Endive Growing Guide

All you need to know to grow successfully!

Plant Family:
Plant Type:

Square Foot Spacing:

Typical Season:
Cool season
Typical Zones Grown In:
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Growing Difficulty:

Endive is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. It has a slightly bitter taste and is commonly used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish. Endive leaves are elongated and have a curly or frilly texture. There are two main types of endive: curly endive (also known as frisée) and Belgian endive (also known as witloof). Endive is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium, making it a nutritious addition to any diet.

How to Grow Endive Organically

  1. Choose a site: Endive grows best in a sunny location with well-draining soil. Choose a site with full sun exposure, ideally with soil that has been enriched with organic matter.
  2. Prepare the soil: Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches and remove any rocks, roots, or weeds. Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility and structure.
  3. Planting: Endive can be grown from seed or transplants. If using seeds, plant them about ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows that are spaced about 12 inches apart. If using transplants, space them about 8-10 inches apart.
  4. Watering: Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil moist. Avoid over-watering as it can lead to disease and rotting.
  5. Fertilizing: Endive does not require a lot of fertilizer, but a light application of organic fertilizer can be beneficial. Add a slow-release fertilizer or compost to the soil before planting, and side-dress with additional compost or a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
  6. Pest and disease control: Endive can be prone to pests such as aphids, slugs, and snails. To control these pests, use organic methods such as handpicking, spraying with insecticidal soap or neem oil, or using physical barriers like row covers. To prevent diseases, avoid overcrowding plants and ensure good air circulation.
  7. Harvesting: Endive can be harvested when the leaves are about 6-8 inches long. You can either harvest the entire plant or pick the outer leaves as needed. Endive can be harvested throughout the growing season.

Planting Guidelines

The following are general guides to follow. However, nothing is set in stone. Feel free to experiment!

How to Start:
Direct Sow, Start Indoor
When to Direct Sow:
April, July, August
When to Start Indoors:
July, March, June
Sprouting Time:
2-15 days

Ideal Temperature (C):

5mm (¼”)
Spacing (cm):
30-45cm (12-18″)
Row Spacing (cm):
30-45cm (12-18″)
Sun Exposure:
Part Shade, Full Sun
Maturity Time:
When To Harvest:
July, November, October, June
How to Harvest:
Use as a cut and come again crop or let the heads develop and cut at ground level. Many will grow back.

Health Benefits

Growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for your health. Let’s check out some of the health benefits!

Is It Edible?
Edible Parts:
Leaves, buds, roots
Potential Health Benefits:
Anti-Inflammatory, Prebiotic Fiber, Digestive System, Blood Sugar Control, Weight Loss

Tips to Growing Organically

Growing without the use of pesticides and herbicides is easier than you may think and it’s better for the environment!

Companion Plants:
Carrot, Onion , Fennel, Tomato
What Plants to Avoid:
Common Pests:
Aphids – Water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash the plant off with water occasionally as needed early in the day.
Common Disease:
Moulds and rot from heavy rains can be prevented by growing under cover. Tip burn is a calcium deficiency within the plant that can be caused by an imbalance with over nutrients. Make sure you have limed the soil, do not over-fertilize and harvest just before full maturity to avoid it.
Bonus Grow Tips:
Chicory is part of the dandelion family. You can use the root to make a coffee substitute to kick that habit. The chicory family includes the food plants endive and radicchio.

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