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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Sunday - May 25, 2014

From: El Paso, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with non-native artichoke from El Paso, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a five year old artichoke plant in the ground that gets sun and some shade, has plenty of fertilizer and compost. Gets enough water. It has been beautiful in years past and last year had 10 artichokes. It died back last winter as it always has but this year it will not grow. It has about 5 puny leaves and just sort of sits there. Any advice? Thanks in advance

ANSWER:

From Wikipedia:

"The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence) together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region."

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America and to the area in which the plant grows naturally; in your case, El Paso, TX. Since this plant is native to the Meditteranean, we have no information on it in our Native Plant Database.

From a website called The Vegetable Gardener, here is an article on How to Grow Artichokes. Hopefully, this will give you the information you need.

 

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