Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

Cichorium intybus : Asteraceae / the daisy family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P P              

(Best months for growing Chicory in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 25 - 30 cm apart
  • Harvest in 16-24 weeks. Will need forcing before final harvest.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, onions, Florence fennel, tomatoes.

Your comments and tips

21 Mar 23, GodsChild17 (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Chicory is used as a coffee substitute, you use the roots of the plant. People used it this way during the Great Depression. Yes you absolutely can grow any plant you want to grow just make sure to plant things for your zone at the right time of the year… every page at the top has a click down menu so you can pick your growing zone and choose whatever plant you’re wanting to grow. Also you can always go to Google and type in zone 9A planting guide and then at the top click images and there is a ton of printable guides…. Also the back of every seed packet tells you also.
24 Aug 16, Peter Reynders (Australia - temperate climate)
Witlof: The Gardenate webpage shows (seed? or seedling -) planting in the diagram to be in June and July . (For Sub-Tropical Australia only - Check other areas: Liz) The above Verbruggen story from Belgium ( quite good) indicates sowing in May. That equates with Australia to about October/November. Q: Can that be changed? Seeds collecting from ones own plants is also indicated there. The root tips cut of for forcing can also be planted in the garden as they also sprout if just at the surface. They may bloom and seed as well. Seed is usually not available in shopping centre seeds racks. But in seed racks of larger nurseries they often are. PR
27 Aug 16, Geoff (Australia - temperate climate)
Chicory, including the red variety called radicchio in Australia, is a very diverse group of plants from small and mid-sized pale and dark green varieties grown for their leaves and stems, variegated red and green heading varieties to red heading varieties with white ribs such as the classic Treviso, palla rossa, rossa di Verona etc. There are also varieties, including witloof or Belgian endive (actually a chicory) that near maturity leaves are cut off at ground level and the roots either lifted and replanted in a dark area such as a cellar or covered by a light-excluding bucket or the like. the shoots are white or pale coloured because they are grown in the dark. Grumolo varieties of chicory are treated similarly, except they are grown with full light exposure after cutting and develop the most attractive rosettes of either red or green leaves. Small cutting chicories such as zuccherina di Trieste can be grown all but mid summer in temperate zones, while the larger varieties, particularly the heading varieties need to mature in cool or cold weather so need to be planted in mid to late summer. Think of them as savoy cabbages or Brussel sprouts.
16 Jan 17, Wilbur van Wyk (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I live in Pretoria and want to know where i can purchase witloof seeds I will appreciate any information Regards Wilbur
18 Jan 17, Te Pi' (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, I had red lettuce seeds now it appears I actually have some type of dark-red leaved chicory, its very bitter as a lettuce lol, would anyone be able to give me an idea of what variety this might be? Can Chicory and lettuce cross breed at all? Does anyone want some seeds to try out if they germinate etc after harvest?
20 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It appears your 'red lettuce' is aactually Radicchio which has a hot peppery taste. It is generally loved by Italians and there are many recipes on the internet for its use. If it is grown fast with less light it is likely to be les bitter. Sorry I can't help you more. Trust this helps.
01 Feb 17, anna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
well hot peppery does not quite describe the flavour in my eyes. it´s bitter and tangy, needs some getting used to for raw consumption. one of my favourite recipies is risotto with radiicchio or simply slicing it thinnly, add oil, a splash of balsamic/lemon or wine and top with grated blue vain cheese,put under grill for 10 or until tender- eat with toasted white bread ;-)
05 Feb 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
Would love to grow witlof /chicory where can I buy the seeds, I live in PE, thanks
06 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Eden Seeds have chicory seed. I'm not sure whether they are in far northern NSW or SEQld but you will find them on the internet.
15 Aug 17, Mario Skapin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
i planted about 40 seeds of witlof in the beginning of April and the leaves are between 400 and 600 mm high i understand that it should be around 5 months before forcing is done, i don't fully understand the term forcing or blanching what does it mean can someone please explain this to me and also what is the simplest way to do this final stage of witlof growth cycle. can it be done in the garden where they grow? my understanding is that the the complete witlof be taken from the ground and the leave cut off about 50mm from the root and the root to be cut to about 250mm and then replanted within 30mm of each other and covered to exclude daylight for about 12 weeks. does it need watering or fertilising while this last process takes place please help as i would almost cry if all this work to date is wasted Thank you Mario
Showing 31 - 40 of 65 comments

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