About 4 years ago, we bought one small Jerusalem Artichoke plant at a plant and flower show and it has since spread throughout our garden, which is a good thing because it covers our back fence and attracts bees and butterflies. We also like the fact that they come back every year and since they are usually hardy, we really don't have to do much with them. We love the yellow flowers that appear in late July-early August but this year, the flowers have been slower to appear and are not as plentiful. Also, a few of the plants' stems and leaves (the bottom portion) are all dried out, even though we water them during drought periods. What could be causing this? We live in the northeastern United States and we DID have some drought periods this summer, with temps in 90s for days on end. Thanks in advance for your help.
It might help if you post some pictures. But, drought & hotter conditions like you've had this year can tend to make plants look a bit ratty and generally not perform as well as they would have during a more moderate summer. So it's not necessarily anything to worry about (or anything that you could have prevented). I may change my mind once you post pictures, but just based on your description I think it's just a bit of stress from extreme summer conditions and assuming next year is more typical weather they should come back just fine and behave how they normally would.