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Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Cichorium
Species: Cichorium intybus


Plant Data
Mature height: 60cm (2ft)
Sow depth: 1.25cm (½in)
Growing plant spacing: 15cm (6in)*
30-45cm (12-18in)**
Growing row spacing: 30cm (12in)
*Forcing varieties. **Non-forcing varieties
References: [1][2]
Hardiness Zones
Ideal Hardiness Zones
· · · · 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ·

Chicory is a bushy perennial herbaceous plant with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers. Various varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots (C. intybus var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive.

Most of the chicory plant can be eaten. Seeds can be used in tomato relishes, ratatouille, curries, apple pies, cakes and marmalade. The leaves can be added fresh to curries, stews salads and sauces or used as a garnish. The stem can be cooked with beans or in soup and the root can be cooked fresh as a vegetable or added to curries.[1]

Planner[edit | edit source]

Sow (Forcing varieties)
Sow (Non-forcing varieties)
Lift (Forcing varieties)
Lift (Non-forcing varieties)



Growing[edit | edit source]

Location[edit | edit source]

Grow in a position that receives full sun.[2] Chicory is not suitable for growing indoors.[1]

Soil[edit | edit source]

Chicory is not fussy about soil type[2], but for best results provide a light, alkaline soil with good depth for roots.[1] Dig the soil in autumn or winter and incorporate compost if the soil is short of humus. Rake a general purpose fertilizer into the seed bed a few days before sowing.[2]

Sowing[edit | edit source]

Sow in early summer[1] in drills 30cm (12in) apart and 1.25cm (½in) deep. Sow thinly and cover with soil.

Aftercare[edit | edit source]

Thin seedlings to 15cm (6in) for forcing varieties or 30-45cm (12-18in) for non-forcing varieties.[2]

Hoe to keep down weeds and water when the weather is dry.[2]

Forcing varieties[edit | edit source]

Lift roots in November. Discard any that have forked or are less than 2.5cm (1in) across at the crown. Cut back the leaves to 2.5cm (1in) above the crown and cut the roots back to 15cm (6in). These can now be kept packed in sand through the winter until you are ready to replant them.[2]

Forcing[edit | edit source]

Replant a few roots at a time between between November and March. Plant 5 in a 23cm (9in) pot in moist peat or compost, leaving the crown exposed. Cover the pot with an empty larger one, covering up any drainage holes in it to prevent light entering. Keep at 10-16°C (50-60°F) to promote chicon formation.[2]

Harvesting[edit | edit source]

Forcing varieties[edit | edit source]

The chicons are ready in approximately 3-4 weeks from the start of forcing, when they are about 15cm (6in) high. Cut just above the crown. If you water the remaining compost and root and replace the cover; smaller secondary chicons will be produced.[2]

Non-forcing varieties[edit | edit source]

Cut heads in late autumn. Use immediately or store in a cool shed for later use. Provide frost protection over plants, such as fleece or straw, if they are not to be cut until the winter.[2]

References[edit | edit source]


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
  1. a b c d e Bremness, L. (1988). The Complete Book of Herbs. Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London. p.68.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k Hessayon, D.G. (2009). The Vegetable & Herb Expert. Transworld Publishers, London. p. 50. ISBN 9780903505468