March 07, 2015 at 11:32
I just purchased an artichoke plant in the nursery and from my research it looks like its a cool weather crop. Should I even try to plant it in central texas?
Maybe in a wet and semi-shaded area? I mean, artichokes are used in Italian cuisine, so they must be able to take the heat, at least a bit.
I don't know what sort of climate central Texas is, but artichoke is a mediterranean crop so it likes cool winters and hot dry summers. We have that here (in south-eastern Australia) so I've been reading up on them. One thing I have read is that they don't like humidity, so I would suggest against wet and semi-shaded! Stick them in direct sun! I've never seen them anywhere except full sun, around my area, and it seems like they love it. Our summer highs tend to be around 30-45C and winter lows around 5-15C. With regard to artichokes being a "cool weather crop" I think it's more that with artichokes, you're eating the flower bud, and that happens in the earlyish springtime rather than late in the summer... same thing with asparagus, right? So yeah, artichokes are at their best when the weather is relatively cool, but "relatively" is the point -- it won't matter if you get hot summers, as long as you have the sort of winter where you at least want to wear long sleeves. In short, not a tropical or subtropical climate.
(FWIW, I once did a climate comparison and found that the US city with the closest climate to my hometown, Melbourne, was Austin TX. So honestly I think you're good.)
Artichokes are big plants when mature (seriously, 5+ feet tall). They produce in the fall when the weather's cooler, but the plant grows throughout the summer. I'd say give it a try. They're perennials in a Mediterranean climate. If your winters are too harsh for that, look for a variety that's specifically developed for good single-season production.
about 6 years