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Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon)

Cynara cardunculus Photo/Illustration: Steve Aitken


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Cynara cardunculus sih-NAR-ah kar-DUN-kew-lus Common Name: Cardoon Genus: Cynara
Cardoon is an architectural splendor with bold texture, thanks to its large, prickly, almost dagger-shaped gray-green arching leaves and a statuesque, vase-shaped frame. It is topped with round, purple, thistlelike flowers in midsummer. Cardoon can reach up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Noteworthy characteristics: A close cousin of the artichoke, this native to the well-drained, sunny slopes of the southwest Mediterranean can overwinter in Zone 7. Produces magnificent flowerheads that can be cut and dried for arrangements. Edible leaf stalks and midribs are tasty when blanched. Unopened flowerheads can be eaten like artichokes.
Care: Plant in a sheltered location in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil.
Propagation: From seed, if planted early enough, it will flower the first year. Divide in spring or insert root cuttings in winter.
Problems: Gray mold, root rot, slugs, and aphids can cause damage.
Height 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Light Full Sun Only
Moisture Dry
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage
Bloom Time Early Fall; Early Summer; Fall; Late Summer; Summer
Flower Color Purple/ Lavender Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Container, Cut Flower, Dried Flower, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Suitable as Annual
Style Cottage Garden
Seasonal Interest Spring Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Perennials

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