Purple of Romagna Artichoke


Developed over a century ago in the fertile region of Emilia-Romagna of Northern Italy, the Purple of Romagna artichoke is beloved for its vibrant purple colour, tender leaves and rich flavour. Artichokes are heat-loving plants that can be overwintered in Canada in zones 7-9 or they can be grown in pots and brought indoors during winter, though artichokes are most commonly grown as an annual in Canada. This variety is slightly more sensitive to cold than green varieties of artichoke, so you will need to progressively harden the plants off and make sure the temperature stays above 15 degrees Celsius before transplanting in the garden.

The showy plants reach about a metre tall at maturity and have silvery-greyish leaves that bear loads of 3-6-inch green or purple artichokes that can be harvested when young or later during maturity before they turn into gigantic flowers. The lavender flowers are so pretty that the plant is sometimes grown only for its ornamental value, so it’s always a good idea to let a flower or two bloom. You can save the seeds as well. Although the purple colour fades during cooking, this Italian heirloom is much appreciated by chefs, as it is more tender than other varieties. A sure seller at farmer’s markets, the flowers can also be dried and used in arrangements. Purple of Romagna will make a dramatic and decorative statement in any garden.

- Latin Name: Cynara cardunculus scolymus
- Days to Maturity: 130-150
- Life Cycle: Perennial, usually grown as an annual
- Canada Hardiness Zone: Annual 2-9 / Perrenial 7-9
( Where winter low is above -10°C sow seeds in fall, harvest in spring)
- Start Indoors: 6-12 weeks before last spring frost
- Planting Depth: 1 cm
- Days to Germination: 7-21
- Germination Optimal Soil Temperature: 21-26°C
- Seedlings Optminal Daytime Temperature: 15-21°C
- Seedlings Optimal Nighttime Temperature: 10-15°C
- Days from transplanting to mature crop: 60-100
- Plant Spacing: 80-120 cm
- Row Spacing: 120-180 cm
- Average Seeds Needed Per 10 m Row: 20
- Average Yield Per 10 m Row: 35 lb.

* Cold Treatment Necessary ( Vernalization): Time transplanting so plants receive a minimum of 7-10°C temperatures to induce budding while protecting plants from frost at night.


Get a head start and ensure that you reap the desired flower buds by starting seeds indoors, under lights in late January/early February. Technically a perennial, artichokes need some special treatment in order to produce year one in a cold climate.

Plant the seeds at a depth of 2 cm in a deep starter pot to provide space for the plant’s taproot to develop. Ideal soil temperature for germination is 24°C. Once seedlings are well established, move them into a greenhouse or hoop house. Make sure the ambient temperature is cool and stays above freezing; keep roots warm with heating mats if possible.

Artichoke plants must experience the process of vernalization in order to produce edible buds within a single growing season. The idea is to trick the plant into thinking it is enduring a winter and that there is a second spring on the other side of the wintry weather. To achieve this, young plants must be transferred outside in March/April to experience the seasonal temperatures. This exposure to the cold must last for at least a couple weeks. Only bring the plants in if temperatures dip below freezing. It’s important not to bring back into a warm greenhouse, use only a cold porch or garage.

When the danger of frost has passed, transplant into the garden in rows about 1 m apart. Artichokes prefer fertile, well-drained soil. Incorporation of compost before planting will improve soil composition, water retention and nutrient availability. Be gentle, so as not to disturb the main taproot in the transplanting process. About 4-5 cm of water/week is required. Well-watered plants will produce large buds.

In mid to late summer, harvest upright buds before they begin to open and flower. Buds bruise easily, so leave a stub of a stem to handle when harvesting.


- The artichoke as we know it today is a domesticated variety of the wild cardoon, which is originally native to the Mediterranean area.

- Artichokes are considered perennials in tropical regions, but in colder climates, they can be grown as annuals when started indoors.

- Artichoke seeds will remain viable for 1 year if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.


You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.

Picked and bagged for 2024 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.

We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.

We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!