Artichoke Seeds

It is best to start seeds indoors in late winter, and transplant after danger of frost has passed. Artichokes perform best when grown in rich soil and given plenty of room.

The large flower buds are harvested just before they begin to open. These heads usually start to develop a reddish color when they are ready to be cut. Artichokes can be eaten raw, but are usually steamed for a half hour to 45 minutes, depending on size. The petals or "scales" will pull off easily when they have cooked enough. In addition to the artichoke heart (the base of the flower) the thickened flesh at the base of the larger scales may be scraped off and eaten. The scales get smaller and smaller the deeper you get into the center of the head. The small undeveloped petals are scraped off, leaving the heart.

Most varieties, such as Green Globe Improved, will not produce a crop the first season, and so must be wintered over. The plants will tolerate frozen soil if covered by a thick layer of mulch. Mice may be a problem, tunneling through the mulch to consume the plants during the winter. Overwintering this tender perennial is easier in areas with a mild winter. The flower buds are usually produced in late spring or early summer the second year.

Note: Germination instructions are not on seed packets, follow the instructions below for starting seed.

Planting Artichoke Seed:
Suitable for growth in a wide range of conditions but do best in frost free areas and winter temperatures should not drop below 25F.

Sowing Indoors
Start seeds in 4 inch pots in late January or early February. Transplant out 8 weeks later when the soil has warmed. Due to genetic make-up, about 20% of artichoke plants from seed will be useless, so cull (pick out) smaller and albino plants at the time of transplanting.

Sowing Outdoors
Direct sow in early spring when soil temperatures reach 55F. Direct sown plants may not mature the first year in zones 6 and below. Fertilization Tips-Apply 1 cup of a blended organic fertilizer or a shovel full of chicken manure around each transplant to provide the nutrition necessary for optimum production.

Harvesting Tips-Cut individual flowers before they start to open.

Seed Specs-Approximately 15-20 seeds per gram. Minimum germination standard: 70%. Usual seed life: 1 year. Seed Saving Tip-Artichokes do not usually come true from seed and plants are typically propagated by division after flowering.

Click on any thumbnail image for a larger photo

NPVAR01 Emerald
NPVAR01 Emerald
PVP, High yield, mid-early, thornless, glossy green, buttery flavor, large heart, heat and cold resistant, 180 days.
  Package of 100 seeds. $32.95
NPV007 Green Globe
NPV007 Green Globe
Large flower buds, harvest when plump, ornamental with bold blue 6" flowers 68-75
  Package of 500 seeds. $16.95
  Package of 1,000 seeds. $32.95
NPVA01 Imperial Star
NPVA01 Imperial Star
Earliest, first year from seed, 8 mature buds, 4" dia., spreading plant, 85 days.
  Package of 100 seeds. $28.95
NPVA02 Violet
NPVA02 Violet
(Cynara scolymus) Large purple flower buds, deeply cut leaf, harvest when plump, cool weather initiates flowers.
  Package of 250 seeds. $16.95

Return to Main Menu