Cynara cardunculus

Cynara cardunculus

Cardoon

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Flowers
Flowers
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Key Information

  • Botanical name: Cynara cardunculus
  • Common name: Cardoon
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Evergreen/Deciduous: Evergreen

Height: 2.4m

Spread: 90cm

Flower colour:
  • Purple
Foliage colour:
  • Silver
  • Features: Attractive seed-heads, Dramatic foliage, Flowers

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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.

Position

  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Aspect: South facing, West facing
  • Position in border: Middle, Back
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Maintenance: Prefers rich soil
  • Soil type: Well drained/light/sandy, Clay/heavy/moist

Wildlife

Attracts:
  • Bees

  • Beneficial insects

  • Birds

  • Butterflies / Moths

  • Other pollinators

  • Wildlife features: Nectar/pollen rich flowers, Seeds for birds

Care routine

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Sow
Sow
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Plant
Plant
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Divide
Divide
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Yes

Toxicity

Toxic to:
  • People

  • Cats

  • Dogs

  • Birds

  • Horses

  • Livestock

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