Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

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

(Best months for growing Chicory in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

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.
  • 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

18 Jun 20, John Dykhuizen (Australia - arid climate)
My father grew whitlof every year and never lifted it to my knowledge. He kept covering it with soil
07 Apr 20, Jo (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, I've bought some 'Cicoria variegated Di castelfranco' seeds and wonder whether it's at all possible to put them in my garden bed now? I'm in Melbourne, and new to growing chicory. Any advice is much appreciated! Jo
08 Apr 20, anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
If you go to the blue tab at the top of the page called CLIMATE ZONE you will see you are temperate climate. Then go to CHICORY. Look at the planting guide. About SEP TO DEC. Read the notes about how to grow it.
15 Apr 19, Yolanda Simons (New Zealand - temperate climate)
where can I please purchase witlof plants . Kind regards Yolanda
22 Feb 19, Belg (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Orderings in Chistchurch
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
17 Feb 18, Byndy (Australia - temperate climate)
This is THE most exhaustive how to website for knowing how to force witlofs that I have EVER seen... well done to this guy! https://sjefgardentips.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/24-growing-chicory-endive-belgian-endive-french-endive-witlof-witloof/
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
Showing 1 - 10 of 48 comments

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?

- Te Pi'

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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. GardenGrow 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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