27) Growing endive

In this tip:

  • A)# Procedure 1. Put endive plants in the garden soil
  • B)# Procedure 2. Sowing endive in the garden soil
  • C)# Sowing date
  • D)# Sowing
  • E)# Plants visible
  • F)# Thinning out
  • G)# Under corrugated plate or in a flower pot
  • H)# Test with (too) early sown endive

There are 2 ways of growing endive:

  1. Buy endive plants (in a garden shop) and put them in the garden soil.
  2. Sow endive in the garden soil.

Both methods are described in this post.


A)# Procedure 1. Put endive plants in the garden soil

From early spring on you can buy endive plants in a garden shop. You can put them in the garden soil. Prior to planting, mix some manure or compost through the soil. Put each endive plant in a shallow pit and shove earth against the plant. The plant needs not to be planted very deep in the soil.  When the plant is in a “soil block” (a small block of compressed earth), a big part of this block may be above the soil after planting. The roots of the endive will grow down into the soil.

Take care that the plants are not on top of a small hill. Water will flow away from the plant.  In this case you better make a small dam around each plant.

Water the endives after planting. Bend a piece of wire netting to a tunnel shape and put it above the plants. This prevents endive plants from eating by birds or rabbits.

Water the plants at dry and warm weather.  When plants are big, add water underneath the leaves, next to the stem. The leaves prevent water from fast evaporation.

Below some photos of endive plants in my garden.

April  2 (early spring): In the middle of this photo you see 2 endive plants underneath wire netting (protects from birds) . Endives have been planted at March 17 (late winter).

May 1 (mid spring):  Two bigger grown endive plants under wire netting.

June 1 (late spring): You see one (dark green) endive plant between (light green) lettuce plants. The other endive plant has been harvested a few days ago.


B)# Procedure 2. Sowing endive in the garden soil

When you sow endive in the garden in spring, the plant start growing “normally”. But after some months the plant can form a flower and go to seed. Good weather, high temperatures and many hours of day-light makes the endive plant to form blue flowers. Further in this post you’ll find photos of endive that I have sown too early (on purpose).

(The endive plants that you can buy in the shop have been grown under special conditions (temperature, light) so they will not go to seed).


C)# Sowing date

You can sow endive in the garden soil after the longest day; at the northern hemisphere after June 21, at the southern hemisphere after December 21. The plant is ful-grown in autumn, with few hours of day-light and lower temperatures. So no reason for the endive to form flowers and go to seed.


D)# Sowing

Use a garden trowel to loose garden soil. Mix manure or compost through the soil.

Water the soil using a watering can with fine shower head.

Strew 5 to 10 seeds in a group on the moist earth.

Strew some moist crumbled earth on the seeds. Layer thickness 0.5 to 1 centimeters (1/6 to 1/3 inch).

Put an empty black flower pot on the crumbled soil.

Shove some garden soil against the black flower pot. This prevents the flower pot from blowing away.

When using the black flower pot, seeds germinate fast:

  • The soil does not dry so fast during warm and dry weather.
  • You don’t need to water during germination, so the crumbled layer above the seeds will not get compact by watering.
  • Soil and seeds will not cool down too much during cold nights or cold weather.
  • Soil and seeds will not get too wet or washed away during rain-showers.
  • The flower pot indicates the sowing place.
  • During very warm and dry weather, seeds and soil can be watered through the small holes in the bottom of the flower pot.



Instead of a normal (black plastic) flower pot, you can use a lower pot with insect mesh netting. See tip 2,   nr 72  how to make it.


E)# Plants visible

After removing the black flower pot, a few tiny plants can be visible, 5 days after sowing. Plants are too small, so put the black flower pot over again.

Two days later; after removal of the black flower pot, many small endive plants are visible. When the plants are so big, the black flower pot is not needed anymore.

Put a mark (plastic strip)  in the soil near the plants. This prevents endives from accidently hoeing or treading.


F)# Thinning out

Before thinning: approx 12 endive plants in 1 group.

Thinning;  When endive plants are 1 to 2 inch high, pull out endive plants until 2 plants left. Water the plants after thinning. Let the plants grow bigger.

When the (2) endive plants are 2 to 4 inch high, pull out the smallest plant, so the biggest plant stays in the soil. Then water that plant and let it grow into a big endive head.


Eight weeks after sowing, endive plant is big already.


Remark: Slugs or snails in the backyard garden

In my back yard garden there are snails. The snails sleep in the Yew hedge by day. During the nights they go looking for small plants to eat.

andijvie 28

You can put (plastic) flower pots over the small endive plants by night. And remove the pots in the morning. The endive plants stay alive and can grow bigger by day. When the endive plants are bigger, there is no need for flower pots anymore; slugs and snails eat small plants only.

G)# Under a greenhous tunnel of corrugated plate or in a flower pot

When you sow late endive in a row, you can put a tunnel of tranparent corrugated plate over the plants. This protects endive plants against cold and freezing weather. In this way you can store endive plants in the garden and harvest them in late autumn or early winter.

Endive plants under a lifted greenhouse tunnel ( old design).


Endive plants under 2 lifted tunnels (new design).

You can put an extra tunnel on the handles (of iron pens in the soil) between 2 tunnels.


You can take some big plants out of the soil an put them in flower pots filled with garden earth. Put the pots with plants under a roof at cold, rainy or snowy weather.  Regularly water the plants by pouring water in the flower pot, so not on the plant.

Big endive plant planted in a flower pot filled with garden earth.


H)# Test with (too) early sown endive

At the end of April (early to mid spring) I sowed endive in the garden soil. After thinning there are 2 plants left. Distance between plants is about 1 ft.

End of June (early summer).  Big endive plants. Size about 9 inch. There are no flowers visible yet. Maybe due to cold and wet weather in June.

End of July (mid summer). Bigger plants. The left side endive plant shows the beginning of a flower.

Early August (mid summer).  Large endive plants that will form flowers.

Early September (late summer).  Big endive plants with few leaves and many blue flowers.

An endive flower. Diameter about 1 inch.


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