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Cardoon is a unique delicacy, especially in traditional Italian and French cuisine! This cousin of the artichoke is native to the Mediterranean and grows eye-catching 4" buds with 2" violet-purple flowers on elegant 3" to 4-1/2" tall stalks. The unique artichoke-and-celery-like flavor of Cardoon is delicious breaded, fried, raw, pickled, sauteed in pastas, braised in gratins, or in mixed in soups and stews. Once popular in Greek, Roman, and Persian cuisine, Cardoon has since spread in popularity across Europe and America today. This perennial plant is resilient and adaptable to many climates and soil conditions. Embrace the culinary and aesthetic allure of Cardoon by growing this unique plant in your very own garden!

Also Known As: Artichoke Thistle, Wild Artichoke, Thistle Cardoon, Cardone, Cardi,  Cardoni, Cardon, Cardo, Globe Artichoke Thistle, Artichaut Sauvage, Gros Chardon, Grosella de Cardo, Desert Artichoke, European Cardoon, Globe Artichoke, Scotch Thistle.

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Plant Name:
Latin Name:
Cynara cardunculus
Days to Germinate: 7-14
Days to Bloom: 70
Plant Height:
3 - 5 Feet
Bloom Diameter:
2 Inches
Growth Habit: Upright
USDA Zones: 4-11, Perennial 7-11
Lifespan: Annual or Perennial
Brand: TomorrowSeeds
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Shade
Heirloom, Open-Pollinated
Seeds Packed For*: 2024

*Seeds are freshly packed for the growing season of the year listed. Seeds are still viable beyond pack date. Store in a cool and dry location such as the refrigerator or basement to best preserve germination rates.

Planting Instructions:


Soil Preparation:

Remove weeds, large rocks, and litter from the planting area. Till the soil 8-10 inches deep and rake several times to break up large clods. It is best to do this when the soil is dry enough to not stick to garden tools. Loosening the soil will help the plant establish strong roots.


Start seeds indoors in small containers 8-12 weeks before last frost, keeping the soil temperature at 65F. Harden off, then transplant seedlings after last average frost in Spring. Direct sowing outdoors and Fall planting is possible for warmer climates.
Planting Depth: 1/4 inch
Within-Row Spacing:
4 feet
Between-Row Spacing:
6 feet


Care During the Season:

Watering: Water plants moderately. If the soil moisture is low, water but avoid waterlogging soil. 
Weeding: Keep plants free of weeds, which rob weak root systems of nutrients and moisture.

Insecticides: Insecticides may be used to protect plants. Bt-based insecticides and sulfur are organic options that can be used for prevention. Sevin is a synthetic option. Sulfur also has fungicidal properties and helps in controlling many diseases. Before using a pesticide, please read the label and always follow cautions, warnings and directions.

Diseases: Disease can happen in cloudy, damp weather. Check plants daily and treat with an approved fungicide if diseases do appear. Neem oil, sulfur, and other fungicides are available for use. Please always follow label directions.


Harvest cardoon by cutting the plant at the base, below the crown. Remove the excess loose leaves and pull away at the outer layers of stalks to reveal the core stalks. Optionally, blanch the cardoon by tying the cardoon core stalks at the top then wrapping in thick fabric or plastic for 4-5 weeks. This optional process is said to whiten the colors of the stalks and reduce bitterness.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 30
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 303 mg 12%
Potassium 712 mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 7 g 2%
Dietary fiber 2.8 g 11%
Protein 1.2 g 2%
Vitamin C 6% Calcium 12%
Iron 6% Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 10% Cobalamin 0%
Magnesium 18%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.