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.
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.
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.)
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
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
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
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,
has a reference to gibberellic acid, a growth regulator .
Follow the USU recommendations of heavy N and water;
There is also the recommendation of cutting back in both of these
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.
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
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.
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