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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.