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When to Plant Jerusalem Artichokes — Sunchokes

Sunchoke tuber with sprouts for planting

Jerusalem artichoke—also called sunchoke—tubers can be planted in the garden as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. In mild winter regions, Jerusalem artichokes can be planted in autumn for a spring harvest.

Jerusalem artichokes are perennial and are best planted in their own bed. A single tuber can multiply to take over a planting bed. One way to container Jerusalem artichokes is to lift the roots in fall and replant them in spring.

Jerusalem artichokes are planted like potatoes; either an entire tuber can be planted or one that is cut up so that each piece contains an “eye.” Tubers or cut pieces are planted 6 inches (15cm) deep at 12-inch (30cm) spacings. Plant Jerusalem artichokes at the back of a garden where they will not shade other plants.

Jerusalem artichokes will grow in a wide range of soils as long as they are well-drained. They require moderate moisture until they become well established.

Each tuber will send up 1 to 12 stalks. If the top 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) of the stalk are cut off as flowers form, the size of the tubers will increase.

Jerusalem artichokes need about 120 days to mature. For best flavor and texture, harvest tubers after the first autumn frost when the foliage has begun to die down.

Leaves of young sunchoke plant

Jerusalem artichoke planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 8Jan. 10-Mar. 10
Feb. 18Jan. 20-Mar. 20
Feb. 28Feb. 1-Apr. 1
Mar. 10Feb. 10-Apr. 10
Mar. 20Feb. 20-Apr. 20
Mar. 30Mar. 1-May 1
Apr. 10Mar. 10-May 10
Apr. 20Mar. 20-May 20
Apr. 30Apr. 1-June 1
May 10Apr. 10-June 10
May 20Apr. 20-June 10
May 30May 1-June 10
June 10May 10-June 20
Sunchoke tubers at harvest
Sunchoke tubers at harvest

Jerusalem artichoke planting details

  • Sowing depth: Set tubers 6 inches deep
  • Space between plant after thinning: 12 inches (30cm)
  • Days to sprout: 7-12
  • Days to harvest: 120
  • Storage period: 12-24 weeks
  • Seeds per 100-row feet: 15 pounds
  • Yield per 100-row feet: 250 pounds
  • Suggested varieties: American, Improved Mammoth French

Related sunchoke planting articles:

How to Grow Sunchoke

Sunchoke Serving Suggestions

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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