While it’s possible to grow artichoke plants from seeds, it is not recommended. Not all artichokes grown this way come out true to type. It would be best to cultivate them from cuttings or offsets.
How do you do this?
– If you know anyone who has quality artichokes, ask them for an offset or rooted suckers. This way, you can be sure that you will be growing the exact copy of the original plant.
– Take a sharp spade and dig deep into the soil to divide the artichoke plant so that you have a few leaves and roots to work with. Make sure that the offset is at least about nine inches tall. If you don’t know anyone who grows good artichokes, you can buy offsets from your local garden center.
– Next, plant the offsets about two inches deep with enough space in between each one – approximately three feet apart. Remember that artichokes are large perennials. They take up space and they stay there long.
– Trim the ends of the leaves to about five inches long. Then, water the offsets. If you think there’s going to be a threat of frost, cover them at night.
– Artichokes plants require attention in order for them to grow. Keep the shoots well-watered – never allow them to dry out.
– Your artichoke plant will surely flower on their first year – but don’t let this happen. Pinch out all the flower buds. If you do this, your plant would produce fewer but bigger, softer flower buds – which is what we are looking for in artichokes.
– On its second year, the plants will produce flower buds again and this time, you can start harvesting. Restrict the number of main buds, or what is commonly called as “king heads,” to just five or six. Snip them off six inches below the flower bud. This would allow smaller buds to develop for your second crop.
– You would know it’s time to harvest when the bud is large enough to be eaten, but young enough not to have opened yet. Artichokes that have a purple tinge and open scales mean they are inedible.
– On the third year, save some offsets so you will have something to use for new plantings. By this time, the original artichoke plant will begin to fade out and would have to be replenished.
Tags: Growing Artichokes