I Love Cardoon aka Cynara cardunculus

Jul 28, 2023 | Love This!

Name:   Cardoon aka Cynara cardunculus

Type of Plant:  A perennial plant that’s used as an annual in northern areas, Cardoon is a relative of the artichoke. It’s large, silver foliage adds drama to gardens or containers. The blanched stems have long been eaten in many countries.

Why I Love This Plant:  I love this plant because it’s so sculptural and the silver color contrasts so beautifully with green or purple foliage. I also like the thistle-like flowers that can develop later in the summer.

I will plan to grow this from from seed next year, starting them indoors in March when I start my tomatoes.

A Word to the Wise:   Plant cardoon in full sun, and if you’re using this in containers, make sure they are large and fairly deep. When planting in containers or in the ground, this plant loves good drainage.

This year one of my best containers is very tall, with a cardoon, some Balcon red geraniums, pink Pentas and the trailing Dicondra Silver Falls. I’m especially pleased with the two silver plants combined with the ivy geranium. 

This is how the cardoon looks as it starts to grow in my pots. Later in the summer they get taller, and may even start to flower.

The flowers look like tiny artichokes or thistles. When they open to pink-purple, they are thistle-like and attract bees and other pollinators.

One year I used a cardoon in the washtub pot by my trial garden. It was amazing all summer.


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