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  • Cynara cardunculus 'Porto Spineless' Quart
  • Cynara cardunculus 'Porto Spineless' Quart

Cynara cardunculus 'Porto Spineless' Quart

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Not totally spineless but apparently much fewer prickles than normally encountered on cardoons, with beautiful foliage and blue thistle-like flowers late in the summer.

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Up close, one can see that 'Porto Spineless' cardoon is clearly not spineless but it's a much less prickly version than its cousins, with gorgeous silvery blue foliage and thistle-like flowers late in the season. Although hardy to zero degrees, it may be better to regard it as an annual here in the Pacific NW, as it doesn't like soggy roots and could well rot out over the winter if planted in poorly draining soil. That said, this cardoon would be quite the statement plant in a sunny summer garden if grown in a large container, by itself or with other summer blooming annuals. 'Porto Spineless' easily grows two to four feet tall and almost as wide, and would be fabulous as back-of-the-border show-offs. 

FYI, the thistle-like flowers are not really edible like globe artichokes, but the stems of cardoons may be if handled correctly. For those willing to sacrifice looks for food, tie burlap or paper around the stems when the plant is about 3 feet tall (a tactic known as blanching), then harvest the whole stem down to the ground about four to six weeks later. This allegedly tenderizes the stem which can then be pared, cut into small rounds, and steamed or boiled until crisp-tender.


Common Name Cardoon
Mature Size 3 - 4 feet tall and wide
Growth Rate Moderate
Cold Hardiness 0° F
Characteristics Perennial grown as an annual in the Pacific NW, attracts bees, butterflies, great cut flower
Light Sun to partial sun
Structure Upright clump
Bloom Color Blue
Bloom Time Late summer
Uses Large container, specimen, back of border
Photos Real images, not stock photos
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