Cynara cardunculus - Cardoon


Closely related to globe artichokes and once grown as a vegetable, Cynara cardunculus is a majestic, herbaceous perennial with a wonderfully architectural appearance. The huge leaves are a pale silver, jagged and thistle-like, at their best in spring and early summer, becoming greyer, if no less striking, in late summer. From late June, huge artichoke-like buds open into purple thistle-like flowers, honey-scented and very attractive to pollinators. They are valued by flower-arrangers, and the seedheads provide winter interest. A gorgeous structural plant for a sunny border, or at a corner; water in drought to keep the leaves looking their best. Cardoons can also be grown as a vegetable by wrapping the stems (the part which is eaten) in brown paper in late summer to blanch them. The cardoon holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Site: Sheltered
Soil: Reasonably fertile, well-drained soil
Position: Full sun
Flowering period: June to September
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height: 5’ (1.5m) Spread: 4’ (1.2m)

Type | Size: Pot | 9cm
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