Cichorium intybus | Chicory
Chicory is a versatile herbaceous perennial plant that is cherished both as a flower and an herb. It has been in cultivation since the days of ancient Egypt. The oldest publication about herbs in existence includes information regarding Chicory. Thomas Jefferson even planted chicory in his gardens, stating in a letter to George Washington that it’s “one of the greatest acquisitions a farmer can have.”
Chicory seeds have a deep tap root and can be planted in the most challenging of conditions. In fact, they tend to thrive in less-than-ideal soil, gravel, etc. As a wildflower, this plant springs up pretty much everywhere… Most often in gravel areas or open weedy fields. A sunny, open spot with proper drainage is preferred.
During the first year of growth the base leaves look just like lettuce, and are tastiest in the spring and autumn. The leaves and root are both edible. The flowers are edible too, but are very bitter. If managed properly, Chicory has a nutritional value higher than alfalfa, and the protein content of young plants can be as high as 32%, with the leaves being between 90% and 95% digestible. During the second year when it starts to flower in July it takes on more of a branching, scraggly-look (up to 6 ft tall) with beautiful light blue dandelion-like flowers that open and close with the suns light for months on end!
Literature suggests that chicory is indeed a hardy perennial plant, but it’s typically treated as a biennial because the roots are usually lifted and dried on the second year because roots over two years old become very bitter.
Type: Biennial/ perennial
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 4-6 ft
Mature width: 18 inches
Hardiness zones: 3- 9
*Please note: We cannot ship Cichorium intybus Chicory seeds to Colorado or New Mexico at this time. Checkout is disabled for this product in these states.