It’s time to plant sunchokes; email me if you want some

sunchoke plants at harvest time
My sunchokes were short this year, about only three feet tall, but I got a good harvest of the roots. The leaves are dying, so it’s time to harvest the tubers (roots) and eat them or plant them. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I have sunchokes that I will share for free, but there’s one catch. You have to pick them up or get someone you know to pick them up. I just don’t want to have to mail them.

I’m in the Eggertsville area of Amherst. If you don’t get out this way, you probably have a neighbor or cousin or coworker who does.

If you’d like some sunchokes, email me at so we can arrange for a time for you to pick them up.

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes, are very cool plants that can grow 10 feet tall in one season, then get small yellow flowers. Not only that, you can eat the root! Read about sunchokes here and see how cool they can look.

Yes, you can plant sunchokes now. Plant them before the ground freezes.

Better yet, plant them in a pot outside because this native plant spreads easily. Very easily. Even if you aim to harvest all the roots, you’ll miss some and have sunchokes popping up where you didn’t want them.

I recommend growing them in containers. I’ve done this before and had good luck.

This year my plants were short, maybe three feet tall, and they didn’t flower. However, my harvest was good. I’ve harvested from only one of my two pots and have probably enough sunchokes for six servings, with enough to plant some for next year, too. (I still have another pot to harvest, so I have plenty to share.)

I think the reason the plants stayed smallish and I didn’t get flowers this year was because I tried to squeeze too many into a pot. This year I am planting only 12 tubers (roots) in a 15-inch pot.

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013
It’s nice when the sunchoke grows tall and gets flowers, as it did in a previous year. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

The other reason I think the plants were stunted was because I disturbed them early in the year by digging some out of one container and transplanting them into the second. Even so, I had a good harvest. These plants are easy to grow!

If you grew sunchokes in previous years, please leave a comment and let us know how they worked out for you. And if you have a favorite way to prepare them, please let us know that, too.







13 Comments on “It’s time to plant sunchokes; email me if you want some

  1. Barbara, it does take a long time to dig up a plot of sunchokes in the ground. It goes much faster when the sunchokes are in pots.

  2. My husband planted these in our backyard and side yards. So much foliage and then small pretty daisy-like flowers at the very end of the summer.
    But as mentioned before…very invasive. We dug them up and it took days!!!! Cooked them and made soup which was very good but wouldn’t plant them again unless they were in pots.

  3. Anita, there may be plants that are mistaken for sunchokes. I wouldn’t eat anything if I wasn’t sure what it was. You might want to contact the Master Gardeners in your area to help you identify your plant. If you do have sunchokes, you eat the root. You can eat it raw or cooked. You could slice them and saute them with garlic and onion. There are lots of recipes online. I hope that helps.

  4. Are there plants that look like sunchokes? If what I have are sunchokes they have heaved up my driveway edges! Didn’t know the roots are edible, how do you prepare them?

  5. Martha, I got mine from a plant swap, too. I think it was at Audubon Library. I will email you to make arrangements for picking one up.

  6. Linda, I should have mentioned that in the article. Yes, when you plant them in a container, they need a lot of water! If the tubers were smaller when you harvested than when you planted, perhaps you harvested too early. Wait until the leaves are dead. The only other thing I can think of is to make sure your container has good drainage. I have plenty of tubers to share, so you can experiment and see what works best.

  7. Linda B, I’m glad the sunchokes did well for you– Yes, they are difficult to keep in one spot! A lot of people love sunchokes, so find someone who will enjoy them and you’ll make their day.

  8. i might have these……very invasive…..I CALL THEM MYSTERY FLOWER

    I WOULD LIKE TO DIG UP A FEW AND SEE IF I have tubers. years ago you gave me some..but they did not grow..

  9. I planted potato sized tubers in a barrel planter. They grew about 3 feet tall but did not produce flowers. I was surprised at how much water they needed. I was also surprised that when I harvested them I had a few tubers each about the size of a large almond. Did they need more water or could I have done something else to get a better harvest?

  10. Got some of these from Connie a few years ago and planted them in the ground- not a good idea; they DO tend to take over an area. Our plants grew very tall this year and flowered beautifully. Tried cooking them last year and it was a wasted effort….not very tasty at all

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