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Artichoke Plant Care Demystified (Outdoors & Indoors!)

Artichoke Plant Care Demystified (Outdoors & Indoors!)

Having a beautiful houseplant is well worth it. But, what if you could consume a part of your plant? The Artichoke plant (Cynara cardunculus) is an edible delicacy.

You may be surprised to find that these individuals belong to the family Asteraceae, which contains the sunflower and daisy plants.

These perennials are unique to other plants. The immature flower buds that form in the center are what you eat when consuming artichoke. 

The true history of Artichoke plants is somewhat unknown. But, historians have agreed upon in the regions of the Mediterranean. One of the earliest recordings of an edible vegetable that resembled the Artichoke plant was back in 77 AD by the Romans. People back then took advantage of Cynara cardunculus. Just as with the Romans, you can have a fun, edible houseplant at your disposal!

 


 
How Not To Kill Your Artichoke Plant
 

ARTICHOKE PLANT CARE BASICS

Also known as the French, Green, or Globe Artichoke, depending on where you are in the world, this plant is a great indoor addition.

There are a number of requirements that you need to meet for a happy, healthy and edible Artichoke plant. They aren’t tricky to bloom, just as long as you meet the following needs!

 

SOIL

These perennials are quite hardy! The Mediterranean is known for being covered with mountainous ranges and shores lined with rocks.

The soil requirements of a Artichoke plant include putting them into a container with light potting mix.

Types of soils that tend to work best for this include loam-based or sandy soil. Adding organic material such as compost or manure can give your Artichoke plant a boost.

The soil should also have ample drainage holes and be somewhat moisture-retentive. Potting mixes with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8 tend to yield the best results.

A useful trick to see if you have the right kind of soil is to simply grab a handful. It should clump together loosely and crumble. 

Still unsure about which soil to choose? Look over our article on the best potting mixes for vegetables!

 

LIGHT

Most opt to have these vegetables grown in the garden. Why? Well, a part of it is because they require a good deal of light.

The hours placed in light will depend on how much natural light your house gets. If you can find a spot with full sunshine, then you won’t need to add any additional fixtures.

The best place would be in a window that faces the southern region. If that’s not possible, you can find an east- or west- exposed windowsill.

Actually, it’s recommended by plant enthusiasts that you add fluorescent light, even if you do have a south-facing window.

An Artichoke plant will need at least 10 hours of fluorescent light per day in order to thrive. Those who are raising seedlings will have to provide supplemental lighting nearly around the clock. 

 

WATERING 

Those flower buds that you like to indulge in from time to time can’t really grow without having their water needs met.

They take a lot of energy to produce. Outdoor Artichoke plants depend on moisture, especially in the warm months.

Those who keep their individuals indoors won’t have to deal with this problem nearly as often.

Artichoke plants prefer to be completely saturated with water at least once a week.

If your house is unusually warm, you may even have to up this frequency to three times per week. The soil itself should stay moist nearly around the clock. We will discuss a few more tricks to providing the right amount of water later on in the article. 

 

TEMPERATURE 

The Mediterranean’s air tends to be both warm and fairly moist, especially where Cynara cardunculus is found naturally. Temperature can have a big influence when these plants bloom.

Cold environments stunt growth altogether while too warm causes early bloom. Premature budding will result in lower quality buds.

So, then what’s the ideal temperature range? Year-round the temperature should sit anywhere between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius (50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Anything outside of these units isn’t too bad as long as it isn’t extreme.

Those germinating Artichoke seeds should keep in mind that they require higher temperatures for the first few weeks at around 20 degrees Celsius, or 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

We have an article that dives into the ramifications of having a home that is too cold for houseplants!

 

HUMIDITY 

Given the fact that these plants naturally exist within subtropical climates, you can safely assume that they may need a good amount of moisture.

Sure, you may be giving them ample liquid through watering sessions, but this isn’t always enough.

The fact of the matter is that Artichoke plants require a lot of moisture, both through watering the soil and by humidity.

You can increase their chances by implementing a regular misting schedule to the foliage. This is especially useful in cases where you have a warm home. These plants prefer to stay relatively cool.

 

FERTILIZER 

Even if you place your Artichoke plant in a pot with lots of organic matter, chances are that they’ll need a bit more assistance.

Growing those buds requires a lot of energy. It’s a very taxing process! They need a lot of nutrients in order to produce such plentiful blooms.

Look for a granulated fertilizer at your local gardening store, or online.

This food should contain balanced levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

The general rule of thumb is to apply two teaspoons of this fertilizer to every single plant. This should be given at the base of the plant on top of the soil. Only apply fertilizer during the growing seasons. 

 

PROPAGATION  

Artichoke plants have lateral shoots that grow from the main stem. These are commonly referred to as “offshoots”. You can take advantage of this growth by removing them from the parent plant entirely to grow your own new individual.

This is just one method used to propagate a Cynara cardunculus.

Other techniques include from a seedling, division, and root cuttings.

All of these are relatively simple, yet seed germination has quite a few conditions that need to be met.

Division and root cuttings are among the most typical method of choice for Artichoke plant owners. For those who want to know the steps involved, we’ll discuss propagation through division later on. 

 

GROWTH

These individuals are not the right houseplant for everyone. There’s a reason why they’re typically kept in gardens. Although keeping them indoors can be less of a headache, their overall size can be a bit too much for a smaller home.

The average flora will reach anywhere from three to six feet in height, with an overall width of four or five feet.

Those silver-green leaves spread out, regardless of what their surroundings have.

Most owners will only bring in their Artichoke plant during the winter months to avoid damage from the cold.

But, don’t let this discourage you. You can always prune back your plant once buds aren’t produced. All this requires is for a complete cut back of the stems and leaves down to the soil.

Doing this every year will keep the plant from becoming too unruly. The sign to look for is the yellowing of leaves. This is a clear indication that you should take some shears to the individual. 

 

POTTING

After discussing the large size of an Artichoke plant, you’re most likely thinking that they’ll need a substantial container to house them. Well, this is completely true.

A mature flora should be kept in a pot that is at least three feet in width. It also needs to be relatively deep.

The roots of an Artichoke plant spread out, just as the stems and leaves do. For this reason, the container should be at least a foot or two in depth.

Since they only live for half a decade, you won’t have to worry about repotting. The key is to make sure that each plant is spaced out by at least a few inches. This will avoid overcrowding. 

Artichoke Plant Edible Part

The flower buds of the Artichoke plant (Cynara cardunculus) are actually the edible parts of this plant (before the plant comes into bloom!  Typically, an artichoke plant produces between 6 to 10 buds that can be harvested! Yummy.

 

SUPPLY WATER TO YOUR ARTICHOKE PLANT 

Moisture, whether that be through watering or daily misting is an essential for the Artichoke plant.

The overall preference is that they be watered frequently and enough to fully saturate the roots.

Many can take this too far, however. Soggy soil can lead potential problems later down the line. Having an adequate number of drainage holes on the bottom of your pot will help keep the issue of root rot at bay. 

Another way to ensure that your Artichoke plant thrives is to provide it with enough moisture. Watering is essential, but you can also add a misting regimen to the leaves. On top of watering, mist the leaves every few days. If you have a particularly warm house, increase the frequency.

It isn’t so much that the leaves will dry out. The roots are what take the brunt of the heat, literally. If the soil becomes too hot, the plant will bloom prematurely.

This is less than ideal, because all of that energy that the individual spent on growth is gone to waste.

You’re also left with low-quality blooms. The best solution is to water your plant every three days or so.

Just make sure that the top inch of soil stays relatively moist, without being soggy. 

 

ARTICHOKE PLANT PROPAGATION

There are three different types of propagation that you can use to copy the parent plant of your Artichoke. The first is seed germination. Although somewhat straightforward, it requires that you keep a close eye on the needs.

Root cuttings aren’t too difficult either, just as long as you’re okay with transferring your plant in the process.

Propagation through division is the most upfront technique that we could find. Here are the steps!

 

PROPAGATION THROUGH DIVISION

  1. Wait for the right time, preferably during the fall or winter when they are dormant. The individual should be healthy and thriving with at least one shoots growing from it. 
  2. Take a clean, sharp knife and wedge it into the soil at the base of your parent plant. You’ll want the new shoot and some roots that have been carefully separated from the root ball. 
  3. With a spade, dig out the roots and new shoot. Do this slowly as you’ll want to keep the roots intact as much as possible. It’s easiest when you loosen the soil in a circle around the parent plant. 
  4. With the newly divided individual, you’ll want to set it into a pot with freshly laid soil. It should be high in organic matter and in a spot that gets lots of full sun. 
  5. Make sure that at least six to eight inches of the roots are buried underground.  
  6. You’ll notice that the shoots start to develop new growth after four weeks or so. At this point, you can transfer your plant to a newer, larger pot. 

 

 

PESTS, DISEASES, AND THE ARTICHOKE PLANT

In general, the Artichoke plant is known for being rather hardy. They can face a myriad of problems that most vegetables would struggle with. This does not make them out of the woods in terms of pests and diseases. We’ve taken the liberty to point out a few of the more common ones!

As far as bugs go, there are a number of insects that will wreak havoc on the buds or leaves. The Artichoke plume moth, slugs, snails, and earwigs are all easy to fix if you catch them early on. Insecticides tend to be the best choice. You can also opt for warm soapy water as a way of ridding the leaves of these invaders. 

There are only two diseases that you should keep a close eye on. The Curley Dwarf disease has been known to stunt growth, and even kill a plant. Botrytis Blight, a fungal infection, spreads throughout an Artichoke plant’s leaves. Both of these diseases are unfortunately incurable. Aptly remove and destroy any affected individuals before moving on. 

 

 

ARTICHOKE PLANT ISSUES AND REMEDIES

Plants, just as with any living being, can have a number of problems that arise. Houseplants that provide vibrant leaves or edible blooms tend to be at a higher risk of developing some kind of issue that will end in further harm if not dealt with properly. 

 

PROBLEM #1: WILTING PLANT

The wilting of an Artichoke plant’s leaves may be a sign that your flora is battling with something called Verticillium Wilt. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything that can be done once a plant gets this type of disease. The best action that you can take is to carefully remove any parts that have been infected. Don’t use them for compost. You’ll want to destroy them and completely get rid of them so that it doesn’t transfer to a different plant. 

 

PROBLEM #2: LACK OF BLOOM PRDOCUTION

Sometimes a problem may lie in not what you see, but what isn’t happening. Artichokes that don’t produce healthy blooms typically have in issue with the moisture content. 

Since a decrease in bloom production can mean that you have over or under watered your Artichoke plant, start by giving it some more moisture. These plants prefer to be on the moist side. If this doesn’t solve anything after a few days, make sure that there are ample drainage holes on the bottom of your pot. 

 

PROBLEM #3: YELLOWING LEAVES

Yellow foliage is generally a clear indicator that your Artichoke plant has been given too much water. 

With being oversaturated, you’ll want to allow the individual to dry out more. Keep in mind that they still need ample water. Scale back little by little until you find the right watering schedule. 

 

PROBLEM #4: DROPPED LEAVES

If you ever see those leaves start to completely fall off, then you have a stressed plant. This is most likely due to soil that has become soggy, or that it is placed in too much shade. 

Either add more fluorescent light, or find a window that gets plenty of sun throughout the day. You can even opt for both. Also lighten up on your watering regimen slightly. 

 

ARTICHOKE PLANT CARE SUMMARY

Having an Artichoke plant at your disposal is an advantageous decision if you enjoyed consuming this vegetable over the years. Here are the top five steps involved in ensuring that you maintain a happy, high-quality individual!

  1. Place the potted plant in a space that gets lots of full sun. If this can’t happen, give it at least eight hours of fluorescent light. 
  2. The soil should be high in organic matter, light, well-draining, and slightly acidic. 
  3. Watering more often than not – about every few days – is ideal!
  4. Implement the use of a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium every two weeks during the growing season. 
  5. Prune back your indoor houseplant once it hits the dormant period to keep it from taking over your home! 

 

 

ARTICHOKE PLANT FAQ

 

How many Artichokes are there per plant?

Within one Artichoke plant, there are anywhere from six to ten buds that can be harvested.

 

When are Artichokes ready to be picked?

You’ll want to wait until the buds are tightly wound. Waiting until the petals have opened up will give you unsavory Artichokes. 

 

Are Artichoke plants toxic? 

Artichokes are actually non-toxic or poisonous for you, or any of your animals. The buds that they produce are actually quite healthy! 

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