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How to Grow Radicchio - Italian Chicory

Radicchio, or Italian Chicory, is a gourmet type of vegetable. Native to Italy, Radicchio grows best in cool weather.


There are both open leaf and heading varieties. Heading varieties are the most popular. Leaves are maroon or reddish in color, with white veins. Radicchio heads grow 3-5 inches across.

Radicchio is popular in gourmet salads, adding color and taste. It is also eaten raw with a little olive oil. It has a crisp, mildly bitter flavor, when it is allowed to mature in cool weather. But, it takes on a strongly bitter taste, if it matures in the summer. Radicchio is also grilled and baked.


Radicchio is grown from seed. Directly sow Radicchio seeds into your vegetable garden early in the season. Or, start indoor transplants four to six weeks before planting outdoors in your garden. Cover seeds lightly with 1/8" or less of fine garden or seed starting soil. Seeds sprout in 7-14 days.

Final spacing should be eight inches apart in rows two feet apart.

How to Grow Radicchio:

Radicchio is easy to grow. It likes full sun, but will tolerate partial shade, especially during the warmest part of the day.

For best results, grow Radicchio, quickly during cool weather, in moist, fertile soil. The soil should be rich, and drain well. Mix compost into the soil, prior to planting. Add fertilizer when planting.

Garden Tip: Infrequent watering will produce a bitter tasting leaf. Water frequently, but not deeply.

Weed around plants frequently, during their early growth.

Plants thrive in cool weather. Plant crops for spring and fall. For a continuous harvest during this period, plant succession crops.

Radicchio will withstand light frosts.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable


Radicchio is ready to harvest in about 90 days.

Pick young, tender leaves. Larger leaves get tough and too bitter tasting. Leaves can also taste bitter in warmer weather. Eat fresh or cooked like spinach.

Insect and Disease:

 Insect and disease problems are uncommon with this plant. Insects do not like the bitter taste of the Radicchio plant.


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