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A picture of a Endive

Endive

Cichorium endivia

Also known as

Cultivated Endive, Escarole, Curly Endive, Belgium Endive

Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Advanced care
Moderate watering
Half-hardy

H3

RHS hardiness

-5°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

30cm

30cm

Min

20cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

Endive Overview

With its crisp texture and its sweet, nutty flavor, Endive is well-renowned throughout the culinary world. It is a robust lettuce-like, leafy herb with a pleasantly mild bitterness and it is rarely aloud to flower in order to be blanched and eaten. Not only is it enjoyed for eating, but it also have various health benefits and is used in the medicinal applications, be it more traditional than commercial. Native to Egypt and Palestine, this plant was cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans for its leaves. It has since been introduced to Bulgaria, Sicilia and Belgium and is occasionally called Belgium Endive. Cichorium endivia is very similar to Cichorium intybus (Chicory), and grown in the same way to produce the blanched hearts. To confuse matters Chicory is known as Endive by the French, Endive plants are distinguished from Chicory mainly by having hairless leaves. It is also self compatible - can be pollinated by its own pollen and its ripe flowerheads and seed cases will have longer papery outer scales around their bases compared to other Cichorium species.

Common problems with Endive

Pests include aphids, darkling beetles, flea beetles, leafminers, loopers, slugs and snails, and thrips. Diseases include anthracnose, bacteral soft rot, bottom rot, damping-off , downy mildew, sclerotinia blight, septoria blight.

How to harvest Endive

The entire head should be cut at ground level using a sharp knife. Blanching will keep the core white. Harvest the plants early if very hot weather or a hard frost is expected.

How to propagate Endive

Seed

Sowing time is during Spring and Summer. Space 30cm apart and sow 25 mm deep. Germination time is from 5-10 days.

Division

Sow the seeds 30-38 cm apart in a shaded position, can also be propagated from root divisions.

Special features of Endive

Attracts useful insects

Flowers attract bees and butterflies.

Repels harmful insects

The plants are resistant to tipburn, bolting and bottom rot.

Pot plant

Can be grown in large containers with good drainage holes.

Indoor plant

Can be grown indoors to protect from frost, but enough sunlight, water and airflow is needed.

Other uses of Endive

Culinary

Medicinal

The leaves are used to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin, and protect against lung and mouth cancers. A very beneficial tonic to the liver and digestive system.

Edible

Rosette or curled leaves are eaten raw in salad, boiled, steamed, sautéed, or cooked in soups, stews and mixed vegetable dishes. Blue flowers are used raw as salad, served as a garnish, or pickled.

Edible to Sow Under Cover in May

Successional sow small batches on a sunny windowsill or in a heated propagator, ready to plant out later in the month.

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