How to grow chicory?

Endive is one of those plants that cannot be missing in any garden, nor in patios or balconies. And it is that, due to their size, they can be grown wherever you want: both in the ground and in a pot. So if you thought you couldn’t grow anything on your balcony… you should know that you can prepare delicious salads with this plant.

If you want to have an excellent harvest, don’t miss this special about one of the most interesting vegetables.


  • 1 Endive characteristics
  • 2 How is it grown?
    • 2.1 Sowing
    • 2.2 Transplantation
      • 2.2.1 Move to a larger pot
      • 2.2.2 Planting in the garden
    • 2.3 Subscriber
    • 2.4 Pests and diseases
      • 2.4.1 Pests
      • 2.4.2 Diseases
    • 2.5 Collection and conservation
  • 3 What is forced?
  • 4 Endive uses
    • 4.1 Culinary uses
      • 4.1.1 How to prepare stuffed endives?
      • 4.1.2 How to prepare endives with Roquefort?
    • 4.2 Medicinal properties

Endive Characteristics

Cichorium endive

Our protagonist is known by the scientific name of Cichorium endivia , and by the common ones of Chicory de Bruxelles, Endive or Endive, the latter two both in the singular and in the plural. It is believed to originate from the Mediterranean Region, although it is still not clear. It is a plant with an annual cycle, that is, it germinates, grows, bears fruit and withers in one year, or biennial, dedicating the first year to growth and the second to flowering, fruiting and drying.

It forms a rosette up to 40 centimeters in diameter with entire, dark green to light yellow leaves. The flowers, which bloom in spring, appear on stems that can measure up to 1 meter in height, with a diameter of up to 2cm, with lilac-bluish petals.

The heart of the plant, endive itself, has a cylindrical shape, ending in a point. It is composed of overlapping white leaves with yellow tips. It measures 8-9 centimeters long and about 3cm in diameter. It is edible, since its flavor is sweet and very refreshing, as well as having interesting nutritional and medicinal properties, as we will see later.

Two types are distinguished, depending on their cultivation:

  • Forced Endives – Produce buds from roots that are kept in the dark during the winter months. They have an elongated shape and are compact.
  • Endives not forced: they are the ones that are harvested in autumn.

Also, there are three different varieties:

  • Early : the growing season begins in September and ends on October 15, like the early Everé, Secundo or Tor.
  • Medium cycle : the growing months are May and June. Some examples are Mazurka or Turbo.
  • Late : they are the ones that best withstand storage in the fridge, such as Norvita, Rumbo or Jazz.

How is it grown?

endive seedlings


If you want to grow these vegetables at home, the first thing you will need is to buy a packet of seeds in the spring. Once you have them, follow this simple step by step:

  1. Fill the seedbed (seedling trays, or milk or yoghurt containers) with universal growing medium mixed with 20% perlite.
  2. Next, water it, so that it is well soaked.
  3. Then place a maximum of two seeds in each alveolus.
  4. Cover them with a bit of substrate, so they can’t blow away if the wind blows a bit.
  5. And finally, water.

Put the seedbed in an area where it receives direct sunlight, if possible throughout the day, and keep the substrate moist -but not waterlogged-. You will see how the first ones will begin to germinate in two weeks.


When the seedlings have a manageable size (measuring more or less about 5cm in height), it will be time to move them to larger pots or to the garden. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

Move to a larger pot

  1. Carefully remove the seedlings.
  2. Remove the substrate from around its roots only if you can. In the event that you see that they are very close together, keep the seedling that you see the healthiest.
  3. Fill a 20cm diameter pot with universal growing medium mixed with 20% perlite.
  4. Make a small hole -with your fingers or with a wooden stick- about 3cm deep.
  5. Introduce the seedling in it, and cover its roots with substrate.
  6. Water.

When you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, transfer it to a pot about 40cm in diameter.

Plant in the garden

  1. The first thing to do is prepare the ground, removing the stones and fertilizing it with manure.
  2. Next, you have to make trenches about 20cm deep.
  3. Then, plant the seedlings so that they are about 40cm apart.
  4. And finally water.


It is very important to fertilize the plants so that they can grow well. In the case of endives, you should use foliar fertilizers that you will find for sale in any nursery or garden center. You can also make homemade foliar fertilizers.

Plagues and diseases


They are quite sturdy, but can have these problems:


  • Slugs – They love young leaves. They can be removed with any of these remedies .
  • Gray worms : they are butterfly larvae that eat at night, and during the day they are buried in the ground. They measure about 4cm long, and attack the base of the stems, so that the plants appear lopsided. They can be eliminated with pyrethrins, or with Chlorpyrifos, carefully reading the instructions.



Mildew is a disease transmitted by fungi that affects all parts of the plant: leaves, stems, where yellow spots will appear on the upper side and as a white powder on the underside, as you can see in the image above.

It is treated with systemic fungicides , although it can be prevented by avoiding soaking the leaves and using a substrate that has good drainage. In addition, it is advisable to remove the weeds that grow around it.

Collection and conservation

In autumn, a few days before harvesting, they are bleached by covering them with a paper cone. After a week or ten days, you can cut them about 2-3cm from the root neck.

As soon as you have them, clean them with water and put them in a transparent plastic bag with some holes in the fridge. But don’t take too long to consume them: after a week they start to go bad.

What is forced?

Forcing is a technique by which it is intended to make a plant, in this case endive, mature faster than would be normal, either because temperatures begin to drop a lot, or for commercial reasons. It is done the following way:

During the autumn, after harvesting the endives, the roots are uprooted and the culms are removed to later keep them in boxes with very loose soil . They are watered, and put in a dark place covered with opaque plastic.

After 30 days, you will see that some very tender buds begin to emerge. Well, you can cut these as you need them.

Uses of endives


These are very nutritious vegetables, so much so that they have proteins, vitamins, phosphorus, sodium… I think I’d better leave you their chemical composition:

Water 94%
Carbohydrates 3.5% (fiber 0.8%)
Proteins 1.2%
Lipids 0.1%
Potassium 200 mg/100 g
Calcium 20 mg/100 g
Sodium 8 mg/100 g
Phosphorus 25 mg/100 g
Vitamin C 10 mg/100 g
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg/100 g
Vitamin B2 0.2 mg/100 g

culinary uses


Image – Casita Sitges

It is used to make salads, such as Xató , which is a typical dish from Catalonia, specifically from the Garraf and Penedés areas. It has endives (or escaroles), cod, anchovies, tuna and arbequina olives, and is dressed with a romesco-type sauce based on tomatoes, ñoras, garlic, almonds and hazelnuts.

In France it is consumed with sauces made from roquefort or mustard.

How to prepare stuffed endives?

If you want to try some delicious stuffed endives, take note:


  1. big endive
  2. 1/2 green bell pepper
  3. 1/2 red bell pepper
  4. 1/2 purple onion
  5. 1 tomato
  6. 1 can of tuna
  7. 5 pitted black olives
  8. 5 cherry tomatoes
  9. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  10. 2 pickles
  11. 10 capers
  12. 1/2 carrot
  13. Olive oil
  14. Vinegar
  15. Salt

Step by Step

  1. The first thing to do is finely chop the tomato, onion, and peppers.
  2. Then, put everything in a container, and add the tuna, a teaspoon of oregano, olive oil and salt.
  3. We mix everything well.
  4. Now, we defoliate the endive and place it on a plate.
  5. Then, we fill each leaf with the preparation.
  6. Next, we put the half carrot, the pickles and the capers in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and blend everything with the blender.
  7. Then, we pour the sauce over the endives.
  8. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in the center, so that they form a circle.
  9. Finally, finely chopped black olives and basil leaves can be added.

How to prepare endives with roquefort?

And if what you want is to try endives with Roquefort cheese, take note:


  • 3 or 4 French endives
  • 200 grams of blue cheese
  • 200 grams of shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of cream to cook
  • ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

Step by Step

  1. First you have to cut the leaves, and clean them a little with water. Then let them dry.
  2. In a saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and the Roquefort cheese over low heat. When it has melted, add the cream, and stir well so that everything is well mixed, and turn off the heat.
  3. Now, place the walnuts on the leaves of the endives, and distribute the Roquefort cheese inside each of them.

Medicinal properties


Endives contain lactucin and coumarin, which are substances with anti- inflammatory action . In addition, it helps regulate blood sugar levels , and can lower cholesterol levels .

Thanks to its high content of vitamin C, it strengthens the immune system . And, as if that were not enough, being rich in fiber, it combats constipation.

How to grow chicory?

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