Chicory – Puntarelle (SM4.33) (Organic)


An interesting chicory variety grown for its hollow bolting shoots.

Unlike other chicory varieties which are grown for their leaves, Puntarelle is grown for its flowering shoots. The young shoots form a ‘head’ at the base of plant and are julienned into thin strips which are then soaked in cold water to removed some of their bitterness. In the water they twist and curl into elegant crisp and crunchy shapes which are then served with a punchy dressing to make a lovely late autumn salad.

Shoots usually appear between mid-October and November.


When to sow: June-July

Spacing: 30×30 cm

Seed Sowing

Sow your seeds from June to July; they can be sown directly or in modules for the best results. Avoid sowing too early. Sow seeds in rows around 30 cm apart, placing seeds every 5 cm and later thinning to achieve a 30 cm spacing. Consume the thinned plants; they may be small, but they are delicious. Sow 3 seeds per module and thin to 1 per module when they are large enough.


Ensure your seed bed is free from weeds. Sheltered, sunny sites are best, but they will tolerate some shade and can be grown between taller plants. Plant your seedlings in rows approximately 30 cm apart. Ensure plants are spaced 30 cm apart in the row, water well, and mulch around them without touching.

Plant Care

Keep the area weed-free and watered during hot spells. The lack of water can make them more bitter. Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and prevent weeds. If your variety requires forcing/blanching, cover it for 2 weeks before harvest. For winter forcing varieties, this can be done in November. Dig up dormant roots, store them in sand, bring them indoors, and plant in pots with buckets over the top to force pale yellow sprouts for winter harvests.


Protect plants from slugs and snails, as they prefer direct-sown seedlings. Avoid watering in the evening, as this encourages overnight slugs and snails. Encourage predators such as ground beetles, lizards, slow worms, and, if you’re lucky, hedgehogs into your growing space by creating suitable wildlife habitats.


From seed, they take around 4 months to fully grow, but younger plants can be harvested to thin out the rows. Some radicchio can be regularly harvested on a cut-and-come-again basis, while others will be harvested all at once as a head.

Culinary Ideas

There are many culinary uses for chicory and radicchio. The leaves of most varieties can be added raw to salads. They can also be cooked by sautéing or grilling. The bitter flavors of chicory are well matched to strong flavors such as walnuts and blue cheese.

Seed Saving

Select at least 10 good plants to save seeds from. Allow these plants to flower and wait for the seeds to ripen. Keep a close eye on them; the seeds are ready when the heads turn brown, and you can see clusters of seeds inside. You can either harvest individual seed heads or the whole plant when 60-70% of the seeds are ripe. Leave the plants to dry for a couple of weeks before shaking off the ripe seeds. Store them in a cool, dry place for up to five years.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Packet size

Regular packet, Large pack

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    Winter Growing / “Second Spring” seed collection

    We call the second half of summer the “Second Spring” as there is so much that can be sown which will provide you with tasty home-grown veg over the winter months.

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    Original price was: £19.98.Current price is: £17.99.