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An old Victorian favourite, once grown as a vegetable and blanched for use rather like celery, the cardoon, Cynara cardunculus, is now valued for its striking silvery, thistle-like foliage which adds a theatrical touch to the border. In summer, tall flower stems are topped by fat thistle buds which resemble small globe artichokes – the plants are close cousins. The buds finally open into large purple thistle flowers which attract masses of bees. The dead flowerheads can be left on the plants to provide additional interest in winter, and may lure in a flock of finches. It makes a dramatic cut flower. The Royal Horticultural Society have given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Grow Cynara cardunculus in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost.
Plant type: Hardy perennial
Flower colour: Purple
Foliage colour: Silver
Feature: Attractive seed-heads, Flowers, Dramatic foliage
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist
Skill level: Beginner
Time to plant seeds: March to May
Time to divide plants: March to May
Flowering period: June to September
HI CAN YOU DRY A CARDOON FLOWER HEAD. THANKS
How long do globe artichokes last as vegetables before they need to be replaced? Mine have produced a mass of edible globes every year for 10 years, but this year few though the plants were strong . Is it just a bad year or should I replace with new stock?
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