Belgian Endive (Witloof Chicory)


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Belgian Endive is a luxurious, torpedo-shaped vegetable with pale yellow and white tightly packed, elongated leaves. This gourmet vegetable is prized in Europe for its elegant presentation, crisp texture, and pleasantly bitter flavor. Its slightly tangy undertones make it a versatile ingredient in both raw and cooked preparations that pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. Use in salads for a refreshing crunch and hint of bitterness to your greens, as a attractive vehicle for dips, spreads, or fillings, as edible serving cups or boats for appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, cooked in soups and stews. Belgian endive is also delicious braised, roasted, and grilled to bring out its natural sweetness. In history, Belgian Endive roots were commonly used as a coffee substitute. In fact, Belgian Endives were discovered when a farmer storing roots for coffee saw the pale yellow heads regrowing from the roots. Belgian Endive is a nutritious vegetable that provides vitamins (especially vitamin K and vitamin A), dietary fiber, and essential minerals.  Its natural bitterness can add a unique flavor dimension to your meals.

Also Known As: Belgian Endive, French Endive, Chicon, Witloof, Witlof, Witlooflof, Brussels Witloof, Endive Barbaresque, Chicoree de Bruxelles, Witloofchicoree, Belgische Endivie, Indivia, Blanched Endive, Pale Endive, White Leaf Endive.

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Plant Name:
Endive, Witloof Chicory (Belgian)
Latin Name:
Cichorium intybus
Days to Germinate: 7-14
Days to Harvest: 100-140
Germination Rate: 85%
Test Date: 2/23
Growth Habit: Upright
USDA Zones: 3-12
Lifespan: Perennial
Brand: TomorrowSeeds
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Shade
Heirloom, Open-Pollinated
Fungicide-Treated Seeds:*: No
Seeds Packed For**: 2024

*Fungicide-treated seeds protect the seedlings from diseases until they are up and growing. Do not eat treated seeds.
**Seeds are freshly packed for the growing season of the year listed. Seeds are still viable beyond pack date. Store in a cool and dry location such as the refrigerator or basement to best preserve germination rates.

Planting Instructions:


Soil Preparation:

Remove weeds, large rocks, and litter from the planting area. Till the soil 14-18 inches deep and rake several times to break up large clods. It is best to do this when the soil is dry enough to not stick to garden tools. Loosening the soil will help the plant establish strong roots. Avoid adding nitrogen to the soil to prevent excessive top growth.


Belgian Endive is short-term perennial with a two-stage growing process. First the root is grown, then after a period of cold temperatures called vernalization, the root is replanted in total darkness in a process called forcing.

Stage 1: Plant in mid-Summer (ideally, first week of July) for mature parsnip-like taproots in late-Fall. Use a hoe handle or stick to make a 1/2 inch furrow deep down the center of the ridge.  Plant 1 seed in the furrows spaced 4 inches apart within the rows. Cover with loose soil then firm soil and sprinkle with water. Keep soil moist until established. Lift the roots from the soil in mid-October-mid-November. The roots are ideally 1-1/4" to 2-1/4" in diameter to produce attractive endive buds. Cut off leaves 1" above the root grown and trim roots to 8". If the roots did not experience cold temperatures in the ground yet, they may need to undergo vernalization by storing in a humid, 32F-40F environment for 3 weeks. A cool garage or refrigerator are good options.

Stage 2: After the roots have been vernalized, force the roots by using a >10" deep crate, bin, or pot and covering >2/3 of the roots in a soilless medium such as sand or peat. The roots can be densely spaced, about 2"-3" apart. Add water so the medium is completely moistened. Then cover the system in a thick black trash bag and store in a 65F environment. A basement near the furnace or closet are good options. Belgian Endives are ready to harvest in 3-4 weeks.


Planting Depth: 1/2 inch
Within-Row Spacing:
4 inches
Between-Row Spacing:
2-3 feet


Care During the Season:

Watering: Water plants moderately. If the soil moisture is low, water but avoid waterlogging soil.

Weeding: Keep plants free of weeds, which rob weak root systems of nutrients and moisture.

Insecticides: Insecticides may be used to protect plants. Bt-based insecticides and sulfur are organic options that can be used for prevention. Sevin is a synthetic option. Sulfur also has fungicidal properties and helps in controlling many diseases. Before using a pesticide, please read the label and always follow cautions, warnings and directions.

Diseases: Disease can happen in cloudy, damp weather. Check plants daily and treat with an approved fungicide if diseases do appear. Neem oil, sulfur, and other fungicides are available for use. Please always follow label directions.


Belgian Endive is typically harvested in late Fall. The long taproots can make them difficult to remove from the soil. Cut individual outside leaves or harvest the whole bud by cutting at the root crown.


Nutrition Facts:

Witloof Chicory, raw
Calories 53
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.1 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 1.1 mg 0%
Potassium 112 mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 2.1 g 1%
Dietary fiber 1.6 g 6%
Sugar  g
Protein 0.5 g 1%
Vitamin A 62% Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1% Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 1%
Vitamin B-9
5% Magnesium 1%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.