only need an inch to an inch and a half of water a week from either rainfall or irrigation. They don’t like water-logged soil, so you might be watering too much. You might also fertilize your plant to give it a boost.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Sean

I started my artichoke in mid April after our last frost but out of 9 only 3 of them sprouted but none of them made it… is there something im doing wrong or is it just where i live (zone 8)

Kelly Smith

Hi Sean,

It sounds like you’re starting artichoke plants from seed. Is that right? If so, you might ask our Ask an Expert service for better advice. However, Bonnie Plants does sell Green Globe artichoke, and you might find success by planting a few of our starter plants rather than trying to start from seed. Look for stores in your area by putting your zip code in our Plant Finder.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

barbara

I have just finished harvesting my artichokes in west Texas… zone 7a ? Will they come back from the roots, or should I take out the remaining plant and start over?

Kelly Smith

Hi Barbara,

Give your artichoke a chance to come back next year, because artichoke will grow as a perennial in some areas. When you have harvested all buds on a stem, cut the stem to the ground. After a few years if you have a large, established plant, you can prune the entire plant back by a third to spur a fall harvest.

That being said, some people grow artichoke as an annual, either out of necessity due to climate or just out of preference. So you can pull up the plant and plant more artichokes for a fall harvest if you’d like.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

diana lampkin

May an artichoke be sucessfully grown in a large pot?
I live in Southern Calif. Gophers in my garden took the last ones down that were planted in the ground.
Thank you

Kelly Smith

Hi Diana,

Yes, artichoke can definitely be grown in a large container, 18 inches or so in diameter. Mix in plenty of compost with your potting mix and otherwise follow the same advice in this article. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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