Growing artichokes in your garden
- Winter hardy in zones 7 through 10
- Deeply serrated leaves and thistle-like flowers
- A nice companion plant for asparagus
- Tender perennial
The best selection of heirloom artichokes to grow at home
Native to the Mediterranean area, artichokes have a varied and interesting past. Improved by the Arabs, cultivated by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and grown in Henry VIII's garden at Newhall, they made their way to the Americas in the 19th century by way of French and Spanish immigrants. Simply the immature flower buds before the flowers come to bloom, artichokes once commanded such high prices that only kings could afford. Today home gardeners can easily grow and enjoy this delicacy from seed.
To get this delicacy growing in your very own yard, we offer a selection of artichoke seeds from the traditional heirloom Green Globe to more exotic heirloom variations such as Purple Italian Globe and Violet. Artichokes require a lot of room and a long growing season, so plan accordingly. Zones 7 to 11 can grow artichokes as perennials, while colder zones will grow artichokes as annuals. 100 frost free days are required to ensure that artichokes grow well. Typically, they do their best where the winters are long, and the summers are moist and frost free.
growing your own artichokes from seed
To grow artichokes, choose a location with great drainage and lots of sunlight. Soggy soil is often the death of artichokes, so it's very important to choose wisely. Good artichoke companions include cabbage, sunflowers, and peas. These plants will not compete with artichokes for the soil's nitrogen-which artichokes tend to eat up. Speaking of soils, deeply-worked, nutrient-rich soil will keep your artichokes happy and growing strong. To provide proper soil nutrients, you can amend your soil with organic compost. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Artichoke seeds should be sown with a half inch depth, and thinned to six ft apart. In areas with cold winters, cut plants back to 10 inches and cover with a box, mulching with straw or leaves to help maintain a consistent soil temperature. Artichokes will bear their best in the second year, and can be started from new plants every three to four years.
For more information on planting, growing, and caring for artichoke seeds, see the Artichoke Seeds Planting Guide.