Artichoke, Cynara scolymus, was once considered a treat for only the wealthy. Thank goodness that is no longer the case. Our Purple Artichoke plants do well here in central California where winters rarely dip below 20 degrees. We have seen no adverse affect of the intense heat we experience in the summer although adequate water is a must. During the first phase of growth in late winter/early spring the Artichoke plant produces striking silver leaves. This is followed by the production phase where leaves start to get old and flower buds are formed. As these artichoke buds grow they become the artichokes we love to steam and dip in garlic butter.
If the artichoke fruits are not removed, they become beautiful flowers that can be harvested and dried for flower arrangements. They make nice focal pieces for wreaths.
Artichokes also come in green! Our Green Artichokes are just as easy to grow and just as tasty. They are really striking in the garden.