Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Jerusalem Artichoke, Sunchoke
Helianthus tuberosus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: tuberosus (too-ber-OH-sus) (Info)

Synonym:Helianthus tomentosus
Synonym:Helianthus tuberosus var. subcanescens

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

84 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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14 positives
3 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative pmmGarak On Dec 30, 2014, pmmGarak from Gppingen
Germany wrote:

Very low ornamental value, as the flowers won't appear before November in my zone 6b-7a area and won't last long - maybe that's a problem of my cultivar, since I've seen excessive flowering in September in south tirol. The stems grow well above 2 meters and tend to fall over.

I'd consider this plant a means to tackle world hunger, as it produces an insane amount of huge tubers. Make sure you get all tubers out if you want to get rid of it!
It tastes nice as a raw salad, though it turns an ugly brown quickly after grating - seems to be no normal oxidation, as lemon juice can't prevent it. doesn't harm the taste though. It becomes very soft when cooked, which I don't like. By no means an alternative to potatoes!

does not store well, but can be dug up all winter as needed.

Neutral lancer23 On Sep 10, 2014, lancer23 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I grew it because its a pretty expensive item at the farmer's market.
It's so easy to grow that it choke out my flower bed and everything around it.
I got a big crop every yr and I try to dig them up and plant something else but it still comes back yr after yr.
Its suppose to be good for you. But I've tried many different recipe but still haven't got use to the taste. Its a lot of work to take the sand/soil out of the cracks, nooks and cranny of the tuber. I don't like eating the soil that's hard to clean off.
I've tried to put into soups and roast them in the oven too. Stir fly them until they still have a little crisp in them. Roasting taste best because the flavor is sweeter.

Positive slywlf On May 24, 2014, slywlf from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

After doing a little reading on Jerusalem Artichokes I decided to give growing them a try. The stretch of fence I planted them along bordered my veggie garden, and I figured they would add both eye appeal and eventually tasty tubers. Well, my only mistake was growing them in that particular spot - they got so tall they cast afternoon shade on my tomatoes - as well as flopping on them before I succeeded in staking them back. So I moved my tomatoes (they were in 5 gallon buckets so that was easy), and time went by. The first autumn there was a family health issue and I never got around to harvesting. Catskill winters can be brutal, and I was afraid it had all been a waste.
However, next Spring up they came. That Fall I realized I was going to be moving so I started digging them up, as by now I had heard how they could be invasive, and I didn't want to leave the new owner with a problem. Well - not a problem! The tubers were everywhere, and rather delicate, requiring a gentle touch with the garden fork, but so shallow it was easy to get them out. Oh my - what a harvest! It took two evenings to get them all and clean them, but I had enough to eat all Autumn and enough to sell to my local farm stand. The owner was delighted to take them off my hands, as his usual supplier had not been as fortunate in her harvest, and his city customers were clamoring for them. Ultimately I got back about six times what I had spent on the seed chokes, plus enough to enjoy myself, and the pleasure of their towering beauty. Now that I live in Central Gulf coast Florida I am going to try them again ;-)

Positive SteveOh On May 12, 2013, SteveOh from Cherry Grove, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Very tall (10' is typical), thick stemmed (2") and prolific in the right environment, this plant is not particularly attractive (just my opinion of course) and can be extraordinarily invasive.

We grow them as a food source and the tubers are quite delicious, we often harvest two buckets full of tubers from a single plant. Tubers range from thumb-sized to larger than your hand and several pounds, all are edible.

If you have never eaten sunchokes, start slowly and let your body adjust, they have a very beneficial effect on gut flora but can cause gas and bloating until your body adjusts. Since the tubers are quite delicious, many people over do it initially. Trust me, unless you are already accustomed to a high inulin diet, proceed slowly. I suggest no more than 1-2 golf ball sized pieces at first. Later, you can eat all you like.

We planted only once and even though we are diligent in our harvesting the plants always return to provide a crop in the next year. Tubers can often be found 2-3' from the plant, so expect spreading unless you contain them. They will sprout from small bits of root as well as from the tubers themselves.

They can be controlled by mowing or hand weeding but you will need to be persistent to control them. I suggest containment at least 2' deep, we use aluminum sheet.

Positive williamca On Dec 28, 2012, williamca from Plant City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Jerusalem Artichoke grew very well this year in my zone 9b garden. It was in the dry side of my garden with an Eastern exposure. It was tall and had to be staked but the lovely flowers make it worthwhile. The tubers will winter over in the ground and should do even better next year. In a year or two perhaps there will be enough tubers to make some pickles.

Positive Hikaro_Takayama On Jun 5, 2012, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I boutght one pound of Jerusalem Artichoke tubers through Jung's Nursery seed catalog (along with some Egyptian Onions), and planted them in 2009. They all came up, and flourished with almost no care, despite our record-breaking drought that year.

This past Thanksgiving, I dug up a 1.5 square foot section of my Jerusalem artichoke patch and got at least 1 lb of useable tubers (I put all the "seed potato"-sized ones back), and baked them in the oven like baked potatoes. They taste like an exact blend of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.

The plants themselves are trouble-free and can be used to fill in a weedy area and provide pretty flowers as a bonus in late summer. I'm definitely taking a few with me when I move in the next month or so.

Negative dsa2591 On Aug 6, 2010, dsa2591 from North Port, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just want everyone to know that the zone 9b that is listed has to be in California or Texas, because this plant will not grow successfully in South Florida. I've tried growing it in pots to keep the nematodes from damaging them, and to keep them from rotting in the ground during the summer to no avail. It just is too hot and wet in the summer for the tubers to survive. My neighbor grew some once in a raised bed of pure sand, and they lived two years before succumbing. She got one good crop, but said it wasn't worth the trouble to replant.

Positive nicholtammy On Jul 4, 2010, nicholtammy from Huntsville
Canada wrote:

Its kinda taking over a friends garden but not really choking stuff out it brings shade to the other plants the grass is a problem we cannot get rid of

Positive texasflora_com On Dec 12, 2009, texasflora_com from De Leon, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

After reading a lot about sunchokes and seeing the pictures, I do believe that all these years that I thought these were just regular sunflowers, many of them may have actually been sunchokes. They've all been frostbitten now so won't know until next year.

Positive Lavaux On May 16, 2009, Lavaux from Lavaux
Switzerland wrote:

Sunchoke (topinambur) is a prized veggie in France that also grows well near Lake Geneva, Switzerland (climate zone approx. 8b). Planted tubers bought in a supermarket (probably Fuseau) and others bought in a nursery (Sakhalinsky Rouge) in March/April in fertile, unamended but fertilized loam on a south-facing slope with full sun. They are going gangbusters - already 1 1/2 feet high by mid-May. So far, no unmanageable pest problems despite the numerous white grubs and wire worms populating my patch of dirt.

Culinary note: When roasted, sunchokes taste like artichokes; no joke. A tasty but simple feast is easily prepared by cutting potatoes, peeled sunchokes and carrots (country fry wedges), coating them lightly with olive oil and sprinkling them with chopped rosemary (or oregano), salt and pepper, and then popping them in the oven at 200 C on a baking tray for an hour together with a whole chicken (with skin) on a roasting tray coated lightly with olive oil and stuffed with one rosemary sprig (plus a few short sprigs of thyme, if desired), 2 quartered garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, ditto salt and pepper. This recipe is my family's favorite.


Negative Gabrielle On May 2, 2008, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I got this last year in a trade thinking it would be a great food source. It was absolutely beautiful, but got so big it flopped. It was so big it would pull over anything I tried to stake it with. I dug it out and thought I had gotten all of the roots. This year it is coming up all around where I had it. I have sprayed it twice with round up, but it is still determined to come back. Hopefully I can get it under control before time to plant other things. Maybe it would be better behaved in poor soil.

Positive maccionoadha On Oct 13, 2007, maccionoadha from Halifax, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love this plant. I grow it in a raised bed as part of a chocolate scent garden. The blossoms have a vanilla/chocolate scent. They taste like a combination of potato, carrot, water chestnut; eaten raw or cooked like potatoes.

Here is how it got it's name.

Jerusalem: This name comes from when the plant was brought to Italy (circa 1633) and the Italians called it 'Girasole' meaning 'Turning to the Sun'.

Artichoke: The name comes from Samuel de Champlain, who after tasting it, likened it's flavor to that of the artichoke.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Bees are the most important pollinators, although the flowers are also visited by bee flies, wasps, beetles, and butterflies. Among the bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Miner bees, Halictine bees, and Panurgine bees. The flowers are usually cross-pollinated by these insects, and rarely become self-pollinated. The caterpillars of the butterflies Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Chlosyne gorgone (Gorgone Checkerspot) eat the foliage. Similarly, the caterpillars of many moths and other insects feed on various parts of Jerusalem Artichoke, including Pyrrharctia isabella (Isabella Tiger Moth), Papaipoma rigida (Sunflower Borer Moth), Papaipoma rigida (Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth), and Stibadium spumosum (Frothy Moth). Other kinds of insects that feed on this plant include Publilia concava (Treehopper sp., semi-shaded situations), Melanoplus angustipennis (Spur-Throated Grasshopper sp.), and various beetles. The large nutritious seeds are avidly consumed by various upland gamebirds, songbirds, and small mammals (see Wildlife Table). Large herbivores, such as livestock and deer, may eat the leaves and flowers. Occasionally, the stems are used by muskrats and beavers for their dens or dams.

A better name for this sunflower would be 'Indian Potato' because the native people of North America cultivated and ate the edible tubers, which are produced in substantial quantities. These tubers have fewer calories per gram than the familiar 'Irish Potato' (a South American plant), and are better for diabetics because the carbohydrates and sugars are more easily assimilated by the body without insulin. This sunflower can be reliably distinguished from other sunflowers by the winged petioles, which are often " or longer on the larger leaves. With the exception of Helianthus annuus (Annual Sunflower), the leaves of Jerusalem Artichoke are wider than other prairie sunflowers in Illinois. It also has stems that are covered with bristly white hairs, unlike Helianthus grosseserratus (Sawtooth Sunflower), which has smooth stems.

Positive GSFriend On Jul 18, 2004, GSFriend from Little Falls, NJ wrote:

I didn't come to Jerusalem artichoke as a gardener -- although I am now interested in that. I looked to add it to my diet because the inulin, whether it helps with diabetes or not, seems clearly to foster the growth of the system's benign bacteria. The system's bacteria grow in an atmosphere of little or no oxygen. They generally grow only inside the system. Yogurt does not provide this type of bacteria, although it does provide types of beneficial bacteria that grow in an environment that has oxygen.

I had a type of deficiency of systemic bacteria.

Eating the Jerusalem artichoke tubers seems to address this deficiency quite well.

FYI, I have so far boiled the tubers like potatoes and I have sauteed them with onion and garlic in olive oil. I then flavor it with soy sauce.

So if they grow to prolifically in your garder, eat 'em up!

Positive mocloa On Sep 29, 2003, mocloa from Hendersonville, TN wrote:

It is interesting to see the note on the inulin because just today I was reading Crockett's "Victory Gardening" and it said the same thing about being a good plant for diabetics. Something about the starch in the tuber breaking down into something other than sugar. I love this plant for the tubers. My first experience was about 10 years ago from a friend's garden in Seaford, De. I have not planted any myself as I have heard it is very evasive and I have a small area to grow flowers. Also bought this from the produce section of a supermarket.

Positive gonedutch On Sep 28, 2003, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

This is a great plant for a privacy blind. But do not use it for the back of the border for it will invade the garden. Some Sunchokes in my garden are 11 feet tall so that I have to bend the stem to harvest the 12/15-flower clusters for a field bouquet. Add some lavender Obedience Plant(Physostegia)flowers, white and/or lavender Windflower (Japanese Anemone, some Asters and Goldenrod (Solidago) for a colorful fall bouquet!

Positive bfguy On Jul 18, 2003, bfguy wrote:

I got my starter tubors at a produce stand in the spring and planted 6 or 8 of them out. That was 5 years ago, and have several patches of them (hundreds) that I have to keep from spreading everywhere. Not a hard task at all. Have not killed them all yet, and they are ready to dig and eat for about 5 months of the year (first frost to sprouting time) over fall and winter here in central NJ USA. They are weeds, but wonderful weeds.

I am rather wary of the inulin claims for diabetics. Inulin is used to make food for diabetics, but having inulin does not make the food safe.

Positive legry On Jul 5, 2003, legry wrote:

Hi! I have not a jerusalem artichoke yet, but I like to have it. Please, may somebody send me plant?

Positive darius On Sep 10, 2002, darius from So.App.Mtns.
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

Freshly dug tubers are high in inulin, and are a safe alternative to potaotes in a diabetic diet. As the tubers are stored, the glucose turns into carbohydrates. Fresh tubers produce more gas that storage tubers. Delicious sliced raw in salads, cooked like a potato, or pickled. Tastes somewhat like water chestnuts or jicama. High in iron. Must be stored in a high humidity environment to prevent tubers drying.

Neutral poppysue On Sep 3, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This perennial sunflower is a Native to SE US and Canada. It can be seen growing wild in meadows and along roadsides. Plants grow up to 10 feet tall and have course oblong shaped leaves covered with stiff hairs. In late summer it is covered with 4 inch golden yellow daisies. The tuberous rhizomes can be dug in the fall, cooked and eaten like a potato. It spreads rapidly and may be too aggressive for the home garden. Plant it in an area of its own where it can be controlled with the lawn mower


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hereford, Arizona
Mc Gehee, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Amesti, California
Bostonia, California
Calistoga, California
San Francisco, California
West Covina, California
Grand Junction, Colorado
Apopka, Florida
North Port, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Villa Rica, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Hayden, Idaho
Waukegan, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Benton, Kentucky
Pikesville, Maryland
Halifax, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan (2 reports)
Florence, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Republic, Missouri
Beatrice, Nebraska
Carson City, Nevada
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Neptune, New Jersey
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Silver City, New Mexico
Fairport, New York
Saranac, New York
Shandaken, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Pembina, North Dakota
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Vinton, Ohio
Salem, Oregon
Sweet Home, Oregon
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Crossville, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Belton, Texas
Manassas, Virginia
Camano Island, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

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