Artichokes are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing artichokes in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
When to Plant Artichokes
Artichokes are a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to early spring, and mid to late summer for a fall harvest. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your artichokes with a blanket of straw or cover them with plastic buckets.
If you live in the U.S., check out the Farmer’s Almanac or the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones for more help regarding frost and the best dates for planting in your area.
How to Plant Artichokes
Plant your artichoke seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, artichoke seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move artichoke plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting artichokes in the garden, it’s best to space them 2 - 3 feet (75 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
How to Grow Artichokes in Pots
The key to caring for artichokes in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 1,155 cubic inches (18,927 cubic centimetres) in size. Five-gallon buckets are a great container option for artichokes. And they’re cheap too!
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing artichokes in containers.
How Long do Artichokes Take to Grow
On average, it takes about 120 days for planted artichoke seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
How Big do Artichokes Get
Typically, artichoke plants reach about 3 - 4 feet (or 1 metre) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
How Much Sunlight do Artichokes Need
Artichokes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
How Much Water do Artichokes Need
Artichokes like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your artichokes on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your artichokes in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than artichokes planted directly in the garden.
You will know your artichokes are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your artichokes, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
How to Harvest Artichokes
Leaving a short bit of stem attached, cut the artichoke bud from the plant with a sharp knife or scissors. Cut buds closest to the top first.