Thursday, June 26, 2014


Cynara cardunclulus - Cardoon

Photo by M. Endres

Cardoon is another interesting plant growing in our Herb Garden .  It is ornamental as well as edible.  Here is an excerpt from 'Fine Gardening':
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 Characteristics: A close cousin of the artichoke, this native to the well-drained, sunny slopes of the southwest Mediterranean can overwinter in Zone 7. Produces magnificent flowerheads that can be cut and dried for arrangements. Edible leaf stalks and midribs are tasty when blanched. Unopened flowerheads can be eaten like artichokes.

Care: Plant in a sheltered location in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil.

Propagation: From seed, if planted early enough, it will flower the first year. Divide in spring or insert root cuttings in winter.
Problems: Gray mold, root rot, slugs, and aphids can cause damage.