Chicory Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Chicory
Chicory originally came from the Mediterranian, but it has become a widely cultivated plant used as a culinary and medicinal herb. It is also considered to be a wild flower that is not only lovely but beneficial as well with the leaves, buds, and roots offering nutritive value. It can be grown as a forage crop for livestock, and it is a major bee plant in many areas.
Chicory seeds can be started indoors 4 - 6 weeks prior to the end of frost season. Or, directly sow the seeds out a few weeks prior to the last frost.
Chicory plants perform well in full sun, and in well-drained, fertile soils.
How to Plant Chicory
- If starting the flower seed indoors, use peat pots for holding the soil and seed - Chicory forms a tap root and to transplant it successfully, the tap root should be handled carefully
- Cover the seeds slightly with soil
- Keep the seeds warm and moist for germination
- Harden off the seedlings for 7 - 10 days prior to planting out
- Transplant out carefully, not disturbing the tap root - if using peat pots, the entire pot can be planted
- Or, work the garden soil to a depth of 8 - 10 inches
- Work in compost to improve the soil
- Firm the seed bed, broadcast the seed, press the seed into the soil and then cover with no more than 1/4 inch of soil
- Keep the area continually moist for germination
- Thin to the strongest plant every 10 - 12 inches apart
Care And Maintenance
- Irrigate Chicory regularly for establishment
- Mulch around the base to help hold in moisture and suppress weeds
- Maintain evenly moist soil throughout the growing season to help prevent drought stress
- Chicory is relatively free from pests and diseases