Artichokes not budding

I have eight globe artichoke plants. I bought them last year, and they grew all summer but never got any buds.
This year, they have grown quite well, but there is still no sign of buds. I don't do much to them--no amendments, no tilling, no pruning. I pull the grasses and weeds around them, and water them with drip lines for a couple of hours two or three times a week.
I live in zone 8-9 (southwestern Utah). Should the artichokes be getting buds by now, or am I just too impatient? If they ARE supposed to be budding, then do you know what I am doing wrong and how I might fix it? Thanks for any advice. --S.
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Been and gone in California. I'd try some organic 0-10-10 in the future.
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- Billy

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Suzanne D. wrote:

They should have had buds in April or May by my reckoning. How big are the leaves? Are they in full sun?
David
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The leaves are about 24 inches give or take. They get partial shade. --S.
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Suzanne D. wrote:

That's about half the size of a well grown plant. I would say either they are underfed, don't get enough sun or both.
David
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David, are you sure on this? IIRC artichokes are about 4ft (1.2M) in diameter. That's the separation that I gave mine. You're suggesting 8 ft. in diameter?
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Billy wrote:

You had me worried that I was telling porkies so I went and measured. Firing from the hip a 4ft leaf was a slight exageration, most leaves are between 3 and 3 1/2 ft. So to my eyes 2ft is under grown. Inadequate light will reduce flowering even on good sized plants.
I mostly don't plant artichokes in rows but spot them around the flower garden nominally run by Her Indoors. They are a kind of cool season feature plant. We like the look AND the taste - ain't nature grand! I would say 4ft is about right for me however I do tend plant close because my soil is rich and I don't get much root competition.
David
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Suzanne D. said:

Do your plants get enough winter chilling?
It's my understanding that artichokes need a sufficient amount of chilling for the plants to initiate buds. (They aren't particularly happy about very hot temperatures, either.) Standard varieties like 'green Globe' need as much as 1300 hours of sub- 50 deg F temperatures (55 days), although there are some cultivars that require less. ('Imperial Star' needs only around 200 hours.)
I can (and have) grown 'Imperial Star' as an annual here, but it required starting indoors very early, and planting out before the last frost date (to get the chilling needed to set buds). It was interesting to try a couple of times, and the artichokes I harvested were far superior to anything available in the stores, but the amount of time, effort, and space needed plus the fact that would always be a gamble that the plants would experience enough cold weather to set buds make it unpractical as a regular crop. (I wasn't able to winter over the plants, even under cover.)
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I think so. We are slightly colder in winter than most of California.

Well, we DO have very hot temperatures, which is why I gave them partial shade instead of full sun. I got a tiny artichoke off of a first-year plant a few years back.
Standard varieties like 'green Globe' need as

I have Imperial Star, and I am pretty sure we get those temperatures at the sufficient amounts.
I learned online that I was supposed to cut the leaves back to an inch above ground in fall, and I didn't do this. Could this lack of pruning be the problem? --S.
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Suzanne D. wrote:

It gets very hot here too. The artichokes go backwards in summer because of it but come back quickly in the cooler months and bud in the spring.

I have never done this and mine are fine. I am unsure of the rationale.
David
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These are just thoughts. Artichokes are not on my grow list up here so take my advice with a grain of salt.
You mentioned that your "not doing anything to them" and that you live in UT.
I would agree w/ David, these are most likely underfed and probably heat stressed so the energies of the plant are focused into maintaining growth right now.
In choosing a nutrient and schedule, understand a flowering/bloom fertilizer mix will enable the plant, but it will not trigger flower/seed production in plants. The plant's specific conditions must be met, such as the light cycle which is a trigger. If interested, http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/7221.pdf has a reference to gibberellic acid, a growth regulator .
Follow the USU recommendations of heavy N and water; http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG-2003-03.pdf . There is also the recommendation of cutting back in both of these references.
BTW, have you checked your pH? SW soil types and waters tend to be alkaline, usually much harder to keep in check unless you stay on top of it. This makes proper nute uptake more difficult. I did see an Extension paper ( a CA paper, I believe) where the recommended pH was 6.5 -7.0. On Dave's Garden website, they have Artichoke (variety unk) listed up to 7.6. ( a bit much I feel). There is more arid production towards SE CA that may be closer to your soil/climate if you wish to look for other clues.
I read where certain varieties will flower up until fall under certain conditions so you may still have a chance.
Good luck and let us know.
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I grow artichokes in Northern California - SF Bay Area. I planted one globe root many years ago, it comes back every year. This year it divided into four separate plants and I had the heaviest production ever.
I don't do anything to them except water if it gets really hot (over 90 deg.) when the buds are developing. I have never fed them and my soil is heavy clay. They are in full sun.
Once they're done and headed to blooming, I kick the plants over and haul off the dead stalks and leaves. (I did that last week.) Usually a new plant starts growing immediately. I suggest that you cut back the growth you have now to get the cycle started again.
Ask around for anyone in your neighborhood who is growing them. They may not be compatible in your area, but they sell the plants anyway. I got fooled with some rhubarb plants here once.
Susan B.
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