Also known as sunchoke, Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) is a sunflower cousin that produces masses of sweet-scented, yellow blooms measuring about 4 inches in diameter. The knobby, potato-like tubers the plant produces below the soil have a flavor and texture similar to water chestnuts. Jerusalem artichoke is well-suited for container growing because the plant is difficult to control once established in the garden. Use a large, sturdy container for this rambunctious plant, which reaches about 6 feet tall. Jerusalem artichoke grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10.
1 Plant Jerusalem artichoke as soon as all danger of frost has passed in spring. Purchase Jerusalem artichoke tubers at a garden center. Look for firm, solid tubers with no bruises or cracks.
2 Fill a planting container with a well-draining commercial potting soil such as a mixture containing peat moss and compost. Use a large container with a diameter of at least 18 inches.
3 Break Jerusalem artichoke tubers into pieces measuring about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Be sure each tuber has one or two eyes -- small protuberances that sprout and start a new plant. Plant one tuber in each pot, then cover the tuber with 3 to 5 inches of soil.
4 Water the plant with a garden hose once every week until harvest. Water slowly until water drips through the drainage hole, then let the pot drain.
5 Harvest Jerusalem artichoke from late summer until late autumn. Pull the entire plant and harvest the tubers. If you live in a climate with mild, non-freezing winters, you can leave the plant intact and use a trowel to dig tubers as needed.
Items you will need
- Potting mixture
- Large container with drainage hole
- Garden hose
- Jerusalem artichokes require no fertilizer.
- University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources: Growing Jerusalem Artichokes
- Harvest to Table: How to Grow Sunchoke
- Johnny's Selected Seeds: Growing Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes
- North Carolina State University Extension: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/hil/hil-1-a.html
- The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful Bountiful Garden; Ivette Soler
- Texas A&M University Extension: Jerusalem Artichoke