If you live in a warmer climate, you can grow artichoke plants as a perennial. Since I live in Pittsburgh, I have to grow artichokes as an annuals.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a variety. If you have to grow it as an annual, then look for a maturity date under 90 days. Since I like to get the biggest bang for my buck, I look at the number of buds and their size. As color may be important, you have the choice of green or purple buds.
High Mowing offers two that fit my criteria Tavor and Wonder F1. Tavor is an improved Imperial Star Hybrid. The plant is “nearly” spineless and yields 7-8 uniform artichokes that average 4 1/2 inches. The artichoke buds are green with purple tips. While I have grown Tavor in the past, Wonder F1 offers larger 5″ dense buds, the plant is spineless and is said to be high yielding.
Territorial Seed Company and Johnny’s Selected Seeds offer the variety called Imperial Star. This plant provides one to two primary heads that average 4 inches in diameter and up to 7 smaller secondary heads.
If you want to add some purple to your garden, check out Colorado Star from Johnny’s.