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Herbaceous Perennial

Cynara cardunculus
  • RHS AGM
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

cardoon

A robust herbaceous perennial to 2.5m forming a clump of silvery-grey, pinnatifid, spiny leaves up to 1m in length. Large thistle-like purple flowers in late summer and autumn

Other common names
prickly artichoke
globe artichoke
Synonyms
Cynara cardunculus Cardoon
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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
1–1.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Grey Silver
Summer Purple Grey Silver
Autumn Purple Grey Silver
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or East–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Asteraceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Genus

Cynara are robust thistle-like plants with grey-hairy, pinnately lobed leaves and globose purple flower-heads

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; shelter from strong winds. In very cold winters, apply a dry mulch

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame or propagate by division in spring or take root cuttings in winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Architectural
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut down flower stems as they emerge in summer if you want to grow it as a foliage plant

Pests

May be susceptible to slugs, snails and blackfly

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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