Cardoon

(Question)

I saw this large plant that looks like a monster thistle in Kew park and at Centennial park as well. Where can you purchase this plant(I think it’s called cordoon)? It’s awesome looking.

(Answer)

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is an outstanding plant with huge, silvery gray, and deeply lobed leaves making it a dramatic accent plant. It is a tender perennial that can be grown here as an annual in full sun to part shade. Grown in rich, well-drained soil enriched with lots of organic matter it can reach a height of 3 to 7 feet.  Cardoon is a close relative to artichoke but instead of the flower buds, the fleshy leaf bases are enjoyed. Plants can be started from seeds or divisions. Some of the larger garden centre may carry seedlings in the spring.

Here is a link to an article that was published in the Globe and Mail that will give you more details on how to grow cardoon and how to blanch it in the garden to produce more tender edible stalks. The article even includes a recipe.

http://www.yougrowgirl.com/2010/11/26/growing-and-eating-cardoon/

I hope you are inspired to try growing cardoon this year.