Annual Culture of Globe Artichoke from Seed in Virginia

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  • 1 Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327.

The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is usually propagated vegetatively because plants grown from seed lack uniformity. Furthermore, in much of the United States, only a small percentage of plants grown from seed flower during the first season due to insufficient chilling for vernalization. Artichokes cannot be grown reliably as perennials without winter protection where temperatures are consistently below -10C. The new cultivars Imperial Star (IS) and Talpiot (TP) reportedly produce uniform plants from seed and a high percentage of flower heads (capitulum) the first year with minimal chilling. `Imperial Star' and TP were compared with the standard seed-propagated cultivars `Green Globe Improved' (GG) and `Grande Buerre' (GB). Plants of each cultivar were tested over a 3-year period in Blacksburg, Va., or for 1year in three other locations. Essentially all IS and GG plants flowered after receiving 1356 h of chilling at <10C. With 205 h of chilling, 83% of IS plants flowered compared to 25% for GG. No TP or GB plants flowered after receiving as much as 528 h of chilling. In the mountains of western Virginia, only IS plants established in the field in early May received sufficient chilling to produce flower heads during the late summer and early fall. June transplants did not flower because sufficient chilling was not obtained for vernalization. In warmer areas of central and eastern Virginia, fall establishment for spring harvest may yield a higher percentage of flowering plants compared to spring planting and summer harvest.

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