Cichorium intybus Radicchio

Radicchio (pronounced ra-DEE-kee-o) has evolved into one of today's tastiest gourmet greens. A member of the Cichorium genus, Radicchio is a specific variety of Cichorium intybus which also contains the herb commonly known as Chicory. While it is technically a perennial, it is most often grown as an annual.

Wild Radicchios or, as they are sometimes called, red chicories, are challenging to grow because consistency in color and head formation is a problem.  Our Indigo Radicchio is an F1 hybrid with more consistently uniform, medium-large heads and a beautiful burgundy color. Indigo is a reliable Radicchio in hot and cool weather and is very tolerant to tipburn as well as being resistant to bottom rot.

Pictured above is one of our seedlings ready for shipping and for planting into the garden. Radicchio should be transplanted into the garden in early spring for summer harvest and again in mid to late summer for early winter harvest. Space plants about 8 inches apart. Radicchio prefers a soil that is well drained and fertile with a pH in the 5.5 to 7 range. Plants need at  least 6 hours of sun a day and may benefit from afternoon shade in really hot summer areas.  Because they are shallow rooted plants, adequate moisture is a must. Stress on the plant will cause it to become more bitter, bolt, discolor or all  three.  Seedlings take about 6 to 8 weeks before they are ready to harvest. When heads reach the size of a grapefruit, they are ready to harvest. It is important to pick the heads before they start to elongate or push up in the middle. This is a sign that the plant is past its prime.

Radicchio is relatively new in the markets in this country. Traditionally eaten raw with a bit of olive oil and salt, grilling or roasting enhances it sweetness which makes it more acceptable to some tastes. While it is on the grill or in the oven, drizzle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and top with a little of your favorite cheese (we like it with blue cheese).  Radicchio will soon become a favorite in your garden as you endeavor to grow enough of it for your table.

Cultural Information

Height: 6 inches  

Hardiness: Perennial
in Zones 3-11

Time to Harvest: 6 to 8 weeks

Characteristics: Full Sun,
Frequent watering

Used: Raw, Grilled, Roasted
or Cooked with other foods

Radicchio

$3.25 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

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