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Artichokes In Florida?

artichoke seedlingsHmm, we will see about that(?) I tried to grow some globe artichokes a few years ago and some nasty fungus or other pathogen set into them when they had gotten about 2′ high. However, I am a sucker for challenges and especially like to try somewhat unconventional stuff that nobody else is growing in the area – that and the fact we love artichokes and they are now getting too expensive. Therefore, I am giving it another try.

The globe artichokes are the conventional ones purchased in the grocery stores and have traditionally been grown in the cooler climates of California etc. They like the mild coastal climates that get neither too hot nor cold (kind of like us humans eh?).  Of course, where I live the biggest problem is the heat, and though they don’t completely die in the heat, it will effect their production and quality of the harvest. However, because I live close to the coast, I may have a slight advantage with temperature moderation. It is my understanding that the “emerald” artichokes are little more forgiving in these respects, and so I decided to go with this variety presently (that in the fact I stumbled upon them in Lowe’s.)

Most artichokes take a long time to to begin production (like 100 days for my variety) and they must also experience a season of cold before being productive (called vernilization). Sooo..I planted these from seed exactly one month ago and only two came up out of 12 seeds planted, but the two that did come up can be seen in this pic.

Artichokes have a characteristic of being quite variable from one seedling to another, and so it is usually advisable to purchase root stock from a known productive plant. I am going to plant a few more of these and I hope to get some production out of these two this year – since I think they got the required 10 days vernilization below 50 degrees F etc. Once I get a productive plant or two going, I will (hopefully) use this for root stock towards future plantings.

Artichokes also like a very rich and moist soil.. preferring composts and manures. Because I have so much vermicompost on hand, I am hoping this will make a difference this time around. As I have noted in previous articles, vermicompost is also excellent for control of various pathogens. I will update with progress, but meanwhile, check out some cool artichoke plant pics on flickr. Seems like a lovely addition to the garden.

6 Responses to “Artichokes In Florida?”

  • Laura Chastine:

    Did some googling on artichokes in Florida today and your post came up…wondering how your two little plants are doing? Also, I live in Gainesville, FL and am wondering if you are north or south of here, trying to figure out if these are going to grow here…


  • admin:

    Hi Laura, and thanks for asking. It has been awhile since I tried to plant those artichokes, and I could never get them into the summer good before they ‘collapsed.’ They were so nice and big, and then the leaves just started deteriorating. I tried both the globe and emerald varieties, but don’t think I will try again until I can figure out exactly what happened (as I mentioned, the heat of the summer had not arrived yet). Please keep me posted of your success if you decide to give it a go!

  • Carla Mary:

    I have bought pkt of seeds before and put them directly in the ground and they did not come up. But this year I put them in growing pots and almost all the seeds came up within two weeks and doing great. I think that was the main trick of getting them to grow.

  • Cathy Koltun:

    I live in South Florida and LOVE artichokes! We have decided to ‘go organic’ and try growing as many things as we can to avoid pesticides and pricing while reaping the health benefits (as they are known for cleansing the liver and kidneys). While my fiance insists that we will be able to grow Artichokes in South Florida, my skepticism and search brought me to your site. Is the ‘colder start’ the only thing which would affect the growth? If I could, I’d start them growing in the house, in an area (we have a very large house) which I could seclude from the kids and give it a start, (and try) if I could then get them to continue outdoors as size would become an issue. Have you ever known anyone to be successful~ using any variation of ‘the beginning’ where even the South Florida heat would approve of their survival, possibly if started in the fall? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated~

  • Pam:

    We here at our Community Garden at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville FL have grown the most beautiful “Cardoon” Artichoke. It is more of an ornamental and can be eaten but looks like a lot of work for a pretty small globe. Non the less, the plant is about 4′ tall and is gourgeous. After about a year it started blooming just recently,in May, and has about 20 artichokes on it. They are blooming now. They are an electric blue thistle like flower. I cut a few stems and put them in a vase in the house. We love the plant for it’s esthetic value.

  • Larry:

    im growing 2 nice plants so far and i started with seeds in pots
    have moved them to biger pots and they are doing well

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