Helianthus tuberosus


Jerusalem Artichoke

A herbaceous sunflower-like plant from 1.8 - 4 metres tall, with grey foliage, and large potato-like tubers that have a sweet nut-like taste. Their flowers are large and colourful.


The tubers are a nutritious (vitamin rich), low calorie, starch free, substitute for potatoes.

They can be left in the ground, and lifted as required. They will not store well once lifted. Don't eat sprouting tubers. out 10 plants are required to supply an average family. Some people claim that this vegetable causes flatulence.



Jerusalem artichokes prefer a sunny position, with day temperatures of between 19-27°C, and do not like excessive heat; they will grow well in tropical conditions in the shade; they are very frost hardy. 

Most soils are suitable, but they should be heavily manured and fertilised before planting. 

Extra applications of sugar waste or bone dust may be valuable as phosphorus is very important.  Adjust pH to around 6.5 by adding lime to offset the effect of any manure or organic matter.  They are Intolerant to higher than normal boron levels in the soil. Nutrients are as for globe artichoke but much higher phosphorus.

Harvest 3 to 4 months after planting.


Plant tubers in winter or spring when weather is reaching daily maximums between 15°C and 18°C. Plant at 30 cm spacing and 60 – 100 cm between rows; the tubers can be planted as for potatoes, with cleanly cut sections of tuber each containing one or more shoots (eyes).

Soil should be mounded around plants as they develop. The growth of Jerusalem Artichokes should be controlled as they can spread rapidly. Shading may be necessary in hot climates. Remove flowering shoots.



Commercial Vegetable Growing course through Australian Correspondence School, see http://www.acsgarden.com/Courses/crops-courses.aspx


Plant Health

Jerusalem artichoke is a very hardy plant, with usually few pests except for occasional slugs and snails.

Fungal rots, particularly Sclerotium rolfsii are difficult to control once they attack.

More info

Harvest 4 weeks after flower buds start or 3 to 4 months after planting when foliage dies down.