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Jerusalem Artichoke

Helianthus tuberosus

Surprise! Jerusalem artichoke is neither an artichoke nor from Jerusalem. Instead, it’s a member of the sunflower family that is native to North America. Today Jerusalem artichoke is planted in wildflower meadows, native gardens, and other habitats for birds and pollinators. Songbirds flock to Jerusalem artichoke seed heads, and butterflies visit this plant’s sunny yellow flowers that bloom for weeks in late summer and fall. As a human, you may want to harvest this plant’s edible tubers shortly after the flowers fade. Mash them like potatoes or grate them raw into salads.

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Light:

Sun

Height:

From 3 to 20 feet

Width:

3 to 5 feet wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Special Features:

Zones:

3-9

Propagation

Planting Jerusalem Artichoke

Plant Jerusalem artichoke with other North American natives and get ready to welcome wildlife visitors to your backyard. Color-drenched planting companions include bee balm (Monarda), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), coneflower (Echinacea), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and milkweed (Asclepias).

Planting Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke thrives in average, well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. It grows best in soil with consistent moisture but will tolerate drought and a wide variety of soils as long as the drainage is good. Plant tubers in late spring after the last frost has occurred or in early fall before frost makes an appearance. Choose a planting site that is protected from strong winds to help these lofty plants remain upright. It is tempting to remove the brown and tattered seed heads after plants bloom but doing so removes the valuable seeds needed as wildlife nourishment.

Special note: Jerusalem artichoke can become invasive in some areas. Digging and removing tubers will diminish the size of the plant colony, but this plant is hard to eradicate. Any tiny piece of tuber left in the ground will regrow. So plant it in naturalized areas where it can grow for many years and not spread into other valuable plantings.

More Varieties of Jerusalem Artichoke

'Stampede' Jerusalem artichoke

Helianthus tuberosus 'Stampede' is an early-maturing variety that flowers in midsummer. It produces large, white tubers that weigh up to 1/2 pound in 90 days.

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