An artichoke flower is a large perennial plant that produces the most stunning of purple flowers capable of attracting a wide range of beneficial insects and bees to any garden.
Apart from that, not many people know much more about the artichoke flower. Today, we want to change that by telling you everything you should know.
For example, did you know artichoke flowers become inedible once they’ve bloomed?
If not, this guide is the perfect place for you.
Let’s get straight to it!
What Is An Artichoke Flower?
An artichoke flower, also known by the names globe artichokes, French artichokes, or Cynara scolymus, is a large perennial plant that has origins in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.
Native to regions with a Mediterranean climate, the artichoke flower is classified as a type of herbaceous perennial thistle. Seen as a vegetable crop, the artichoke plant is typically cultivated for its edible flower.
Aside from being edible, this perennial plant is extremely beautiful. When left to bloom, large, quite magnificent purple flowers emerge.
These brightly colored flowers reveal a rosette of sturdy stalks and striking purple flower heads that work wonders when it comes to attracting insects and bees into a vegetable garden.
When the French artichoke is harvested, they have a thick stem and large, round green vegetables.
The leaves are interestingly bracts that cover the center part of the plant. This part of the plant is known as the choke. Inside the choke is the core of the vegetable, often referred to as the artichoke heart.
It is common practice to boil, roast, or steam the artichoke heart.
Letting Artichokes Bloom
The artichoke plants’ flowers aren’t only beautiful. They are also packed with nectar. It is this nectar that attracts butterflies and bees.
When left to bloom, the flower’s stalks continue to grow, eventually reaching heights of 6 feet tall, easily making the plant the centerpiece of any garden.
The artichoke flower’s blooms tend to grow up to approximately 6 inches wide, revealing a vibrant lavender center as they open.
Each artichoke plant usually produces an average of 5 to 6 flower heads in the first year and up to 12 in the second.
The most common use of the artichoke flower is to create a stunning flower arrangement or colorful bouquet. The flowers can be cut and dried or used fresh.
Drying the artichoke flower is fairly straightforward. Simply cut the flower off the plant using your pruning shears and hang the flower upside down in a dry, cool place until they are fully dried.
Can We Eat Artichoke Flowers?
Despite being able to eat the artichoke flower before it blooms, once the flower has started to bloom, we can’t eat it.
If you want to eat the artichoke plants’ buds, you have to harvest them while they’re tightly packed.
Once the buds have started to open, the flowers become far too fibrous and tough, making them very hard to eat. At this point, it is best to leave them and let them bloom.
What Time Of Year Does The Artichoke Flower Bloom?
If you want to eat your artichoke plant’s buds, it’s a good idea to know when the plant is likely to bloom.
Artichoke buds emerge at the start of spring. The artichoke flowers reveal themselves in the summer.
It is during the summer months the artichoke flower will also fully bloom, therefore you should be ready to cut the flowers off before they wither. This will prevent the plant from using all its energy to make seeds.
Cut the whole plant back when blooming has finished. Do this to ground level. Be sure to leave any new growth though.
The Best Growing Conditions
Artichoke flowers love warm sunny spots and fertile, free-draining soil.
To make the most of your space, sow your artichoke plant into a temporary seedbed before later transporting it to its final destination. As your artichoke plant grows bigger, it will need more space.
To encourage strong root growth, artichoke plants need to be watered 1 to 3 times a week. They love plenty of water so don’t be too shy with it.
After making your way through this small, yet detailed guide, you should now have a much greater understanding and knowledge of the artichoke flower.
Artichoke flowers are a wonderful addition to any garden, bringing plenty of color, bees, and butterflies along with it.
If you decide not to harvest your artichoke plant for food, you’ll be left with the perfect ornamental piece that’s sure to impress your neighbors.
If you don’t already have an artichoke plant in your garden, what are you waiting for!