Container Grown Artichoke Plants: How To Grow Artichokes In Pots

Close up of Artichoke Plant
(Image credit: Diana Taliun)

Related to the thistle, artichokes are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium, and, they are absolutely delicious. If you don’t think you have garden space for the large plant, try growing an artichoke in a container. Potted artichokes are simple to grow if you follow these container-grown artichoke tips.

About Artichokes in Pots

Artichokes thrive with mild winters and cool, foggy summers where they can be grown as perennials. In these mild climates, USDA zones 8 and 9, artichokes in pots can be overwintered when pruned and mulched.

Those in cooler regions needn’t despair; you can still grow artichokes in pots, albeit as annuals which are planted in the spring. In the subtropical regions of zones 10 and 11, container grown artichokes should be planted in the fall.

Growing Potted Artichokes

Annual artichokes are usually started from seed indoors while perennial artichokes are usually purchased as starts. Start annual seeds indoors about eight weeks prior to the last frost-free date for your area.

Plant the seeds in pots that are at least 4 to 5 inches (10-13 cm.) across to allow for growth. Sow seeds just under the soil.

Keep the seedlings moist and in a sunny area that gets at least 10 hours of light per day. If need be, supplement the light with artificial lighting. Fertilize the seedlings lightly every couple weeks.

Harden the plants off over the course of a week before transplanting into larger containers outside.

How to Grow an Artichoke in a Container

Potted artichokes are easy to grow if you provide them with a large enough container. The plant can get quite big, and its root system is quite large. Perennial globe artichokes, for instance, can get 3 to 4 feet (a meter) tall and the same distance across. They need rich soil and plenty of water to form their large flower buds.

To grow an artichoke in a container, select a pot that is at least 3 feet (1 m.) wide and a foot (31 cm.) deeper. Amend a good quality, well-draining potting mix with plenty of compost.

Fertilize the container grown artichoke in midsummer with either commercial fertilizer or a top dressing of compost.

Water the chokes regularly. Remember that containers dry out quickly, so keep an eye on an artichoke in a container. Provide it with an inch (2.5 cm.) of water per week depending upon weather conditions. A good layer of mulch will help to conserve moisture.

Care for Perennial Potted Artichokes

Perennial artichokes in pots will need some preparation to overwinter.

Cut the plants down to a foot (31 cm.) in height and pile straw or other mulch over the plant to cover the stem, not just the area surrounding the roots. Keep the plant covered through the winter.

In the spring, remove the mulch a few weeks prior to the last frost date for your area.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.