Container Grown Artichoke Plants: How To Grow Artichokes In Pots

Container Grown Artichoke Plants: How To Grow Artichokes In Pots

Related to the thistle, artichokesare rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium, and, they are absolutelydelicious. If you don’t think you have garden space for the large plant, trygrowing an artichoke in a container. Potted artichokes are simple to grow ifyou follow these container grown artichoke tips.

About Artichokes in Pots

Artichokes thrive with mild winters and cool, foggy summerswhere they can be grown as perennials. In these mild climates, USDA zones 8 and9, artichokes in pots can be overwintered when pruned and mulched.

Those in cooler regions needn’t despair; you can still growartichokes in pots, albeit as annuals which are planted in the spring. In thesubtropical regions of zones 10 and 11, container grown artichokes should beplanted in the fall.

Growing Potted Artichokes

Annual artichokes are usually started from seed indoorswhile perennial artichokes are usually purchased as starts. Start annual seedsindoors about 8 weeks prior to the last frost-free date for your area.

Plant the seeds in pots that are at least 4-5 inches (10-13cm.) across to allow for growth. Sow seeds just under the soil.

Keep the seedlings moist and in a sunny area that gets atleast 10 hours of light per day. If need be, supplement the light withartificial lighting. Fertilize the seedlings lightly every couple weeks.

Harden the plants off over the course of a week beforetransplanting into larger containers outside.

How to Grow an Artichoke in a Container

Potted artichokes are easy to grow if you provide them witha large enough container. The plant can get quite big, and its root system isquite large. Perennial globe artichokes, for instance, can get 3-4 feet (ameter or so) tall and the same distance across. They need rich soil and plentyof water to form their large flower buds.

To grow an artichoke in a container, select a pot that is atleast 3 feet (1 m.) wide and a foot (30 cm.) or more deep. Amend a goodquality, well-draining potting mix with plenty of compost.

Fertilize the container grown artichoke in midsummer witheither commercial fertilizer or a top dressing of compost.

Water the chokes regularly. Remember that containers dry outquickly, so keep an eye on an artichoke in a container. Provide it with an inch(2.5 cm.) of water per week depending upon weather conditions. A good layer of mulchwill help to conserve moisture.

Care for Perennial Potted Artichokes

Perennial artichokes in pots will need some preparation tooverwinter.

Cut the plants down to a foot (30 cm.) in height and pilestraw or other mulch over the plant to cover the stem, not just the areasurrounding the roots. Keep the plant covered through the winter.

In the spring, remove the mulch a few weeks prior to thelast frost date for your area.

Growing Artichokes

Growing artichokes (Cynara scolymus) may seem exotic, but they’re easy to grow even as annuals. Their ancestors were thistles, and in good soil they show some of that rampant growth that thistles show when growing in good soil.

Many artichoke varieties can overwinter in zone 7 and above, but some varieties are bred for heavy yields in a single season, given the right soil amendments and conditions.

Market Considerations

Because artichokes have an excellent shelf life, they’re a great crop for farmers markets and CSA boxes. Chokes can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks, making them one of the least perishable fresh vegetables you can grow.

For a spectacular market-stand display, cut the entire flowering stalk off and display intact flower stalks in a bucket of water. Customers can take the entire stalk with them, or you can cut the chokes off as you sell them.

Artichokes bring a premium price at farmers markets, and despite the extra care they require in colder climates, they’re one beautiful vegetable that’s well worth growing.

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