In the genus Cynara are ten or so species of clumping perennials from the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Canary Islands grown for their spiny, or at least pointed, large and silvery leaves and tall, thistle-like flowers. Grow them for their imposing growth habit in a border or as specimens.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsSilvery foliage and thistle-like flowers on tall plants. Flowers attract insects and are nice in dried arrangements. Some species are edible.
CareGrow in a sheltered spot in full sun with well-drained soil. Give Cynara plenty of space. Removing the flowering stems will keep the attention on the architectural foliage, but is not mandatory.
PropagationSow seed in a cold frame or divide in spring, or take root cuttings in winter.
ProblemsAphids and slugs can be troublesome, as can gray mold and root rot.