Question: Do artichokes die back in winter? Should I cut the plants down or leave them? -Jenn D.
Answer: Yes. Artichokes go dormant in hot weather, but their main dormancy period is in the winter when they die back to the ground. Considering that artichokes are grown as perennials in many climates, and produce for five to six years, providing protection during the winter is crucial. Cut your artichoke stalks down to about six inches and gather the stalks together, tying them in place to hold them upright to protect the crown. Add four to six inches of compost around the base of each plant and an additional eight inches of straw or leaves on top of the compost to cover and insulate the pruned down artichoke plant.
If you are expecting an extremely cold winter, cover each of your artichoke plants with a cardboard box or a styrofoam cooler for additional protection. Fill the protective casing with straw or leaves for additional insulation. Remove the box when the temperature returns to normal in your area. In zone six, you can keep the box in place for the majority of the season. In April, remove the mulch and feed your plants with a balanced fertilizer. Keep an eye on the weather just in case a cold snap comes in during early spring. Another method of overwintering your artichoke plants is to dig up the root crowns before freezing temperatures arrive and store them in a cool basement or garage. The storage location still needs to be relatively cold but not freezing, as artichoke plants go into dormancy during the winter.
Richard Purchon says
I planted 6 artichokes last year.
Following this winter the area where they were planted is just earth, there is no evidence that they are there. Does this mean they didn’t survive the winter and have died. Or are they dormant under the ground?
I have had similar disappearances for my beloved artichokes.
My culprit was gophers. It is possible over watering can lead to an agressive form of root rot as well.
I am fairly certain your plants are gone. There should be a substantial center stalk and a root structure if the plant is still viable…
So sorry for your loss.
Same here Richard. We are waiting for them to emerge. I am wondering if they survived as well.
Tony Zarzecki says
I covered my plants with wood and plastic pallets for winter , no growth,
Looks like they rotted away.