How Much Space Do Artichokes Need to Grow: Essential Guide

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Growing artichokes can be a rewarding and delicious experience for gardeners who are looking to introduce a unique and flavorful vegetable into their repertoire. Understanding the space requirements for these plants is crucial to ensure a healthy and productive crop. By providing sufficient room for growth, gardeners can maximize their harvest and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

In this article, we will explore the importance of spacing in artichoke cultivation, discussing how much space these plants need to thrive and the potential consequences of overcrowding. By learning about the optimal growing conditions and plant spacing, you’ll be well-prepared to cultivate a thriving and bountiful artichoke garden.

Understanding Artichokes

Artichokes are fascinating plants that not only add delicious flavor to various dishes but also make a beautiful addition to any garden. To grow them properly, it’s essential to understand the different types of artichokes and their specific growing requirements, including the space needed for healthy growth.

Types of Artichokes

There are two main types of artichokes: globe and Jerusalem. Globe artichokes (Cynara scolymus) are the most common type, known for their large, tender, and flavorful flower buds. Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), also known as sunchokes, produce tubers that are used for cooking and have similar taste qualities to potatoes.

Within the globe artichoke category, there are various cultivars to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics, such as:

  • Green Globe: A popular variety with large, round, green buds
  • Purple Globe: Known for its attractive purple color and slightly smaller buds
  • Imperial Star: An early-maturing variety with a compact growth habit

General Growing Requirements

Artichokes have specific growing requirements to ensure healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. These plants thrive in full sun, but can tolerate some partial shade, and prefer nutrient-rich, loamy soil for optimal growth (source).

When it comes to spacing, artichoke plants need ample room to grow. Ideally, they should have at least 6 square feet (1.8 meters) of space per plant to ensure proper airflow and nutrient availability (source). Some sources suggest a minimum of 4 feet apart, but 6 feet is considered the best option for maximum plant health and productivity (source).

Proper watering is crucial, as artichokes do not tolerate drought well. They need consistent moisture throughout the growing season, but be cautious not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

By understanding the different types of artichokes and their general growing requirements, you’ll be well on your way to successfully cultivating these delicious and attractive plants in your garden.

Space Requirements for Artichokes

Artichokes are large plants that require ample space for growth and development. To ensure a healthy and productive garden, it’s crucial to give these plants the proper spacing they need in both individual plant placement and row spacing.

Plant Spacing

Each artichoke plant needs sufficient room to spread its leaves and grow. A common recommendation is to space artichoke plants at least 3 to 4 feet apart. If possible, providing 4 to 6 feet between individual plants can be even better for their growth. This spacing allows the plants to have large, aggressive wingspans and minimizes the chance of pests and diseases spreading between plants.

Row Spacing

Just like individual plant spacing, row spacing plays a critical role in the growth and health of artichoke plants. Leaving 4 to-5 feet between rows ensures that the plants have an adequate amount of sunlight, airflow, and room for their large leaves. In addition to maximizing growth potential, this spacing provides easy access for gardeners to maintain their plants and harvest the delicious artichokes.

When planting artichokes, consider the following guidelines for optimal growth and production:

  • Space individual artichoke plants 3 to 4 feet apart, with 4 to 6 feet being ideal.
  • Leave 4 to 5 feet between rows for ample sunlight, airflow, and maintenance access.

By following these spacing recommendations, you can create the perfect environment for artichoke plants to flourish and provide a bountiful harvest.

Preparing the Soil

Soil Composition

Artichokes can grow in most soils, but they thrive in nutrient-rich soil filled with organic matter. To improve your artichoke harvest, it’s essential to prepare the soil by incorporating plenty of organic materials, such as aged manure or compost (Gilmour). This helps to increase the soil’s fertility and also improves its water retention ability, as artichokes require consistent moisture without becoming waterlogged(Almanac).

Soil pH

Aside from its composition, the soil’s pH level is significant for growing healthy artichokes as well. Artichokes typically prefer a slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.5 and 8.0. You can test the soil’s pH using a testing kit, and if required, adjust it by adding lime to raise the pH level or sulfur to lower it(MasterClass).

Remember that artichokes are space hogs, requiring ample room for growth. Plant them in raised beds, or use single cultivation where the soil is prepared to a depth of one shovel(Grow It Organically). This allows for the development of their large root systems and ensures that each plant has enough space to grow and produce a bountiful harvest.

Planting Artichokes


When it comes to planting artichokes, timing is crucial for a successful harvest. Artichokes are typically planted in early spring or early fall depending on the climate in your area. In cooler climates, start the seeds indoors about 8 to 12 weeks before the last expected frost date, then transplant the seedlings outdoors after the last frost has passed. In warmer regions, you can direct-sow the seeds outdoors in the fall.

Transplanting Seedlings or Dividing Crowns

Before transplanting the seedlings or dividing crowns, it’s essential to prepare a planting area that provides enough space for the artichoke plants to grow. Artichokes become large plants and should be spaced at least 4 feet apart, but 6 feet is even better[source]. Another option is to plant the shoots in rows, leaving 3 to 4 feet between each plant and 4 to 5 feet between the rows[source].


While artichokes can tolerate some drought, it is crucial to provide them with consistent and thorough watering to encourage proper growth. The plants require moist soil during their first growing season, but avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb is to give the plants 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, either through rainfall or supplemental watering.


Artichokes benefit from regular feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14, around the base of the plants every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season. This will provide necessary nutrients for optimal growth and help improve the size and quality of the artichoke heads.

Managing Pest and Disease Issues

Artichokes can be quite resilient, but they can still be affected by pests and diseases. By providing the right growing conditions and implementing proper management practices, you can help maintain the health and productivity of your artichoke plants.

Some common pests that can affect artichokes include aphids, spider mites, and slugs. To control these pests, consider introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on aphids and mites. You can also use barriers and traps to keep slugs away from your artichoke plants. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests and take the necessary steps to prevent infestations.

As for diseases, artichokes can be susceptible to issues like powdery mildew, root rot, and bacterial soft rot. To prevent disease outbreaks, ensure proper plant spacing to promote good air circulation. According to PlantVillage, plants should be spaced about 0.9 m (3 ft) apart, and rows should also be spaced 0.9 m (3 ft) apart. Make sure your garden has well-draining soil, as overly wet conditions can lead to root rot.

Here are some other tips to help prevent and manage diseases in your artichoke garden:

  • Rotate your crops periodically to avoid the buildup of pathogens in the soil.
  • Keep the garden free from weeds and debris that can harbor pests and diseases.
  • Use fungicides and bactericides as needed, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Monitor the plants closely for signs of disease, and remove any affected plants promptly to prevent the spread.

By being proactive in managing pests and diseases, your artichoke plants will have a better chance of staying healthy and producing a bountiful harvest.

Harvesting and Storing Artichokes

Harvesting artichokes is best done when they have reached a mature size but before they open their flower buds. You should monitor the progress of your artichokes and pick them as soon as the buds are firm and well-formed. To harvest, cut the stem about 1-2 inches below the base of the bud using a sharp knife or pruning shears.

After harvesting your artichokes, it is important to store them properly to prolong their freshness. Here are some tips for proper storage:

  • Refrigerate artichokes as soon as possible after harvesting. They can be stored in the vegetable crisper drawer of your fridge, ideally between 32 and 36°F.
  • Keep artichokes in a plastic bag with a few air holes, which will help maintain humidity and prevent dehydration. Seal the bag loosely to allow for air circulation.
  • For optimal freshness, consume your harvested artichokes within a week. If you need to store them longer, consider freezing, pickling, or canning them.

When you’re ready to prepare and enjoy your freshly harvested artichokes, start by removing any small or discolored leaves from the base. Rinse the artichokes under cold water, gently opening the leaves to remove any debris or insects. Then, trim the sharp tips of the leaves and the stem before cooking them according to your favorite recipe.


In summary, providing adequate space for artichokes to grow is a crucial aspect of cultivating these nutritious plants. Mature artichoke plants can reach a height of 3 to 4 feet and spread up to 4 feet wide. To ensure proper growth, it is essential to allow enough room for both height and width expansion.

One approach for proper spacing involves planting artichokes in rows, with 4 to 6 feet between each row and transplanting each plant 3 to 4 feet apart within the row. This arrangement allows sufficient space for watering, pruning, and maintaining the plants.

Artichokes thrive in a variety of soil types but prefer deep, fertile, loam-loamy clay soils with good aeration and drainage. Remember, these plants also do well in areas receiving full sun to partial shade.

By following these spacing guidelines and accommodating the distinctive growth characteristics of artichokes, gardeners can successfully cultivate thriving plants and enjoy the delicious and nutritious benefits they provide.