Common Name Jerusalem Artichoke
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rich and damp thickets[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Minnesota and Kansas. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Helianthus tuberosus is a PERENNIAL growing to 2.4 m (7ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.


Helianthus tuberosus Jerusalem Artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus Jerusalem Artichoke
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Sweetener.

Tubers - raw or cooked[2, 46, 61, 95]. The tuber develops a pleasant sweetness during the winter, especially if subjected to frosts, and is then reasonably acceptable raw[K]. Otherwise it is generally best cooked, and can be used in all the ways that potatoes are used[K]. The tubers are rich in inulin[46], a starch which the body cannot digest, so Jerusalem artichokes provide a bulk of food without many calories[K]. Some people are not very tolerant of inulin, it tends to ferment in their guts and can cause quite severe wind[K]. The tubers are fairly large, up to 10cm long and 6cm in diameter[200]. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture rapidly so are best left in the ground and harvested as required[200]. The inulin from the roots can be converted into fructose, a sweet substance that is safe for diabetics to use[46, 171]. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Aperient;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenetic, stomachic, and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism[269].
Other Uses

The plants are a good source of biomass. The tubers are used in industry to make alcohol etc[141]. The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets[269]. A fast-growing plant, Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as a temporary summer screen[200]. Very temporary, it is July before they reach a reasonable height and by October they are dying down[K].
Cultivation details                                         
A very easily grown plant, it grows best in a loose circumneutral loam but succeeds in most soils and conditions in a sunny position[1, 16, 37, 38, 269]. Plants are more productive when grown in a rich soil[1, 37, 38]. Heavy soils produce the highest yields, but the tubers are easily damaged at harvest-time so lighter well-drained sandy loams are more suitable[200]. Dislikes shade[1]. Likes some lime in the soil[16]. Jerusalem artichoke is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 31 to 282cm, an average annual temperature of 6.3 to 26.6°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2[269]. Jerusalem artichokes were cultivated as a food plant by the N. American Indians and they are today often grown in temperate areas for their edible tubers. There are some named varieties[4, 46, 183, 200]. The plant is a suitable crop in any soil and climate where corn (Zea mays) will grow. It survives in poor soil and in areas as cold as Alaska. It also tolerates hot to sub-zero temperatures[269]. The first frost kills the stems and leaves, but the tubers can withstand freezing for months[269]. The plants are particularly suited to dry regions and poor soils where they will out-yield potatoes[200]. Tuber production occurs in response to decreasing day-length in late summer[200]. Yields range from 1 - 2kg per square metre[200]. The tubers are very cold-tolerant and can be safely left in the ground in the winter to be harvested as required. They can be attacked by slugs, however, and in sites prone to slug damage it is probably best to harvest the tubers in late autumn and store them over the winter. It is almost impossible to find all the tubers at harvest time, any left in the soil will grow away vigorously in the spring. Plants do not flower in northern Europe. They are sensitive to day-length hours, requiring longer periods of light from seedling to maturation of plant, and shorter periods for tuber formation. They do not grow where day-lengths vary little[269]. The plant is good weed eradicator, it makes so dense a shade that few other plants can compete[269]. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, plants can be totally destroyed by them[K]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. Plants only produce flowers in Britain after a long hot summer[17] and seed is rarely formed[200]. Grows well with corn[20]. Plants can be invasive[1].

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Harvest the tubers in late autumn or the winter and either replant the tubers immediately or store them in a cool but frost-free place and plant them out in early spring.

Jerusalem artichoke is propagated by tubers, which should be planted as early as possible in the spring when the soil can be satisfactorily worked[269]. Late planting usually reduces tuber yields and size seriously. Whole tubers or pieces about 50 g (2 oz.) should be planted like potatoes and covered to a depth of 10 cm. Pieces larger than 50 g do not increase the yield, though those smaller will decrease it. Deeper planting may delay emergence, weaken the sprouts, and cause the tubers to develop deeper, making harvest more difficult[269]. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Additional information for Jerusalem Artichoke


Jerusalem artichoke tubers

Jerusalem artichoke tubers

Common name  sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple
Botanical name  Helianthus tuberosus
Details  Easy to grow, highly productive plant that needs little care or watering. Produces tall leafy stems above ground and masses of knobbly, edible tubers.
Seeds / nuts / tubers  
Price  $5.90  3 tubers
Out of stock


Winter plant propagation by division

June 30, 2020
Clone or duplicate plants by dividing. May also be useful to reinvigorate or restart aging plants.
The exact process will differ for each species but generally involves digging up part or all of the plant, carefully separating or cutting rooted sections before removing most of the leaf surface area and replanting in new locations. Post care includes watering and weeding as required.
  June   July   August