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Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

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

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

S = Plant undercover in seed trays 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 50°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 10 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 16-24 weeks. Will need forcing before final harvest.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, onions, Florence fennel, tomatoes.
  • Forced (blanched) witloof
    Forced (blanched) witloof

Harvest - to prepare to store for forcing at around 4-5 months . The second stage, blanching will take 8 - 12 weeks. To Blanch:- Lift the plants and cut off the leaves about 5cm (2in) above the roots. Shorten the roots to about 20-25cm (8-10in) and replant close together (3-5cm apart)in a pot filled with loose soil. Keep damp but not soggy. Cover to exclude light and keep out of the sunlight, but not below 10 C (50 F)

Exclude light until you use the witloof, if it goes green it will be bitter.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chicory

Good in salads
Grill lightly with butter
Bake with ham and cheese

Your comments and tips

23 Aug 17, Mario Skapin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I bought the seeds from "ITALIAN GARDENER" they are situated in Adelaide, find it on google by the name, they are very obliging and helpful, and they have a mobile number on site that you can call. I bought Radicchio,Salad mix, Cicoria Zucherina di Trieste, witlof and other seeds from them. i am starting to do the final stage with witlof now hope it works. Cheers Mario
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
16 Aug 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Another gourmet delight born of a quirk of history is forced chicory. Like rhubarb, chicory can be ‘forced’ by removing mature roots to a warm, dark place in order to coax them into rapid and early growth. Why? Because what follows is a more tender, sweeter and altogether sumptuous experience than would otherwise be had. It’s a dark art, but a magnificent one!
21 Aug 17, Mario Skapin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Thank you Mike will do a little more by reading different sites to get a broader look at it. Do you grow witlof yourself. i have eaten it and is truly delicious so i want to make sure it is all good. Thank you again
16 Aug 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Go to a website called growveg.com.au - tells about forcing chicory. Go to different websites and read about it and blanching. Sounds like you are on the right track with it. I wouldn't fertilise it and light watering maybe. Google it and read up. Good luck.
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.
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 ;-)
Showing 1 - 10 of 41 comments

I bought the seeds from "ITALIAN GARDENER" they are situated in Adelaide, find it on google by the name, they are very obliging and helpful, and they have a mobile number on site that you can call. I bought Radicchio,Salad mix, Cicoria Zucherina di Trieste, witlof and other seeds from them. i am starting to do the final stage with witlof now hope it works. Cheers Mario

- Mario Skapin

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