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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

jerusalem artichoke

Other Common Names Include:

Tuberous sunflower, sunchoke

Latin Name: Helianthus tuberosus

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), globe artichoke

Uses and Markets: Culinary (edible tubers).  Inulin from tubers and stalks has various applications, including: industrial (bioplastics); natural health product industry (soluble fibre); bioenergy (bio-ethanol)

Maturing Jerusalem artichokes in bloomTubers of Jerusalem artichokeStalks of Jerusalem artichoke
Production Life Cycle in Ontario

Perennial; harvested annually.

Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Volunteer Jerusalem artichokes are very competitive and volunteers in following crops can be a problem.

Propagation method

Tubers planted at a depth of 10-15 cm.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Early spring (seed tubers).

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

30-60 cm

Between row spacing

45 – 120 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Italy and China suggests an optimal nitrogen rate of 25 to 50 kg/ha. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well drained soils.

Soil pH

4.5 – 8.2, prefers slight alkalinity.

Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Below 5°C tubers become dormant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest

Cultivar dependent, typically 125 days.

Specialized equipment

Potato Planter, Potato Harvester.

Harvest Scheduling

Single Harvest (late fall)

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine Harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades.

Additional Harvest Notes

Remove tops after first frost, prior to tuber harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Minimal handling to avoid injury and bruising.  Proper storage needed to minimize crop loss. 

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95%

Temperature: 0-2°C (fresh herb)

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 4-5 months

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Slugs*

Diseases: Powdery mildew; Sclerotinia rot - postharvest (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, S. minor)


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates:

Diseases: Rust* (e.g. Puccinia helianthi), stem blights (especially Sclerotium rolfsii*), sclerotinia wilt/rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, S. minor), bacterial leaf chlorosis* (Pseudomonas syringae), postharvest fungal and bacterial rots*(e.g. Erwinia carotovora, Fusarium spp., Botrytis cinearia, Rhizopus stolonifer, R. tritici, S. rolfsii, S. sclerotiorum)

Other: Birds, deer, rabbits

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: powdery mildew. Varieties differ in susceptibility to various pests, including powdery mildew. This crop is susceptible to many of the same pests as sunflower. This crop is in Crop Group 1: Root and Tuber Vegetables Group, subgroup 1C: Tuberous and Corm Vegetables Subgroup and subgroup 1D: Tuberous and Corm Vegetables (Except Potato) Subgroup. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.         

Powdery mildew on Jerusalem artichoke plant
Additional Notes

Tubers left in the ground will provide growth for next season’s crop, but must be aggressively controlled (e.g. early season mowing), if growth is not desired.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A., J. Todd, and C. Bakker. 2010. Agronomic research on Jerusalem artichoke. University of Guelph, unpublished.
  2. Todd, J. A. McKeown, E Elford, C. Briens, L. Rehmann, P. Charpentier and F. Berutti.  2011.  Valorization of Alternative Ontario Crops: High Value Biofuels and Bio-Chemicals from Jerusalem Artichoke via Extraction, Fermentation and Pyrolysis.  University of Guelph, University of Western Ontario and OMAFRA.  Unpublished
  1. Kai, G., TieXia, Z. and H. GuoDong. 2011. Water and nitrogen interactively increased the biomass production of Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) in semi-arid area. African Journal of Biotechnology 10: 6466-6472.
  2. Kay, Stanley J., and Nottingham, Stephen F. 2008. Biology and Chemistry of Jerusalem Artichoke Helianthus tuberous L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  3. Losavio, N., Lamascese, N., Chartzoulakis, K.S. and A.V. Vonella. 1997. Water requirements and nitrogen fertilization in Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) grown under Mediterranean conditions. Acta Horticulturae 449: 205-209.
  4. OMAF and MRA. 1994.  Jerusalem Artichoke Factsheet.
  5. OMAF and MRA. 2003. Ontario Weeds: Jerusalem artichoke.
  6. Schulthesis, Jonathen R. 1999. Growing Jerusalem Artichokes. NC State University: Horticulture Information Leaflets.
  7. Whiteford, Philip C. 1973. Jerusalem Artichoke: A Versatile Food and Cover Plant. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 4:30-31