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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.

Your comments and tips

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
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.
18 Jun 16, james kwon (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Is available at my area? what is this vegi good for?
30 May 16, (Australia - temperate climate)
where can I buy witloof around Perth?
19 Mar 16, John de Kleuver (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Chicory - Witloof. I live in northern NSW and my planting guide says plant chicory seed in March. Plants have all germinated and I will transplant to 20cm apart. Just want to know how high they may grow? And at what time should I pull up roots and "force" them? Thankyou John
22 Aug 17, Mario Skapin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi John I planted my seeds on the 4th of april and they are now 400-600 mm high will do the next stage this week, this is my first time so i hope it works out cheers Mario
14 Mar 16, Leonarda vlaanderen (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
we love witloof We came from Holland been in Australia for 50 Years would love to grow it Or try Where can I get the seeds?
03 Apr 16, Genevieve (Australia - temperate climate)
Can get the seeds from The Seed Collection, an online business based in Victoria
11 May 15, Sylvia Payze (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hello, I bought Belgian Endive seeds whilst in Germany, and want to start growing them. I don't think they will be ready for June, as the whole process seems to take quite long, but when looking at the above instructions, I have no idea what is meant by Forcing and Blanching. Could yopu please write on how to grow Chicoree / Endive from seeds, and what to do about keeping out the sun to prevent bittering. Kind regards, Sylvia
Showing 11 - 20 of 41 comments

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

- Mario Skapin

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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