Artichoke plants produce stunning purple flowers that are great for attracting bees and other beneficial insects to your garden.
When artichoke plants bloom it’s too late to eat the bud, but you get to enjoy the stunning tall flowers.
In this article I’ll tell you all about artichoke flowers.
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Globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus), also known as French artichokes, are tall perennial plants that are native to the Mediterranean region.
They’re classified as an herbaceous perennial thistle and cultivated as a vegetable crop for their edible flower buds.
If the buds are left on the plants they open up into large purple flowers that are excellent for attracting bees and other beneficial insects to the vegetable garden.
When globe artichokes are harvested, they look like a round green vegetable with a thick stem.
The leaves are actually bracts and they cover the center part called the choke, and inside the choke is the core, which is known as the heart.
Artichoke hearts can be steamed, boiled or roasted.
Leaving artichokes to bloom
Artichoke flowers are not only beautiful, they are also rich in nectar which will attract bees and butterflies to your garden.
The flowers grow on tall flower stalks that can reach 6 feet (2 metres) tall so they really stand out in the garden.
The thistle-like blooms can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and have bright, lavender blue centers.
Artichoke plants usually produce 4 to 6 flower heads in their first year of growth and 10 to 12 in the second year. 
Artichoke flowers can be cut and used fresh or dried to make beautiful bouquets and flower arrangements, or just left on the plant for a gorgeous display in the garden.
To dry artichoke flowers, cut them off using pruning shears and hang them upside down with a piece of string in a cool, dry place until they’re fully dried.
Once the flowers are dried you can use them to make a long lasting dried flower arrangement.
Are artichoke flowers edible?
Unfortunately artichoke flowers aren’t edible once they’ve started to bloom.
The buds need to be harvested while they’re still tightly packed if you want to eat them.
If the bud starts to open, it becomes too tough and fibrous to eat so it’s best to leave it to bloom so you can enjoy the beautiful flowers.
When do artichoke plants bloom?
Artichokes buds appear in early spring and the flowers are usually in full bloom during the summer months.
It’s a good idea to cut the flowers off once they start to wither, otherwise the plant will put its energy into making seeds.
After the plants have finished blooming you can cut the whole plant back to ground level.
Just be sure to leave any new growth at the base of the plant in place.
So there are my tips for growing beautiful artichoke flowers.
Artichoke plants make an excellent addition to an ornamental vegetable garden.
If you don’t to harvest your artichokes in time you still get the benefit of enjoying the beautiful flowers and the pollinators will love them as well.
I hope you found this article useful and learned how to grow beautiful artichoke flowers.