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Curly endive (photo courtesy of Susan A. Roth)
Curly endive (photo courtesy of Susan A. Roth)

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Endive

Curly endive, Broad-leafed endive (Escarole)
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Annuals, Vegetables

Mediterranean native. Includes curly as well as broad-leafed endive (escarole), both of which form a rosette of leaves. Tolerates more heat than lettuce, grows faster in cold weather. Matures in 90 to 95 days from seed. In cold-winter areas, sow from spring into summer; in mild-winter climates, sow so that plants mature after summer heat is past.

Plant in rows 15–8 in. apart. Be sure to thin plants to 10–12 in. apart. When plants have reached full size (a foot across), pull outer leaves over the center and tie them up at the top (but not when they’re wet, as that may cause decay). Covered center leaves will blanch to yellow or white. Endive can be used unblanched by cutting outer leaves, as for Swiss chard.

‘Green Curled’ is standard curly endive; ‘Broad-leaved Batavian’ is a good full-leafed variety.

Belgian or French endives are the blanched sprouts of a kind of chicory; see Chicory.

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