A very fun and dramatic perennial from the Mediterranean, Cardoons are fun and easy to grow. They work equally as well in the perennial border as they do in the veggie garden and their big, bold silvery foliage and gorgeous purple flowers create quite the show. The edible part of the cardoon is the very large leaf stalk that can be cut up and boiled to make it tender. When cooked the right way cardoons are incredibly delicious and add a unique texture to a dish. Hardy to about 15F. but in climates that get cooler than that you can easily grow it as an annual.
Latin Name: Cynara cardunculus
Site and Soil: Cardoons like 1/2 day to full sun and well-drained soil.
Pollination Requirements: Self-fertile
Hardiness: Cardoons will die back after a very hard frost. With mulching, they can be grown where temperatures don’t fall below 15 F.
Size at Maturity: 4-5 ft. in height.
Bloom Time: Late summer
Ripening Time: Fall
Yield: 8-10 leaf stalks per plant
Pests & Diseases: Not bothered by pests or diseases.
USDA Zone: 8
Sunset Western Zone: 4-7,8,9, 11-13,14-24
Sunset Northeast Zone: 34, 38, in other zones grow as annual