Common Name: Cardoon
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Full sun
Soil type: Well-drained/light, Moist
Time to plant seeds: March to May
Time to divide plants: March to May
Flowering period: June to September
An old Victorian favourite, once grown as a vegetable and blanched for use rather like celery, the cardoon is now valued for its striking silvery, thistle-like foliage which adds a theatrical touch to the border. In summer, tall flower stems are topped by fat thistle buds which resemble small globe artichokes - the plants are close cousins. The buds finally open into large purple thistles which attract lots of bees; the dead flower-heads can be left on the plants and will provide an attractive feature over the winter months. The Royal Horticultural Society have given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Looks good with:Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'