Seed To Bloom:
Sow indoors in pots 8-10 weeks before last frost date; keep at 65-75°F.
Direct sow in zones 8-10, 1 week before last frost date, protecting from frost if necessary.
WHEN TO SET OUTSIDE
1-2 weeks before last frost date to vernalize for flowering, protect from frost if necessary.
PLACEMENT & CULTIVATION
Cardoon is native to the Mediterranean region and is closely related to artichoke. While occasionally cultivated as a vegetable, especially in its homeland, it also offers striking ornamental qualities. Its fountain of silvery jagged leaves adds a sculptural note to borders and white gardens. In longer season areas, the plants bloom with densely tufted thistle-like blooms beloved by bees. Tim older leaves to tidy if desired and plant in a warm, protected area.
Moderate water, about 1" a week or less.
Mix 3" inches of compost into the soil prior to planting, or apply an organic pelletized or liquid fertilizer according to package instructions.
Diseases & Pests:
No major problems. Avoid fungal issues by spacing properly in a location with good air circulation and soil drainage.
When to Cut for Bouquets:
Cut just before the bracts begin to spread open. Cut the bud off of the stem about 1.5-2" below the base of the bud. Immediately transfer to cool storage (<40°F). Keeps best if stored in cool humidity for two weeks post-harvest.