How to Grow Endive – A Beginner’s Guide

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

Best Time to Plant Endive

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the endive seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when endive 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 Endive the Right Way

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

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your endive grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 5.5 to 6.5.

2″ apart in rows 12″ 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 endive seedlings 6-8″ apart when seedlings are 1-2″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Endive

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

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

How Much to Water Endive

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your endive 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 endive 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 Endive to Germinate and Grow?

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

It takes approximately 10-14 days to germinate, and a total of 85-100 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Endive

The best time to harvest your endive is when leaves are large enough to harvest and before they become too bitter.

Endive can grow up to about 8-12″ tall.

What Can Endive Be Used For?

Food Use: great for salads, sandwiches, and cooking.

Flavor Profile: slightly bitter and crisp.

Can Endive Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant 1 plant per 8″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

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

Are Endive Safe for Bees?

Yes, endive 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 endive is bee-friendly.

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