Cynara Species, Artichoke, Cardoon, French Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Cynara scolymus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cynara (SIN-uh-ruh) (Info)
Species: scolymus (SKOL-ee-mus) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Hereford, Arizona

Peoria, Arizona

FIDDLETOWN, California

Hercules, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Sacramento, California

San Jose, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Loganville, Georgia

Dayton, Kentucky

Stanton, Nebraska

Pahrump, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Cleveland, Ohio

Salem, Oregon

Germantown, Tennessee

Corpus Christi, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Hempstead, Texas

Princeton, Texas

Richmond, Texas

, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Puyallup, Washington(2 reports)

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 22, 2012, jjb1966 from Cleveland, OH wrote:

I bought this on a lark for decoration. It was the talk of the yard! It became huge last year; the leaves alone are spectacular. I did cover with leaf mulch for winter, but did not cut it down. It looks like it made it through this very mild winter. Just hope I can get some flowers this year.


On May 10, 2009, Levdrakon from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted some seeds last spring just for the fun of it. I expected to use it as an ornamental that would die come winter here in zone 5. I planted it near the foundation of the sun room facing south in a garden bed with fairly poor, clay soil. The plant did well and overtook the space around it for at least two or more feet. Fall came, the frosts came, and it died back to the ground. I didn't bother to mulch or anything, but in hindsight, that probably would have been a good idea.

Around March or so I noticed new green growth poking out from under the snow! Now, on May 10 the leaves are over 1' long, and it's divided itself from a single central rosette last year to at least five rosettes this year. Who knows, I just might get some buds this season.

We had a ... read more


On May 3, 2009, angele wrote:

Overwintered beautifully in Elephant Butte, NM. First bud noticed on 2 year old plant May 3. My mouth is watering already!


On Sep 5, 2008, gardenmom05 from Peoria, AZ wrote:

I have been growing this plant for two years now in USDA zone 11, near Glendale, Arizona.

The first year the plant only produced 1 bloom. I allowed it to go to seed. This year my plant took off and grew huge. i recovered 18 of the 25 blooms (produce) and allowed the remainder to bloom and seed. I've been harvesting the seeds and have found there to be anywhere from 12 to 40 seeds per dried bloom. I plan to germinate and grow. All trial for me, but enjoyable.


On May 7, 2008, essier from Germantown, TN wrote:

I bought this plant last spring (2007) on a whim to see what would happen. I had never seen one in a plant store or nursery in my area. It grew large, four feet around by 3 1/2 feet high, and produced 1 or 2 flowers. Being unsure as to when to harvest, I left them and they turned into beautiful flowers.

This spring the plant is even bigger and has 10 globes on it. My grandchildren are fascinated. They want to know when we can eat them.


On Apr 10, 2008, yotedog from Raleigh, NC wrote:

This is a spectacular plant, given the right site--very eye-catching and sculptural, and the bloom color is wonderful against the dark grey-green of the leaves.

A Neutral for me, as it did not survive 2 nights of 18 degrees Farenheit (zone 7b). Not a particularly exposed location, either, and on the South side, FYI. Believe the zone 8 hardiness, and consider it risky below 25 degrees farenheit....


On Feb 15, 2006, hothaus from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A huge bang for the buck! My tiny start became enormous in one season. It bears at least two crops of a dozen or more chokes annually. However, they never seem as tender and fleshy as the ones at the market. Perhaps that is because I never water it? Also, it seems to have attracted snails, which had not been present in my garden before.


On Apr 19, 2005, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've grown Cynara scolymus and C. cardunculus both.

There are differences between the two: C. scolymus produces smaller and fleshier more oval flower heads; C. cardunculus produces round big flower heads and have more "flowerhair" inside.

I've eaten both the same way if I picked them young enough. Just boil them with a pinch of salt and add some lemon juice. Eat it as a starter with a nice dipping sauce with lots of garlic..yummy.

C. cardunculus is also more sturdy in looks and bigger in size and has broader leaves. C. scolymus is smaller in size and has more elegant looks. The leaves look a little curly sometimes, and spinier. Instead of the flower heads (usually not eaten from it), the stems of the l... read more


On Apr 18, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I successfully killed (unsuccessfully grew) this plant. The winter cold got it. I'm in Zone 7a, so that's not exactly a surprise.


On Apr 18, 2005, billbird2111 from Sacramento, CA wrote:

My wife and I planted four artichoke plants last spring in a raised bed filled with planter mix. We had moderate success that first summer. The plants grew, but the artichokes were tough and the hearts very small.

However, as the old plants died back and the replacements took root, we are in the midst of a very good year.

There were a total of seven plants jammed into a very small raised bed. The bed is about four feet long, and perhaps two feet wide. Not a lot of room.

However, the plants grew through the winter, and are just now beginning to reach rather enormous heights. They were literally pushing each other out of the bed in a fight for space. I grew very concerned when one plant snapped off its base and fell over. I lost three young artich... read more


On Feb 11, 2005, NMbob from Monroe, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

It's been a well mannered pest-free plant in my yard for over 5 years. Zone 7, Albuquerque NM. I've very much enjoyed the large, architectural blue-green leaves (3feet long) and very large chokes - only 2-3 per plant per season. It DOES attract snails/slugs, so a regular regimen of buggetta or other snail bait is a must! I usually let the chokes go to full bloom and let the stalk freeze/dry before cutting and adding to a winter dried flower arrangement. Or cut at full bloom & dry; the violet color is nearly everlasting as a dried flower.

Buds that are allowed to dry on the plant yeild viable seed and I have had good success in germinating and growing them on for folks that were interested in growing their own artichoke plants.


On Jul 3, 2004, cabogal from Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I planted young artichoke plants 3 years ago. That first season I harvested several tiny artichokes per plant. The next year the plants were well established and produced 3-4 beautiful large artichokes per plant. Near the end of the season I began noticing honeydew ant colonies which had attracted swarms of aphids. The plants were covered in aphids trapped in a black honeydew. I didn't give it much thought and didn't do anything because I had already harvested.

Now it is the 3rd year and the black aphid/ant mess is out of control. It began in the early spring before I had baby chokes. I sprayed them with insecticidal soap weekly for several weeks. I then tried to hose the mess off the plants to no avail. The chokes are slowly growing on weak stems, without the stren... read more


On Jun 15, 2004, timberlineranch from Redmond, OR wrote:

We have grown and harvested artichokes here in Central Oregon (Redmond) they do very well and taste better than store bought, also they prefer to get nipped by frost it inhances the flavor, but you do need to know when to harvest them.


On Feb 22, 2004, Lauribob from Twisp, WA wrote:

I grow artichokes as an annual in my zone 4-5 garden. We sometimes eat them but I love the huge flowers more than anything. I have been buying starts from the farmer's market but tried to start them from seed last year. Despite my efforts of using a bottom heating mat in my little greenhouse and covering with a glass cloche, I didn't get any to germinate. Does anyone have any suggestions?


On Dec 22, 2003, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
As I like the look of the silvery leaves and the beautiful blue-purple blooms I planted one in the vegetable garden last Spring. What a great looking plant, the silver leaves look very exotic and add to the tropical affect of my yard. I grow Banana's, and plams in my yard. This is in Western Washington state. As I am not an eater of articokes I grow it for the blooms and the foliage. It bloomed beautifully and has survived our sudden very cold weather and am looking for even bigger and better display next year.


On Dec 21, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like artichokes but we could never get edible ones out of our plants. They weren't so invasive as they were massive and spreading... but the most amazing thing to me was what snail magnets they were. I could pick off literally hundreds of snais off these plants every morning. I don't know where the snails were hiding since most of the other plants nearby weren't the type to hyde or attract snails. Also had a couple very large, happy ant colonies create their livlihood around and in these plants. Perhaps all this added fauna was what kept our artichokes from being edible. Great flowers, though- got about 40-50 per plant each year. Eventually yanked them out of the ground- couldn't believe how massive they had become.. like small trees.


On Nov 15, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This european native was brought to Brazil by the portuguese colonizers. It never became a massively popular plant, since there are only a few places where it can grow here, but still a very apreciated vegetable.

My parents taught me how to eat the fleshy base of the bracts with sauce, since most people only eats the floral receptacle.

I don´t know... I would plant it because it has a beautiful bloom rather than to eat it :^P


On Jan 27, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grew this plant for several years (zone 6/7). Each fall, cut foliage to ground and mulch heavily. Did not do too well, produced few artichoke buds of edible size - may need very rich soil, more feeding to flourish this far north.


On Jan 27, 2003, ideboda from T-village ;) - Friesland,
Netherlands (Zone 6a) wrote:

Maybe the frost-sensitive Cynara scolymus was cultivated long ago out of the wild artichoke C. cardunculus which must be winder-hardy itself, for it grows in the wild in France (Vendée) where the climate isn't all that mild.

On holidays (July 2001) I visited a salt marsh where these plants grew. My impression was that the flowers had smaller bracts than the cultivated ones, and they were not used for food. Only the dried petals were used for curdling milk in order to make cheese.
There was a sign there saying: "Je suis l'ancêtre de l'artichaut cultivé" (meaning: "I am the ancestor of the cultivated artichoke").


On Jan 26, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Some taxonomists believe Cynara cardunculus and C. scolymus are synonyms.


On Aug 11, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Globe artichokes are perennial, frost sensitive, thistle-like plants with edible flower buds. The silvery green plants are 4-5 feet tall and spread outward 5-6 feet. The flower buds arise on the terminal portion of the main stem and on lateral stems. Each unopened flower bud resembles a deep green pine cone, 3-4 inches in diameter, round, but slightly elongated. Several pointed, leathery green bracts fold around a purple-blue flower. The base of each bract is the fleshy edible portion, along with the fleshy center of the artichoke on which the flower and bracts are borne. Buds that are left on the plant open to 6inch purple-blue flowers. These are dried and used in floral arrangements.