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Artichoke varieties come in two primary types: large, round ‘Globe’ artichokes, and elongated, tapered artichokes like ‘Violetta’.
Most artichokes will overwinter in Zones 7 and above, if mulched heavily with straw or dead leaves. For gardeners in colder zones, choose artichoke varieties that are bred to produce in a single season.
Globe artichokes are the familiar fat, round artichokes most frequently seen in stores. They produce heavy, 4-5” (10-13 cm) artichokes.
‘Green Globe’ (Open pollinated, 90-100 days) is the original globe type artichoke that produces 3-4 large, 3-5” (8-13 cm), heavy heads over the course of the summer. Globe artichokes have thick, delicious, creamy hearts. Plants are hardy in zones 7 and above, and can produce for 5 years.
‘Imperial Star’ (Open pollinated, 85 days) is bred for annual production the first year from seed, and is the best globe artichoke for gardeners in zones 1-6. Produces 6-8 mature buds, each 3-4” (8-10 cm) in diameter. Plants are 3-4’ (1-1.2 meters) tall and as wide.
‘Tempo’ (F1 hybrid, 100 days) produces the first season from seed, and is another good choice for gardeners in zones 1-6. Plants produce 3-4 main buds, each 4-5” (10-13 cm) in diameter, followed by 10-15 secondary 2-3” (5-8 cm) buds. Bracts have a purple tinge.
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‘Violetto’ (Open pollinated, 85-100 days) is an Italian heirloom artichoke that produces elongated, 3” (8 cm) wide by 5” (13 cm) long artichokes, tinged with violet on the bracts. Produces 6-8 main buds, then dozens of ‘baby’ chokes later in the season. Very little choke if harvested young and tight.
Starts producing later than globe varieties, so plant one to extend the artichoke season. Hardy in zones 6 and above, plants produce large yields for 4 years.
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