How to Plant Chickory

Overview

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a perennial herb that flowers from May through October. The green leaves grow in rosettes and resemble dandelion leaves. Chicory produces slender, 2 to 4 foot stems that ooze white, milky sap when broken. A blue daisy-like blossom tops the stems. Chicory flowers only last 24 hours and face the sun when open. This herb produces a deep taproot. During the Civil War and World War II, this root was dried and used as coffee substitute. This wildflower has a 1,000 year history of human cultivation.

Step 1

Remove the grass, weeds and debris from a planting site located in full sun with good-draining soil.

Step 2

Loosen the soil to the depth of 6 inches with a shovel. Remove any large rocks, buried sticks and large roots. Break up soil clumps and try to get an even soil texture.

Step 3

Mix a layer of 2 to 4 inches of peat moss into the soil with your shovel. Peat moss enriches the soil with organic materials and improves the drainage which will help chicory plants grow vigorously.

Step 4

Rake the soil smooth and level. Create rows 18 to 24 inches apart with the edge of a garden hoe. Keep the depth at 1/2 inch.

Step 5

Place 12 to 15 seeds each foot in a row. Cover the seeds with only 1/2 inch of soil and lightly firm the soil over the seeds. Sprinkle the planting area with water to settle the soil and start the growing process. Do not let the seeds dry out and they will germinate in 7 to 21 days.

Tips and Warnings

  • Chicory is considered a weed in most areas of the United States. This herb was introduced to the United States in the 1700s and escaped cultivation by reseeding itself. Chicory is now found in wild places from the east coast to the west coast.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Rake
  • Garden hoe
  • Chicory seeds
  • Water

References

  • Aggie Horticulture: Chicory
  • University of Arkansas---Home Gardening Series: Chicory PDF
  • Auburn University---Alabama Forages: Forage Chicory
Keywords: chicory, planting chicory seeds, Cichorium intybus

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.