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With blue-grey, spiky foliage reminiscent of medieval times, Artichokes are the most queenly inhabitants of the kitchen garden. Artichokes need warm temperatures, strong light and good ventilation to grow from seed. Transplant to the sunniest part of your garden when the soil is workable. The young plants should have several weeks of cool weather to set chokes but must be protected from any hard frosts. To cook, steam or simmer, using a non-reactive pot. Cut an X in the bottom and add a half lemon to the water. Cover and cook until the leaves pull out easily (about 20 to 40 minutes). Italian chefs love Artichokes and prepare them in various ways: in pasta, served al fresco in antipasto platters or dressed simply with olive oil, Garlic and lemon juice. Deer resistant. Perennial in zone 7 and warmer; grow as an Annual in colder zones.

Average seed life: 1 year.

Imperial Star Artichoke

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90-100 days. This early-maturing Artichoke, usually grown as an annual, assures a quick harvest of 4″ round, deep glossy green artichokes on stately 3′ plants. Unlike traditional types suited to dry Mediterranean climates, Imperial Star is a practical choice for the home gardener: even in cold climates, it produces delicious artichokes within 90 days of transplanting to the garden. Harvest these beauties while still tightly closed to enjoy their unique, nutty taste. (Note: Imperial Star PVP#9000179 is protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act. Unauthorized production of seed for sale or export is prohibited.) (OP.)

One packet of about 35 seeds
Catalog #1010
  • Buy 10 for $5.35 each and save 11%
  • Buy 50 for $4.45 each and save 26%

Availability: In stock


Gardening Tips

Artichoke Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
Row Spacing:3’-4’
Plant Spacing:2’-3’
Days to Germination:7-12 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F

Artichokes need moderate temperatures, strong sunlight and good ventilation to grow from seed. Start indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date: sow 3 to 4 seeds per pot or 1 seed per peat pot, barely moistening the soil. Artichokes develop a tiny taproot and are extremely susceptible to damping off, so barely water the young seedlings. When 2"to 3" tall, transfer to individual 4" pots. An ideal location for Artichokes is a well-draining bed or a raised bed in strong sunlight. Prepare area by digging in well rotted manure and/or compost. Plant seedlings in the garden after the last frost, adding fertilizer under each plant. The key to good choke development is to time outdoor planting so that they get at least 3 weeks of cool, 50°F weather (protect them during any hard frosts). Harvest while “petals” are still closed, using a sharp blade. Artichokes are perennials in areas with mild winters.

Fool Proofing Artichokes
The part of the Artichoke that we eat is actually the flower bud—picked before it bursts into fuzzy, brilliant purple blooms. In nature, since artichokes are biennials, the plants set buds in their second year. Before annual varieties were developed, it was necessary to “vernalize” the plants in areas where temperatures fell too low for the plants to survive the winter (zone 7 and colder). This meant giving them an artificial “winter” – a chilling period as young plants, to trick them into thinking the warm days of June were their second summer. With annual varieties like Imperial Star it is still important to give your transplants a bit of a chill in spring, just to be sure they’ll set buds. A couple of weeks at 50°F should do the trick.

Giving Artichokes a fertile soil will help to insure productive plants. Frequent watering and a straw mulch to retain moisture, will also increase bud production, especially in climates where summers are very warm.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Artichokes Are Garden Gold