Globe Artichoke

Globe artichokes are a large, perennial plant that are grown for their large, edible flower heads and can be a great addition to a UK garden. They can be grown from seeds or from young plants and have a variety of uses in the kitchen.

Growing artichokes:

The good news is that artichokes are not too fussy about soil type. As long as the ground is relatively fertile, then you should be able to grow globe artichokes wherever you live in the UK. They do prefer a soil that does not become waterlogged, however, so if you have a very heavy soil then you should be sure to amend the soil prior to planting with plenty of organic material.

Globe artichoke seeds should be sown in March and April in a seed bed or in pots containing a good compost. Sow two or three seeds together at a depth of around 12mm and a spacing of around 25-30cm.

The thing with seed-grown artichokes is that they can be a little unpredictable and vary greatly in quality. However, when you grow a successful example, you can then take suckers from that plant which will generally be superior to seed-grown plants.

Alternatively, you could simply bypass the hassle and purchase examples of sucker-grown cultivars though it should be noted that these are usually rather expensive many people feel that the superior quality of the specimens is worth the initial investment.

Suckers are usually taken from parent plants and planted between March and April. They should be 20-30cm long with at least two shoots. Alternatively, globe artichokes can be bought and grown as container plants.

Artichokes should be moved to their permanent position and placed at a spacing of around 60-90cm when they have at least five true leaves. You should water these plants in well to ensure that they become effectively established where they are to grow.

Mulch well in spring and late autumn for winter protection. Buds can be removed for consumption from July onwards, before they begin to flower. After you remove the first head, further heads will appear and can also be harvested when big enough.

Why grow artichokes in the garden?

Globe artichokes are both edible and decorative. They can have a place both in a kitchen garden and in less functional and more decorative displays. They unusual looking scaly buds are great for adding dramatic geometry to your garden displays, with the bonus of a yield at the end of it.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Cynara scolymus