Artichoke Plants

Grow your own artichoke plants for the architectural structure they give to beds, borders, and veg plots, and for a food crop that's delicious with dips. A member of the thistle family, we supply green and purple globe artichoke plants both as jumbo plugs and potted plants. For more potted plants and plugs, check out our vegetable plants page.

Artichoke Plants – a quick guide

Delicious and great for gut health, artichoke plants are also one of the most ornamental of garden vegetables. They’re easy to grow and, once established, will largely look after themselves. If you’d like to have a go at growing your own artichokes, here’s our quick guide to get you started.

How to plant artichokes

Artichokes are not the hardiest of plants, and to thrive, they require a well-sheltered, sunny plot with fertile, well-drained soil. Make sure you work plenty of organic matter into your soil in the weeks before planting your artichoke plants, and get them into the ground as soon as possible after they arrive in the spring. Artichokes can grow up to 5ft tall and 1ft across, so make sure you leave at least 12” between plants. For plug plants, it’s best to grow them on in containers until they’re a bit bigger – wait until they have at least five true leaves before planting them into their final positions. You’ll find specific advice about planting artichokes in our vegetable growing guide.

When to plant artichokes in the UK

Wait until the risk of frost has passed before planting your artichokes; April, May, and June are the best months for doing so, but let the weather be your guide. If it’s cold and wet, leave it a bit longer. Artichokes do not enjoy heavy, cold, waterlogged soil, so to ensure your plants get off to the best possible start, wait until the conditions are right before planting.

How many artichokes do you get from one plant?

An established plant will likely produce around a dozen artichokes. But in order to get a strong and productive plant, in the first year you should clip off the flower heads before they develop so your plants focus on growing strong roots. In subsequent years, your patience will be rewarded with more, and larger, flower heads. Always begin by harvesting the main flower bud first; use secateurs to snip it off along with a few centimetres of stem at a point just above a side stem. This will encourage the growth of secondary flower buds.

How do you know when artichokes are ready to harvest?

The most important thing to remember when harvesting your artichokes is to take them before the flower head begins to open. This requires good timing – cut them too early, and you’re missing out on some growth; snip them off too late, and the opening scales will have lost some of their flavour. Keep a close eye on your artichokes and be ready to swoop at the opportune moment. Enjoy larger artichokes steamed, but smaller, golf ball-sized flower buds taste wonderful baked or sauteed.