Grow Chicory Easily With These Helpful Tips

Growing Chicory

Growing Chicory

Chicory is a type of leafy green vegetable with a somewhat bitter taste that is popularly added to salads, sandwiches, and other recipes. It boasts a whole host of nutritional benefits which make it an attractive option for those looking to add more healthy ingredients to their diet. If you're considering growing chicory in your own garden, then read on for some helpful tips that will make sure your crop is successful!

Grow Chicory Easily With These Helpful Tips

Choose the Right Variety

Consider your climate and purpose for growing chicory before selecting a variety. Common chicory is versatile, while radicchio adds color and bitterness to salads.

Prepare the Soil

Ensure well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Remove weeds and rocks, then mix in compost to improve fertility. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

Sow Seeds or Transplant Seedlings

Sow chicory seeds directly in the garden in early spring or late summer. Alternatively, start seedlings indoors, then transplant them outdoors once the danger of frost has passed.

Provide Adequate Sunlight

Chicory thrives in full sun, so choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Ensure proper spacing between plants for optimal growth.

Water Regularly

Keep the soil evenly moist during germination and establishment. Afterward, water deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and prevent rot.

Maintain Weed Control

Chicory is susceptible to weed competition, so regularly remove weeds by hand or with a shallow hoe. Mulching can also help suppress weed growth.

Harvesting and Storage

Harvest chicory leaves when they reach the desired size, usually around 6-8 inches in length. Cut outer leaves, leaving the inner leaves to grow for a continuous harvest. Store in a refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tools and Supplies Needed:

  • Garden trowel
  • Compost or organic matter
  • Chicory seeds or seedlings
  • Garden hoe
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears

Chicory is a versatile, tasty, and nutrient-rich herb that can bring a touch of flavor to any dish. And if you're looking for a way to add this healthy addition to your diet, growing chicory at home is a great option. Fortunately, chicory is a surprisingly easy to grow plant, requiring minimal effort but delivering great results! Here are a few helpful tips to get started.

Choose Your Variety

Chicory is a diverse plant that can come in several shapes, sizes, and colors. When choosing your variety, consider what you will be using the chicory for. For salads, consider light-colored chicory, like endive or radicchio. For a more robust flavor, opt for varieties like french endive, puntarelle, and lacinato kale. If you're growing for tea, try chicory root.

Prepare The Soil

When preparing your soil for chicory, it's important to provide good drainage, as well as plenty of nutrients. Incorporate compost, peat moss, and manure into the soil 1-2 weeks before planting. pH should be maintained at 6-7 for best results. Make sure the soil is free from rocks, weeds, and other debris.

Planting & Growing

Chicory loves the sun, so choose a plot that gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Plant your chicory seeds ¼ - ½ inch deep, 2-3 inches apart. Water regularly and maintain consistent moisture levels, but avoid over-watering. Once your chicory grows to 6-8 inches, thin out the plants so they have adequate room to grow. If desired, you can add a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and keep out weeds.


The best time to harvest depends on the variety of chicory you choose. For some varieties, such as endive and escarole, constricting the bulb with rubber bands helps encourage the growth of a tighter head. For radicchio and other varieties, wait until the leaves fully mature and turn reddish-purple. When harvesting, cut the plant just above the base to keep it from re-sprouting. If using chicory for tea, the root can be harvested after three months.

Enjoy Growing Chicory!

Growing chicory is a great way to take advantage of the many benefits this versatile herb has to offer. With the right preparation and care, you can easily have a thriving garden of chicory at home. Give it a try and enjoy the delicious flavor of fresh-picked chicory!

Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Chicory

1. What is Chicory?

Chicory, scientifically known as Cichorium intybus, is a popular plant in the Asteraceae family. It is primarily grown for its edible leaves, roots, and colorful flowers. Chicory plants are known for their bitter taste and are commonly used in salads, soups, and as a coffee substitute.

2. How do I grow Chicory from seeds?

To grow chicory from seeds, start by preparing a well-draining soil in a sunny location. Sow the seeds directly into the soil, spacing them about 8 to 12 inches apart. Lightly sprinkle some soil over the seeds and keep the area moist until germination occurs, which usually takes 10 to 14 days. Thin the seedlings to allow proper spacing and provide regular watering and fertilization to ensure healthy growth.

3. Can I grow Chicory in containers?

Absolutely! Chicory can be successfully grown in containers, making it an excellent option for those with limited garden space. Choose a large, deep container to accommodate the long taproot of mature chicory plants. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, sow the seeds, and follow the same care instructions as for in-ground cultivation. Ensure the container receives adequate sunlight and water to promote robust growth.

4. How long does it take for Chicory to mature?

Chicory generally takes about 60 to 80 days to reach maturity, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions. However, you can start harvesting the young leaves for salads or as microgreens after around 30 days. For a full harvest of mature chicory roots, wait until the plants have reached their full growth potential.

5. How do I harvest Chicory?

To harvest chicory leaves, simply cut or pinch off the outer leaves as needed, leaving the inner ones to continue growing. For harvesting chicory roots, dig them out carefully using a garden fork or shovel, taking care not to damage the roots. After harvesting, rinse off any soil, trim the leaves, and store the roots in a cool, dark place to maintain their quality.

6. Are there any pests or diseases that affect Chicory?

Chicory plants are relatively resistant to many common pests and diseases. However, they can occasionally be affected by aphids, slugs, and snails. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation and take appropriate measures like using organic pesticides or handpicking the pests. Proper watering, good air circulation, and maintaining overall plant health can help prevent disease issues.

7. Can I grow Chicory year-round?

Chicory is a cool-season crop that thrives in spring and fall. It prefers temperatures between 60 to 65°F (15-18°C). However, depending on your climate zone, you may be able to extend the growing season by using protective measures like row covers or moving containers indoors. In warmer regions, it's best to grow chicory as a fall crop to avoid heat stress.

8. Is Chicory a good companion plant?

Chicory is a great companion plant as it aids in improving the growth and flavor of adjacent crops. Planting chicory alongside lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens can help deter pests and attract beneficial insects. Additionally, chicory's long taproot can help break up compacted soil, thereby improving soil structure for neighboring plants.

With these helpful tips, growing chicory in your garden can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Happy gardening!

Growing chicory can be a great way to get more zinc, vitamin C, and iron in your diet. Plus, it's easy to cultivate, adding color and texture to any garden or landscaping. Not only can chicory benefit your health, but it can also be a beautiful addition to any outdoor area, converting any dull space into a vibrant paradise. Growing chicory can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, no matter how experienced or inexperienced the gardener. So why not give it a go?

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