By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The flower bud of the cardoon is typically not eaten. See more pictures of vegetables.

Cardoon is similar to the globe artichoke. In fact, they are both part of the thistle family. With cardoon, however, it's the leaves and flower stalks -- not the flower bud -- that are eaten and featured in vegetable recipes. In this article, we'll talk about growing cardoon.

About Cardoon

Cardoon is a tender perennial grown as an annual for its young leaf-stalks, which are blanched and eaten like celery. A member of the artichoke family, cardoon has the same deeply cut leaves and heavy, bristled flower heads. Cardoon, which will grow anywhere in the United States, can grow to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, so it will need plenty of space in your garden.


Common Name: Cardoon

Scientific Name: Cynara cardunculus

Hardiness: Tender (will die at first frost)

In the next section, we'll show you how to grow cardoon.



Growing Cardoon

Cardoon is a tender perennial grown as an annual for its young leaf-stalks. It grows well anywhere in the United States.

Plant cardoon from transplants in the garden on the date of the last frost in your area. If you're growing your own transplants from seed, start them indoors six to eight weeks before planting in the garden. New plants may also be started from suckers. Cardoon prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It grows quickly in any well-drained, fertile soil. Cardoon stalks can get very tough, so the plant is blanched to improve flavor and make it more tender. Blanch when the plant is about three feet tall, four to six weeks before harvesting. Tie the leaves together in a bunch and wrap paper or burlap around the stems. Or, form a hill of soil around the stem.


Harvesting Cardoon

Harvest the plants four to six weeks after blanching. Cut them off at ground level and trim off the outer leaves.

Varieties of Cardoon

The two most common are Large Smooth and Ivory White Smooth.