Radicchio: A Comprehensive Guide on Growing and Cultivating this Delicious Vegetable


Radicchio is a popular crop for salads, known for its vibrant color and bitter taste. Cultivating radicchio requires specific conditions, as it thrives best in cooler climates. This vegetable can be grown both outdoors in full sun or in pots and plantings with partial shade. If you’re planning to grow your own radicchio, here are some key steps to follow.

Prep the Soil: Radicchio prefers well-drained, low-nutrient soils. Prepare the soil by removing any weeds or rocks, and add organic matter if needed.

Choose the Variety: There are several radicchio varieties to choose from, such as Treviso, which has elongated, white and pink heads, or Chioggia, which has round, uniform leaves. Select a variety that suits your taste and growing conditions.

Plant the Seeds: Radicchio can be started indoors in late winter or directly sown outdoors in early spring or late summer. Sow the seeds about half an inch deep and one foot apart, as they need space to grow.

Provide Adequate Light: Radicchio needs at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive. If you’re growing it indoors, place the pots near a sunny window or use grow lights.

Watering and Care: Radicchio requires regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as it can cause root rot. Once the plants are established, they don’t need much care except for occasional weeding.

Harvesting: Radicchio is usually ready for harvest 70-80 days after seeding. To harvest, cut the heads about one inch above the soil. If you want to blanch the radicchio for a milder taste, cover the heads with a pail or shutterstockcom to block out the light for a week.

Radicchio is a jewel of the winter vegetable garden, adding color and flavor to salads even when most other crops have stopped growing. Its origin is in the high altitudes of northern Italy, where the cooler climate suits its growing needs. Radicchio is a delicacy that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked without losing its unique taste. Its bitter flavor pairs well with sweet and tangy dressings, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

So, if you’re looking to grow your own radicchio, follow these guidelines for a successful crop. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy fresh radicchio all winter long!

How to Grow Radicchio Chicory Endive Escarole

Growing radicchio, chicory, endive, and escarole is a common practice among gardeners. These leafy greens require specific conditions to thrive, and their cultivation can be a rewarding experience. Here are some tips on how to grow these plants:

Radicchio: Radicchio, a member of the chicory family, prefers well-drained soils with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.8. It is more tolerant to slightly acidic soils than other chicory varieties. The soil should be rich in organic matter and kept moist but not overly wet. Radicchio can be planted outdoors in early spring or later in the summer for a fall harvest.

Chicory: Chicory is a low-nutrient plant that grows best in full sun. It sometimes tends to be sensitive to drought, so it’s important to keep the soil evenly moist. Chicory can be sown directly in the ground or started in pots before transplanting. It takes about two inches of water a week to maintain the healthiest growth.

Endive: Endive, also known as escarole, originates from the Mediterranean region. It grows best in cool weather, and its seeds can be sown directly in the garden three weeks before the last frost date. The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter. Endive requires full sun but can tolerate some shade.

Escarole: Escarole is similar to endive in terms of growing requirements. It can be sown in early spring or later in the summer for a fall harvest. Escarole prefers a soil pH level between 6.0 and 6.7 and does well in full sun or partial shade. It is a popular ingredient in Italian salads and tastes best when grown in cooler temperatures.

To grow radicchio, chicory, endive, and escarole, start by prepping the soil. Remove any weeds or debris and mix in compost or well-rotted manure. Sow the seeds at a depth of about half an inch and sprinkle with water. Mulch lightly to retain moisture and protect the plants from extreme temperatures.

In order to achieve the optimal growth, it is important to provide these plants with the right environment. They prefer full sun and require regular watering to keep the soil moist. Additionally, they can benefit from the use of a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

One of the key factors for successful growth is the compatibility of these plants with other vegetables. They can be planted alongside other leafy greens like lettuce or planted in separate rows to create a colourful garden. Some popular varieties include the Chioggia, Pink Radicchio, and Floramedia.

When the heads of radicchio, chicory, endive, and escarole have reached their full size and colour, they can be harvested. Cut them at the base of the plant, making sure to leave some leaves for continued growth. These leafy greens can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a delicious delicacy.

Growing radicchio, chicory, endive, and escarole is an enjoyable process that allows you to cultivate a variety of healthy and delicious vegetables. Follow these tips and enjoy the beauty and taste of these leafy greens in your garden.

Radicchio – Key Growing Information

Radicchio, also known as Cichorium intybus var. foliosum, is a popular vegetable in gardens. It belongs to the chicory family and is known for its bright red color and bitter taste. If you want to grow your own radicchio, here are some key tips and information to help you succeed.

1. Planting: Radicchio can be grown from seeds or transplants. Sow the seeds thinly in a well-prepared seedbed, between April and August. If you’re planting transplants, make sure to space them about a foot apart to give them enough room to grow.

2. Sunlight and Soil: Radicchio thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid heavy clay soils as they can cause the roots to rot.

3. Watering: Radicchio is sensitive to drought and requires regular watering. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can cause the heads to rot. Water deeply once a week, or more often in hot weather.

4. Thinning and Care: Once the seedlings have germinated, thin them to 8-12 inches apart. This will allow the remaining plants to develop strong, healthy heads. Keep the patch weed-free by using mulch or regular weeding.

5. Harvesting: Radicchio typically takes 75-90 days to mature. Harvest the heads once they are firm and have a round shape. To blanch the heads, tie the outer leaves together with a rubber band a week before harvesting. This will make the inner leaves sweeter and less bitter.

6. Regional Varieties: There are various radicchio varieties to choose from, including ‘Radicchio di Chioggia’, ‘Radicchio di Treviso’, and ‘Radicchio di Verona’. Each has its own characteristics and can be grown successfully in different regions.

Plantura’s favorite radicchio varieties include ‘Radicchio Variegata di Castelfranco’, ‘Radicchio Rossa di Verona’, and ‘Radicchio Palla Rossa’.

7. Winter Growing: Radicchio is a hardy vegetable that can be grown in winter. Sow the seeds in late summer or early fall, and you’ll have fresh radicchio throughout the winter months.

8. Uses: Radicchio is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many ways. It adds color and flavor to salads, stir-fries, and even grilled dishes. Its slightly bitter taste pairs well with sweet and tangy dressings.

9. Health Benefits: Radicchio is not only a delicious delicacy but also a nutritious addition to your diet. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and calcium.

For more tips and information on growing radicchio and other vegetables, visit Plantura’s gardening blog.

How to grow radicchio – the jewel winter crop

Radicchio is a unique vegetable that thrives in cool weather and adds a burst of color to winter gardens. Cultivating radicchio requires some special tips and techniques, but with the right conditions, you can grow this jewel crop with success.

Radicchio is a type of chicory and is commonly grown for its elongated, deep red or purple leaves. It has a slightly bitter taste, similar to escarole, and is a popular ingredient in salads and other dishes.

In order to grow radicchio, you need to choose a location that receives full sunlight and has well-drained soil. Radicchio is sensitive to frost, so planting in late April to early May is ideal. It also prefers soil that is low in nutrients, so avoid adding too much compost or fertilizers.

When planting radicchio, sow the seeds directly into the ground about half an inch deep. Space the plantings about 8-10 inches apart to give them enough room to grow. Radicchio grows best in temperatures between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

One key characteristic of radicchio is its ability to change color depending on the temperature. The most common variety, Chioggia, starts out as a green color and then turns red as the temperatures drop. Another variety, Radiccio di Treviso Variegata, has elongated leaves with a red and white variegated color.

To promote the growth of radicchio, keep the soil moist and mulch around the plants to retain moisture. Watering should be done regularly, especially during dry spells. If the weather gets too hot, the leaves of radicchio can wilt and the plant won’t grow well.

Radicchio takes about 75-90 days to mature and is ready to eat when the leaves are fully formed and firm. Harvesting can begin in late August and continue through the winter months. To harvest, cut the radicchio off at the base of the plant and remove any damaged leaves.

In conclusion, radicchio is a unique and colourful vegetable that can be cultivated with care and attention. By providing the right conditions, such as a sunny location, well-drained soil, and regular watering, you can successfully grow this jewel winter crop. Enjoy the vibrant colours and delicious taste of fresh radicchio in your salads and other dishes!

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.