How to Grow Chicory – A Beginner’s Guide

chicory plant growing in garden
Chicory, which are known botanically as Cichorium intybus, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing chicory as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Chicory

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the chicory seeds directly outdoors in early spring or fall. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when chicory are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Chicory the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing chicory in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your chicory grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 5.5 to 7.0.

1″ apart in rows 18″ apart. 1″ apart in rows 18″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 6-8″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your chicory seedlings 12-18″ apart when seedlings are 2-3″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Chicory

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your chicory. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your chicory should be getting full sun to partial shade

How Much to Water Chicory

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your chicory do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your chicory begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Chicory to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your chicory grow.

It takes approximately 7-14 days to germinate, and a total of 85-100 days for roots, 50-60 days for leaves from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Chicory

The best time to harvest your chicory is for leaves when young and tender, for roots before the first hard frost.

Chicory can grow up to about 12-36″ tall.

What Can Chicory Be Used For?

Food Use: great for salads, cooked greens, and as a coffee substitute.

Flavor Profile: slightly bitter and earthy.

Can Chicory Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant 1 plant per 12″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your chicory around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Chicory Safe for Bees?

Yes, chicory are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing chicory is bee-friendly.

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