Growing Cardoon

Cynara cardunculus : Asteraceae / the daisy family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Cardoon in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 13°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 50 - 150 cm apart
  • Harvest in 34-35 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best grown in separate bed.
  • Cardoon foliage

Cardoon is a tender perennial from the same family as globe artichokes, grown as an annual for its young leaf-stalks.

Blanch the stems. Tie the leaves together in a bunch and wrap paper or sacking around the stems. Or, form a hill of soil around the stem. Harvest four to six weeks after blanching. Cut them off at ground level and trim off the outer leaves.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cardoon

Cut off the base and leaves, then cut the stalks into pieces.
Boil the stalks for around 20 minutes until tender: drain, and peel off the surface of the stalks. Add precooked cardoons to a variety of dishes, they go well with mushrooms.

Your comments and tips

18 Apr 24, Kim (Canada - Zone 7a Mild Temperate climate)
Do I have to start the cardoon in a seed start before that last frost or can I buy cardoons already started at a nursery/garden center?
23 Apr 24, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I find that SEEDS are much better than potted cardoons. Cardoons have really deep roots -- 5 feet or so -- the cardoon drops its root VERY early in it's growth cycle -- for this reason, I prefer to use seeds. It should be noted that Cardoon requires a uniform supply of moisture. Leaves and stalks become pithy when subjected to water stress, making them unmarketable. About 10-12 inches of water, uniformly distributed throughout its growing period may be necessary. Spineless and spiny types exist. The spineless types are preferred. Named varieties are difficult to find in U.S. seed catalogs. Often the only option is a generic cardoon with no variety mentioned. 'Tenderheart' and 'Gigante' can be found in some current catalogs. One may also search European catalogs. Varieties recently available included Bianco Ameliore, Italian Dwarf, Large Smooth, and White Improved. Any of the above can be considered suitable for trial in the Pacific Northwest.
19 Mar 24, (USA - Zone 4a climate)
Are there cardoon seeds/plants that are perennial in zone 4
13 Feb 24, Lyn barnard (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Where can i obtain cardoon plants or seed on south africa
08 Feb 24, Sofia (USA - Zone 6b climate)
Hi! Can anyone suggest varieties that are likely to overwinter and establish as perennials in Zone 6b? Thanks!
27 Apr 23, Lorraine Harla (USA - Zone 8a climate)
I use to live close to the Saw Mill Parkway in Westchester County in New York..I am looking for the Cardoon seeds that grew in that area. I notice there are several varieties. I would like to know where to purchase these seeds.
14 Oct 21, Leslie Trail (USA - Zone 6b climate)
You can also buy seeds at (Baker Creek seeds) They have a variety called "GOBBO DI NIZZIA" It is great for cooking or just for the flowers.
05 Oct 21, Sue (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Try Plant world seeds
28 Sep 21, Caroline Burczyk (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Do deer eat this plant in the garden ?
08 Oct 21, Trevor (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
They may not, as my sheep and goats do not. It must be the furry texture of te leaves or smell. Good luck, from Tasmania
Showing 1 - 10 of 20 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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