Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
If you can't over-winter your artichokes or if you just want to grow them as an annual then this is the one for you. The 6-8 buds of the Imperial Star are nearly spineless, a globe-shape with up to 3-4 inches in diameter with a rich glossy green color. Imperial Star artichokes will grow up to 3 feet in height and produce sweet and mild flower buds without the thorns with good yields for producing up to 3 times higher than older varieties for the first year. You will enjoy the same rich flavor that you expect in any artichoke. This variety will turn into a perennial for zones 7 and above. Imperial Star artichokes were developed to produce heavy, annual production in the colder areas. About 20% of the seedlings will be of low vigor and should be discarded. 20 Seeds per package.
Light requirements: Full sun to part shade.
Planting: Space 4 feet apart in zones 8-11 (where it is perennial), 2 to 3 feet in colder zones.
Soil requirements: Artichoke needs well-drained, light, nutrient-rich soil. Prepare soil by working 5 inches of organic matter into an 8-inch deep and wide trench. Drainage is vital in zones where artichoke is perennial. Waterlogged soils during winter will kill plants.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Ample water is key to producing succulent flower buds.
Frost-fighting plan: Artichoke plants tolerate light frosts (28-32 ºF), but lower temperatures can damage plants. Cover seedlings or new shoots with a frost blanket to protect from late spring frosts.
Common issues: Slugs may attack young leaves, and earwigs can infest plants and buds in summer. Botrytis blight may affect leaves in late summer.
Harvesting: Harvest buds while they’re still tightly closed. In warmer zones, this will be in early to midsummer; in colder regions, harvest starts in late summer to early fall. Buds on a stem ripen from the top down. Cut the topmost buds first; remaining buds won’t grow as large as the top one. Use a sharp knife to cut stems. Harvest a short piece of stem with each bud for easier handling.
- Fruit size: 2 to 5 inches
- Days to maturity: 120 days
- Plant spacing: 48 inches apart
- Plant size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide
Storage: Refrigerate unwashed artichokes in a plastic bag for up to 7 days.
Vegetable Garden – Tips on Growing Artichoke From Seeds
|The objective is to convince the Artichoke plant that it is two years old and ready to make buds, rather than a seedling ready to make only leaves. This is done by growing the plant at cool temperatures for a prescribed length of time. This cold treatment makes the seedling behave as if it is an older plant ready to flower. Temperatures during the cold treatment should remain below 50° F (10° C) but above 35°F (2° C) for at least 250 continuous hours (about 10½ days). Since it is difficult to prevent times when temperatures rise above 50° F (10° C) give the plant the cold treatment for an even longer period, let's say from four to six weeks.|
Sowing the Artichoke Seeds
Put the plants in a cold frame about six weeks before the last frost based on your location and zone. When all danger of frost is past and the soil temperature is above 60ºF (16ºC) set plants about 2 feet apart in the bed.