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 CharacteristicsA close cousin of the artichoke, this native to the well-drained, sunny slopes of the southwest Mediterranean can overwinter in Zone 7. Produces magnificent flower heads that can be cut and dried for arrangements. Edible leaf stalks and midribs are tasty when blanched. Unopened flower heads can be eaten like artichokes.
CarePlant in a sheltered location in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil.
PropagationFrom seed, if planted early enough, it will flower the first year. Divide in spring or insert root cuttings in winter.
ProblemsGray mold, root rot, slugs, and aphids can cause damage.
- Genus : Cynara
- Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
- Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
- Zones : 7, 8
- Uses : Containers
- Moisture : Dry
- Bloom Time : Early Fall, Early Summer, Fall, Late Summer, Summer
- Light : Full Sun
- Maintenance : Moderate
- Plant Type : Perennials
- Characteristics : Showy Foliage
- Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest