Imperial Star Artichoke Care: How To Grow An Imperial Star Artichoke Plant

Imperial Star Artichoke Care: How To Grow An Imperial Star Artichoke Plant

By:
Laura Miller







Imperial Star artichokes were originally developed to meet the
needs of commercial growers. This thornless variety of artichoke is primarily
cultivated as an annual and harvested during the winter months. In California,
where the bulk of commercial artichoke production is located, perennial
artichokes are harvested from spring through fall. The introduction of the Imperial
Star artichokes allowed California growers to supply fresh artichokes
year-round.

Imperial Star Artichoke Info

Since Imperial Star artichokes were specifically bred for
cultivation as a cold-climate annual, this variety is well adapted for home
gardeners who are unable to grow artichokes as perennials. The key to producing
buds on annuals is exposing the Imperial Star artichoke plant to nighttime
temperatures in the 50- to 60-degree F. (10 to 16 C.) range for a minimum of
two weeks.

Imperial Star artichoke plants typically produce one to two
primary buds up to 4 ½ inches (11.5 cm.) in diameter. In addition, five to seven
smaller secondary buds will form. Mature buds are slow to open. Their flavor is
sweet and mild.

How to Grow an Imperial Star Artichoke

For successful cultivation, follow these Imperial Star artichoke
care steps:

  • Start Imperial Star artichokes indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the final frost date. Sow seeds ¼ inch (.6 cm) deep in a rich starting soil. Maintain ambient temperature between 65- and 85-degrees F. (18 to 29 C.). Germination time for Imperial Star artichoke plants is 10 to 14 days.
  • Provide seedlings with 16 hours or less of quality light for optimal growth. At 3 to 4 weeks, feed seedlings with a weak solution of diluted fertilizer. If the seedlings become root bound, transplant to a 3- to 4-inch (7.6 to 10 cm.) pot.
  • Harden off seedlings prior to transplanting in the garden. Artichokes prefer a sunny location, good drainage and fertile soil with a pH range between 6.5 and 7. Space plants 3 to 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 m.) apart. Be sure to expose artichoke plants to cool nighttime temperatures to ensure the production of buds the first year.
  • Artichokes require a minimum of 1 inch (2.5 cm.) of rain per week. Supply supplemental water as needed to maintain soil moisture. Mulch to prevent weeds and evaporation.

Harvest
artichokes
when the buds reach 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm.) in diameter. In comparison
with other varieties, Imperial Star artichokes are slow to open. Over mature
artichokes become too fibrous for consumption, but left on the plant the buds
open to reveal attractive thistle-like flowers!

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