ENDIVE

FAMILY: Asteraceae

TYPE
  • Annuals
  • Biennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

Mediterranean native known botanically as Cichorium endivia. This species includes curly (also called frise), as well as broad-leafed endive (escarole), both of which form rosettes of leaves. Tolerates more heat than lettuce and grows faster in cold weather. Matures in 90 to 95 days from seed. 'Green Curled', 'Keystone', 'Rhodos', and 'Salad King' are standard curly endives. 'Broad-Leaved Batavian', 'Full Heart Batavian', and 'Full Heart NR65' are good full-leafed selections. Belgian and French endives are the blanched sprouts of a kind of chicory; see Chicory.

For a spring crop, sow seeds 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost; for a fall crop, set out transplants in late summer. Space plants 1 ft. apart in rows 2 ft. apart. Water and fertilize as directed for lettuce (see Lettuce). To harvest, remove the outer leaves; the inner ones keep growing. Or cut the entire plant at the base when the heads are full and leafy. As warm weather approaches, leaves may develop a bitter taste; for a milder flavor, blanch the head before harvest by pulling up the large outer leaves and tying them at the top (but not when they're wet). After a week, the head should be ready to pick. In fall, harvest before the first hard frost.

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