How Do You Grow Cardoon In The UK?

Are you wondering how to grow cardoon in the UK? Then you’ve come to the right place! Perhaps you fell in love with the plant, or you want to use it in cooking. Either way, I’ve got you covered.

Many plants cannot be grow in certain areas, but luckily for you it is perfectly possible to grow cardoon quite happily in the UK. Read on to learn in my new guide.

How Do You Grow Cardoon?

How Do You Grow Cardoon?

Cardoon do actually do quite well in an English garden, despite the fact that its family is native to the Western and central Mediterranean!

With a little care and attention, you can have all your neighbours gasping in disbelief at your perfect cardoon garden.

  1. Starting from seed is very easy, and it’s the best way as cardoons don’t like to be moved – simply place one seed per pot in moist potting soil.
  2. Keep the pots in a warm, sunny place, and mist them gently to keep the soil moist until you see the first seedlings sprout.
  3. Harden them off in larger pots, before planting outdoors in the space where you want to them to grow.
  4. You can also sow directly outdoors in the place where you wish your cardoons to grow. Allow 75-90cm between each seed to allow for growth.
  5. Cardoons need a sunny spot, but remember that they can get quite large so watch what you plant behind them!
  6. Their soil should be well draining, and you won’t have to add too much mulch or compost – these are not very hungry plants.
  7. Keep them well watered through the summer and remove the flower heads as they appear if you want to use the stems for eating.
  8. In October and November, “blanch” the cardoons by wrapping cardboard or sacking around the plant, with the very tops of the leaves poking out.
  9. Blanch for 3-4 weeks to remove the bitterness from the leaves and the help them become more tender.
  10. This plant is a perennial, so as long as the winter is not too severe, you will see it popping its head up in spring, so you don’t need to replant!

This video shows you how you can grow cardoon in the UK (including harvesting):


Do Cardoons Survive Winter?

In general, a cardoon is considered a perennial plant – but if you have only grown it in the UK, you might not believe this.

If we have a mild winter, you should see your cardoon popping back up again – but if it gets too cold, then it will not be able to do this.

A mild winter should treat them just fine, and they will be able to come back – but a particularly harsh winter can completely wipe them out.

You can take steps to protect your cardoon during the winter months – use fleece or mulch to keep them warm, and try to ensure that the soil around the roots stays unfrozen.

How Do You Look After Cardoon?

Cardoon is a fairly easy going plant, and one that does not take too much maintenance once it is established.

Its main requirement is a sunny position – this plant hails from the Mediterranean, so it does like a daily dose of vitamin D!

Another thing to keep an eye on is the soil – it needs to be well draining for this plant to thrive, as it won’t like sitting in soggy clay.

Cardoon is quite a big plant, so you will need to keep an eye out to make sure it isn’t getting shaded or pushed out by another large plant.

Pests aren’t much of a problem for cardoon, although they can be quite tasty to aphids. Keep an eye on your plants, and treat any infestation you see.

Cardoons don’t need feeding, or pruning, and as long as you keep them well watered and with plenty of space, they should do very well.

Do Cardoons Come Back Every Year?

Some plants are annuals, meaning that they grow for one season and that’s it, while others are perennials, so they come back year after year.

Luckily for you if you love a cardoon, they are perennials, and will come back to the same patch again and again!

The exception to this rule is if they get too cold over the winter – they are often considered to be an annual if you live in a cold area; they will not bounce back if they have frozen solid.

As long as they have the right conditions in which to grow, you can enjoy your cardoons popping back up over and over for years to come.

If, on the other hand, you have decided you don’t want them growing again, you will have to be vigilant and remove the baby plants as soon as they come up.

Do You Cut Back Cardoon?

This is a pretty low-maintenance plant to have in your garden – there is very little that you actually have to do with it!

Cardoon does not require pruning, although you can remove old leaves that have become damaged, as this can ruin the effect of this plant.

You can also remove the flower heads as they appear, which will encourage the plant to put more energy into the leaves.

If you are not interested in eating the leaves and want to enjoy the plant in its full glory, leave those flower heads to bloom!

If you want to eat the flower heads then you should leave them on until they are large enough to be part of dinner.

Old, spent flower heads can be removed, and you can save the seeds for another day – but by this time the whole plant will be dying back in preparation for winter anyway.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – everything you need to know about how do you grow cardoon in the UK. Admit it – it’s easier than you thought it would be!

Whether you want to grow it for its impressive, showy looks or you want to try cooking and eating it, you can now enjoy this gorgeous plant in your English country garden.

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