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Artichokes are a special type of vegetable because of their taste and their decorative, violet flowers. Artichokes can also be successfully grown in the home garden, provided you observe a few basic things.

In a nutshell

  • Artichoke is a thistle-like plant that prefers Mediterranean climates
  • Is generally perennial but not frost hardy or only partially frost hardy in this country
  • Can develop flower buds for up to five years if overwintered appropriately
  • Depending on the variety, often only develops a basal leaf rosette or only a few edible buds in the first year

The right seed

Good seed is a prerequisite for germination. It can be harvested from existing artichokes or purchased. When buying seeds, you should pay attention to their shelf life to ensure germination. It is also advisable to choose varieties that are reasonably hardy. Some of the seed packets contain instructions such as 'Limited winter hardiness' or 'Overwinter outside with winter protection'. Seeds that you have harvested yourself are best kept in a cool and dry place until sowing.

Test seeds from your own harvest for germination

To test the germination of self-harvested seeds, line a small bowl with cotton wool or cellulose and moisten it. Then spread 10 seeds on it and place the bowl in a bright and 20 degree warm place. If five seeds begin to germinate, the chance of germination is 50 percent.

Cynara cardunculus

Start sowing as early as possible


If you prefer the plants from around mid-January, with a bit of luck they will already bud in the first year. It is best to let them soak in a glass of water for about 24 hours beforehand to accelerate germination.

  • Fill the growing vessel or small pots with loose growing soil
  • Place pre-soaked seeds on the substrate and press down
  • Three to four per pot
  • Cover the seed 1-2 cm with soil
  • Moisten the substrate and keep it evenly moist
  • Put in a bright and warm place
  • Optimal germination temperature is 20-25 degrees
  • First seedlings after two to three weeks
  • After the first real leaves have appeared, lower the temperature to 15 degrees
  • Plant the strongest specimens in the garden

Plant out in the garden

  • Earliest time to plant out after the Ice Saints
  • Before planting, loosen the soil and enrich it with compost
  • Three to five liters per square meter
  • Keep distances of 80-100 cm
  • 150 cm recommended for perennial cultivation
  • Provide with water regularly

The right location

In accordance with its natural home, the artichoke prefers warm and full sun locations with at least six hours of sun a day. In addition, it should be protected from rain and wind. This plant is also a bit more demanding than other plants when it comes to the composition of the soil. Since it belongs to the deep-rooting family, it needs a location with deep, permeable and nutrient-rich soil. Sandy substrates are considered optimal.

Tip: Due to the fact that these plants form so-called taproots, cultivation in pots or tubs is not recommended.

Grooming Basics

The main components of care are the supply of water and nutrients. Artichokes need regular watering. They need plenty of water, especially during growth. Despite everything, waterlogging should be avoided at all costs. You should fertilize once or twice a year, ideally with manure or compost. Commercial vegetable fertilizers and plant manure are just as suitable for fertilizing.

Best time for harvest

In the first year, August and September are the main harvest times. From the second year it is usually already in June/July to October. The harvest is then usually higher. The closed buds are harvested. The outer leaves, i.e. the bracts, should still be closed and lie close together. The individual leaves must not yet have any brown tips. Once the flower opens, leave it on the plant and enjoy the beauty of the open flowers.

Notes on wintering

In well-protected locations, more robust varieties can withstand frost down to a maximum of minus 10 degrees. In rather mild locations and with appropriate protection, you can definitely dare to spend the winter outdoors.

In the bed

Overwintering outdoors can be successful if the winters are not too cold, although the frost hardiness also depends on the variety.

  • Before the first frost or after the end of the harvest, tie the leaves together
  • Cut off all leaves
  • Cut the remaining rungs down to a few centimetres
  • Cover with fleece, perforated foil
  • Or heap about 30 cm high with a mixture of soil and sand
  • With such protection, temperatures down to minus 12 degrees are tolerated
  • Remove cover again in early to mid-April

Tip: Overwintered artichokes are ready for harvest earlier in the second and third year and achieve significantly higher yields.

Overwinter frost-free

  • Remove all leaves for a frost-free overwintering
  • Dig up the roots and remove the soil
  • Place the artichoke in a large bucket of damp sand
  • Place in a cool, frost-free room at around 15 degrees
  • Water from time to time
  • Plant back in the bed at the end of April

Tip: If you want to grow artichokes, you should generally pay attention to the crop rotation and plant them again in the same place after three years at the earliest.

Select varieties based on regional climate

If you want to grow this vegetable in your home garden, it is important to choose a variety that can cope with the local climate. A distinction is made between green and violet varieties. Purple artichokes are much more sensitive but also less productive. Many love the sun but are sensitive to rain. But they score with a more intense and finer taste. In contrast, green varieties also tolerate colder temperatures but still do not tolerate severe frost. They are also a bit more resistant and robust.

Tip: If you want to grow artichokes in regions with particularly cold winters, it is better to use annual varieties. 'Vert Globe' and 'Vert de Provence' are good for this, for example, they produce many flowers in the first year.

Known green varieties

Imperial Star

  • Fast growing, large fruits
  • Big buds in the first year

Camus de Bretagne

  • Large, truncated, 300-500 g, tender and fleshy bottom


  • Round shape, very tender flesh, keeps well

Vert de Provence

  • Fast-growing, smaller, elongated, tapering fruits, very tender

Spinoso sardo

  • Intense green-violet, elongated variety
  • Probably the tastiest

Madrigal F1

  • Round-headed variety, stable, high-yielding
  • Fleshy petals, large base

Purple Varieties

Violet de Provence

  • Elongated, tapering, very delicate
  • If sowed early, harvest late in the first year


  • Old Italian variety, medium-sized, rounded
  • Rich heart, individual segments and stalk very tender

Violetto Chiogga

  • Small elongated variety
  • Pointed, loosely fitting purple outer leaves and green inner leaves

frequently asked Questions

What is the best way to store artichokes?

They will keep in the fridge for up to three days. It is best to wrap them in a damp cloth and place them in the crisper. Never wash before storing.

Can the artichoke also be cultivated in a pot?

Keeping them in a pot is difficult and often unsuccessful because of the taproots. If you still want to try it, the pot should have a capacity of at least 20-30 liters and, above all, be deep.

How susceptible are artichokes to pests?

Young plants in particular should be protected from snail damage. Otherwise they can eat whole plants in wet weather. But aphids like the black bean aphid also like to settle on the fleshy leaves. Beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewings or ladybugs can be very helpful against them.

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