Cardoons are both beautiful and delicious. They can be grown ornamentally for their pretty thistles or harvested for the delicious stalks. This plant shares some similar visual characteristics to artichokes as well as its bitter flavor. Instead of eating the flowering portion like you do with artichokes, the edible part of a cardoon is its celery-like stalks. After harvesting be sure to wash and peel the sides of the stalks removing the silvery strings. After preparing your stalks should have a fresh green appearance. Cardoons love to be grown in warm climates as they are hardy perennials in zones 7-10. However, they can be grown in cooler zones as annuals or tender perennials. To grow be sure to plan ahead as cardoons need a long growing season. Start seeds 6 weeks before transplanting. After transplanting expect to wait 120-150 days to harvest. During their growing season they will require blanching as well.
Check out our Vegetable Growing Guide for helpful growing tips and information.