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Cardoon is an architectural splendor with bold texture, thanks to its large, prickly, almost dagger-shaped gray-green arching leaves and a statuesque, vase-shaped frame. It is topped with round, purple, thistlelike flowers in midsummer.


A close cousin of the artichoke, this native to the well-drained, sunny slopes of the southwest Mediterranean can overwinter in Zone 7. Produces magnificent flower heads that can be cut and dried for arrangements. Edible leaf stalks and midribs are tasty when blanched. Unopened flower heads can be eaten like artichokes.


Huge and hardy, with their glorious lavender flowers and spectacular seed heads, cardoons are the star turn in any garden




Plant life cycle: perennial

Site: full sun

Height: 3-6 ' Feet

Plant spacing : 1-3 ' Feet apart

Sow: 1/4 " deep

Aprrox seed sper packet : 20


How to grow:


CULTURE:Artichokes and cardoon require  a sheltered location in full sun very fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5-7.0. Sow artichokes indoors 8-12 weeks before last spring frost date.


Cardoon is more vigorous and can be started later, 6-8 weeks prior to last frost date. Plant 2-3 seeds per cell in 50-cell plug trays or individual containers 1/4" deep. Germinate at 70-80°F (21-26°C) and grow at 60-70°F (15-21°C) day and 50-60°F (10-15°C) night. Transplant 6- to 12-week-old plants to the field 2-3' apart in rows 3-6' apart. 

PropagationFrom seed: if planted early enough, it will flower the first year. Divide in spring or insert root cuttings in winter.



Clip mature buds midsummer to midfall, depending on location.


MILD AREAS:Where winter low is above 14°F (-10°C), sow seeds in fall, harvest in spring.


BLANCHING:Gather stalks in late summer or early fall, tie upright with twine, and wrap with black plastic or black-and-white newspaper to exclude sunlight. Blanch for 3-4 weeks during the cooler weather of early fall.


Vase life:

Long vase life 70 to 14 days



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