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Growing Radicchio

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Radicchio Also Know As Italian Chicory

Growing Radicchio

Radicchio is a perennial leafy salad green, also known as Italian chicory, red chicory or red endive. It usually has variegated deep red - maroon or red and green leaves with contrasting white veins, however there are varieties which are either white or yellow. The best flavor and strongest color comes from growing radicchio in cool temperatures.

It has strong tasting leaves that can be noticeably bitter when eaten raw, which is the most common way to use radicchio. The flavor mellows and loses some of its bitterness when cooked.


Radicchio is grown very similar to that of lettuce, but looks more like a cabbage. Some varieties have a round head and others grow more elongated (torpedo-shaped) in appearance. The heads can also vary from a tight forming head to the leaf type.


Radicchio is classed as a perennial because the head will regenerate, several times, if cut off carefully above ground level. The regenerating head will need some sort of protection against severe frosts, this can be in the form of upturned pot or container, or a heavy mulch, as shown in the photo.

Photo of cutting radicchio to allow new head to regrow

Roll-over image to enlarge

Cutting radicchio to allow new head to regrow. A heavy mulch of straw ready to cover the stump for frost protection.

Photo of new head of radicchio regrowing

Roll-over image to enlarge

A brand new head of radicchio pushing its way through the straw mulch.




Quick Reference Guide




Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Organic Early Treviso Chicory - Radicchio
Also Known As Italian chicory, Red chicory
Botanical Family: Asteraceae, Genus: Cichorium, Species: C. intybus
Plant Type Cool season - perennial - leafy vegetable
Frost Tolerance Hardy
Planting Position Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - growing radicchio requires a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 5 years
Germination 7-10 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)
Growing Temp 50-70 F (10-21 C)
Seed to Transplant 4-6 weeks
Planting Method Direct sow or Seedling transplants
When to Plant Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest
Time to Plant As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.
Seed Sowing Direct sowing radicchio seeds - 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep - 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Plant Spacing Transplant or thin radicchio seedlings to 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart
Soil Conditions Well drained - Moderate to high organic matter - Low to medium fertility
Fertilizer Low fertilizer needs, 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks
Days to Harvest 70-90 days - depending on conditions and variety.
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